We want to challenge this notion. This day should be “time on”. Not in the traditional sense, though. This is not a day where we should engage in our regular routines. For MLK Jr. was far from a regular man. Rather, we should purposefully challenge ourselves. There is no better way to develop the content of our character than to engage in actions that challenge our sense of self and our abilities.
As Martin Luther King Jr. professed, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” This is a day to build character by engaging in activities, by experimenting with who we are when it matters most—during those times of challenge and controversy.
What can you do today to build character? Here are a few options:
- Exercise harder or run longer.
- Host a dinner party organized around a controversial topic.
- Engage in community service in a neighborhood different from your own.
- Honest journaling about the first 20 days of pursuing your New Year’s resolution.