In this article we will discuss of a will and character of a person.
Will of a Person:
1. Nature of Will:
Will is the conative side of the self. It is through will that a person decides how to act. Simultaneously, a number of desires may arise in his mind. Through will, he can decide which desire to fulfill, and which desire to suppress. The desire to be fulfilled may remain only an imaginative act. But will direct the person to action for its fulfillment. Stronger the will nearer its fulfillment. Indecision and weak will power are the hindrances for reaching the goal. Administrators, leader, and army general must possess firmness of decision and strong will-power to march ahead even at critical moments.
2. Development of Will:
The old idea that will power is innate and inborn is no longer tenable now. It is neither a secret power, nor any gift of God. It is a product of training and development. Willpower can be developed by exercise and courage. Will power is affected by bad physical or mental health.
Sound health helps in the development of:
(i) Perseverance, and
(ii) determination so necessary for ‘will’.
The development of will-power also takes place through stages. A child has less will-power than an adult. He is not able to make determined decisions. He may lack perseverance even for solving long sums. But gradual practice and exercise help him in the development of will. Every adult does not possess strong will. Nor does a strong-willed person exercise his strong-will at all times. In day-to-day life a man’s will-power does not remain the same.
3. Importance of Will in Education:
Week-willed students often lack perseverance to study for longer duration, to accomplish study-projects and difficult tasks. They may fail in the examination, and once they fail they lose self-confidence, and their will deteriorates further.
During childhood and adolescence a number of wholesome and unwholesome temptations and desires pester the mind of the child. It is only a strong-willed student who rejects the bad temptations, controls his desires and proceeds on the path of right action. Many weak-willed adolescents have been found to have ruined their health by falling prey to such bad habits as drinking, masturbation and sodomy.
There is much in the present social environment that arouses unsocial and unhealthy impulses in the minds of adolescents, and they become, for no fault of theirs, victims to criminal acts. What is needed therefore, is a strong will to determine the academic goal, the professional ambition, the right course of action and conduct, and to march on the path of progress with perseverance.
Difficulties in the process of studies, especially while studying tough subjects like engineering, arise during studentship. Without strong will, no student can succeed to accomplish the higher studies. Many students drop out and leave their studies in the middle.
4. Factors of Will:
Will depends upon:
(iii) Attention, and
Will to do arises out of some thought or desire. If there is no thought or desire, there is no will. The type of thought or desire determines will. A thief’s thought to steal forms the basis of his will to steal. A third-rate thought gives rise to will of that category.
No action can be accomplished without prior judgment. The individual has to decide a course of action. Once a judgment is arrived at, there is an urge to translate that into action. The judgment may be impulsive i.e., based on an impulsive desire. Such judgments are short-lived and often mistaken judgments. Some judgments may be accidental judgments.
There are a number of alternatives, and the person may arrive at just one of these, without giving due thought. But the best type of judgment is ‘rational judgment’, which is influenced by not instincts and impulses, but by principles, ideals and reasoning. A type of wrong judgment is what is called ‘forced judgment’.
It may be due to lack of rational power or strength of other’s suggestion and weakness of will. Often a person, once having made a decision, ruminates over it, and reconsiders his judgment. He may change the mind after getting some new information.
Will needs attention and concentration of mind. This is highly important for a student. Students who lack concentration lack willpower, fixation of attention has an important part to play in the development of will-power. Conversely also, strong will-power helps in the development of concentration.
Will is sometimes influenced by emotions. A person may make wrong decision through an excitement or impulse. ‘Will’ under the pressure of excitement is short-lived. Similarly ‘will’ under the influence of ‘obstinacy’ is unhealthy. Children sometimes become emotional (say angry), and they refuse to take meals or act properly. They become obstinate in not following their parents’ advice. But after sometime they may realise their mistake and direct their will to the right path. Obstinacy is the abuse of ‘will’.
5. Training of Will:
Will exhibits three-fold aspect of mental life. It is predominantly conative. It is horme raised to its highest point. But it is cognitive as it involves judgment. It is affective, as the vigour of an act depends upon the degree to which the organised instincts and sentiments find-satisfaction. Hence in the training of will, all the three aspects, conative, cognitive and affective, are to be attended to.
(i) For the training of conative side, we must give pupils opportunities to make their own decisions, and we must provide suitable situations in the instructional programme where the pupils may decide and act on their own responsibility and initiative. Will is trained primarily by being exercised in suitable condition. Let the pupils have projects to organise independently.
Let them celebrate various festivals and events. The only safe-guard is to see that they do not make impulsive, rash and obstinate decisions. Often students lack will-power only for want of exercise. ‘If strong-willed parents have weak-willed children, the defect in will-power of the later may fairly be attributed to want of exercise.’
(ii) The affective side of will can be developed, by allowing the pupils to consolidate their emotions and sentiments. Impulsive actions must be checked. The ripples of excitement should merge in the ocean of sentiments.
(iii) The cognitive aspect of will-training includes the development of right judgment. The child must think and deliberate, and know the consequences of his actions. He must not leap in the dark. He must not think of momentary gains but have far sight enough to know permanent gains. The deliberation before action should not be overdone to prevent right action at the proper time.
