Group photo from the C2C in Alumni Hall on April 23, 2019

A group of Wake Foresters gathered over dinner in Alumni Hall on the Reynolda Campus on April 23, 2019 to discuss Leadership & Character.

Overview and highlights of our Call to Conversation:

  • Standing up for the right thing was a common theme among our group. Even when faced with danger or when no one else is looking, people of character do the right thing, the ethical thing, the moral thing.
  • An essential element of good parenting is reflected in character – whether it’s protecting children from financial burdens or ensuring they enjoy benefits that the parent did not have as a child.
  • Character is wedded to grace – one example shared was the bishop’s grace toward Jean Valjean in Les Miserable – which is character in action. The system of law is closed to alternatives, but the bishop’s character allows him to gift Valjean with the silver candlesticks he’d stolen – letting him off the hook was about character and grace.
  • Character is something done when no one else is looking – such as turning in found money when it would be easy to keep it or doing the right thing no matter the consequences.
  • The collaborative work of musicians provides a sound metaphor for group character in action – working together, including others, being your best self – these can lead to something remarkable.
  • Several of our attendees relayed stories of people they knew who had overcome challenges and great obstacles (racism, poverty or a devastating loss). The idea of overcoming adversity to find a meaningful path in life takes great character and it inspires others.
  • We are drawn to character through stories – giving us associative responses to what sometimes feels like black and white issues, turning them gray and helping us open our hearts and empathize with others.
  • Character takes courage and it can lead to movements.
  • Many of us are drawn to the Call to Conversation movement and plan to seek out deeper conversations with others in the future.