It Builds Character


it builds character,

that’s what it does;

hardship and struggle,

I mean.

They make you who you are.”


I guess that implies

something good.

That those whose lives

are built of hardships,

losses, defeats, failures

and struggle;

these are the Blessed.

These are the fortunate.

The oppressed and the downtrodden;

these are the inheritors

of the gift we call

“Strength of Character”?


Does that imply

that the coddled child,

raised in fortuitous circumstances,

is somehow devoid of character?

Do the silver spoon,

the lofty lineage,

the doting parents,

somehow deny one

“Good Character”?


Why is the tragedy so vital?

Is it because so many don’t come back?

So many don’t survive?

So many don’t rise from defeat,

having wrenched some type

of deep inner strength

from somewhere unknown,

even to themselves,

and laughed in the face

of their adversary

before they claimed victory

from the jaws of defeat?

Is this character,

or merely character tested?


Even the strongest of us,

when faced with some

ill set of circumstances,

can break,

can shatter

and be lost to the abyss of despair.

So is it character tested,

or character of perseverance?

What is it,

that thing that we seek

from others,

from ourselves?

What makes us survivors?


Is it the tragedy,

the test,

or the triumph?


HG – 2016

One thought on “It Builds Character

  1. Struggle forces us to become stronger people; it can also break us. To become a truly strong and mature person requires overcoming a wide variety of pain – every single different source, without breaking at any point. That’s why so few good people exist.

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