Temperament of a Person:
Temperament is a native mental quality, which has, in the main, a physical basis. Some chemical changes going on in the tissues of the body affect the nervous system and thereby the mental processes. For instance, if the digestive system is not in order, the person is of irritating temperament.
The secretions of ductless glands, such as the thyroid, have a great effect on the mental working. Some of such bodily effects on the mind are hereditary. But these can be modified through proper diet and drugs. Some of these may be acquired during the life-time. These temperamental effects are temporary, but these do have some effect on the development of character and personality.
Character of a Person:
1. What is Character?
Character is the organised self-i.e., the organisation of the instincts, emotions, habits, complexes, temperaments and sentiments into one who. The strength and weakness of character depends upon the strength of organisation. If the instincts and emotions work in less organised manner, and more or less independently of the self, the character will be weak and loose. But high character is fashioned by strong ideals and sentiments organised under the self-sentiment.
2. Factors of Character:
Character of a person depends upon his:
(iii) Moral ideals,
(iv) Habits and
As most of the above factors, are not innate or inherited but acquired, character is a product of the development:
As for instincts, individual are natively endowed with instincts in relatively varying strengths. It is these variations that result in differences of character.
Temperaments are the bodily influences upon the mind. These do have some influence upon character, but do not determine its shape. In words of Ross, “native differences in temperament are merely the basis of individuality”- the bricks out of which a character can be fashioned.
Habits are only mechanical, and therefore, unreliable. But if certain acts are performed on a rational basis, these may lead to the formation of sound habits, and naturally these habits will become a part of one’s character. But before these habits become part of character, these are transformed into sentiments.
Will is the conative self. ‘It is the organised self in its dynamic aspect’. It is therefore, named as ‘character in action’. Hence stronger the will, sounder the character.
Good sentiments influence one’s character. A man of noble sentiments maintains certain ideals, directs his will strongly towards those and thus well-organised sentiments shape his character.
3. Training of Character:
1. Necessary adjuncts:
The following elements are involved in the training of character:
(f) Love and affection, and
(g) Rewards and punishment.
(a) Training of will:
Will is character in action, and hence there is need for development of will and self-discipline. Indian psychologists have laid great stress on self-discipline and development of will. The entire theme of Yoga Psychology is steading the fluctuation of mind. The method of training of will has been discussed above. The single prescription mentioned in Yoga and Bhagvadgita for the training of will is ‘practice’. Practice makes a man perfect, and this dictum holds true in this field also.
(b) Organisation of good habits:
Good habits form an essential element of character, because character is influenced by well-chosen habits of thought and action.
(c) Development of worthy ideals:
Development of worthy ideals is as necessary as the organisation of habits. The teachers should therefore, follow a rich programme of moral training in schools. It may be partly through moral instructions, but mostly through inculcation of moral ideas, spiritual values, duties and obligations of life, and through incentives to right conduct.
(d ) Organisation of Sentiments:
The development of character also consists in the sublimation of instincts and emotions, it also needs the building of some sentiments like the self-regarding sentiment, moral sentiment and the patriotic sentiment. A strong self can be built only through the welding of these sentiments into one organised whole.
Suggestion also has some part to play, because children are highly suggestive. Hence good stories must be told to them, life sketches of great heroes must be narrated, and they must be encouraged to do social service.
Imitation is likewise effective. A child imitates his elders. Hence the parents and teachers should be quite careful about their own action and behaviour. Example is better than precept.
(g) Rewards and Punishment:
Rewards and Punishment have their own effect. Rewards encourage the child to proceed on the right path. But punishments do more harm than good. Punishments create wrong reaction, and hence should be given only as a last resort.
(h) Love and affection:
Love and affection are positive incentives for right conduct. Want of the same from parents and teachers create conflicts and complexes which hinder the development of will and character. But too much of affection also may be un-psychological, as it carries the child.
4. Programme of Character Training:
1. Teacher’s Personality:
Teacher’s Personality has a lasting influence on the character of children. Teachers in ancient India, called Guru or Acharya, were masters of self, whose direct influence turned the base metal into gold. A teacher is watched, imitated and followed by the students, unconsciously and consciously. Hence his own character must be above board. The imprint of his character on the plastic mind of the children will have a lasting character.
It is the task of the character to lead the students through a series of experiences which are fruitful and socially acceptable. Scouting, hiking, excursions and social gatherings have good training value in this direction. The schools and colleges must create an active environment and provide for cooperative activities and responsibilities.
Students must be encouraged to volunteer themselves for all sorts of social services. They must be guided not to feel shy of manual labour, but imbibe dignity of labour. They may have an active programme of social service in the neighbourhood in the form of village uplift, or Shramdan, during the vacation period.
3. Moral Training:
It includes development of worthy ideal, formation of good habits, and understanding of the value of ethical life. Regular moral instructions will not have so much of influence, as a programme of activities suggested above.
The teachers may arrange film-shows on didactic topics or on biographies of great leaders. That will be more effective than moral preaching. Rewards may be given to those who have done some good deed. Social service may be made a part of the curriculum.