Character is simply an aggregate of our habits which are long continued and rooted deep in our subconscious. Every thought that comes to our mind, everything that we see, every word that we hear or speak and every work that we do leave indelible impressions on our mind which stay in the subconscious forever. What we are every moment is determined by the sum total of all the impressions of our life on our subconscious. Out of these, the sufficiently strong impressions will influence our future thoughts, actions and also direct our behaviour. What we think and what we do in the given circumstances is mostly decided by these strong impressions stored in our subconscious. This is very close to what is meant by character.
The character of a person depends upon the values and mental tendencies existing in his subconscious. If character is a tree, the subconscious is the field, values/ tendencies are like a seed planted in it and the surrounding environment & circumstances are like water/fertilizers for its growth. The values/tendencies are imbibed by a person or built in him mainly during the following four stages:
‘Values/tendencies’ which are in the genes of the child at the time of birth.
‘Values/tendencies’ which he imbibes from his parents and traditions of the families of his mother and father.
‘Values/tendencies’ which he gets from the surrounding environment (parivesh) and from the persons with whom he constantly interacts i.e. family members, relatives, friends, peers and neighbours. The conduct and behaviour of these persons has significant impact on the child. This is the first stage of character-building of a child as at this stage he tries to imitate others around him and follows them blindly.
At a later stage of childhood, a child begins to think on his own before he initiates an action. He tries to analyse whatever is spoken, taught or preached and then acts accordingly. He accepts it only if he concurs with it.
By the end of teenage, his character-building and formation of personality is almost complete and his future actions depend upon his mental make-up and character. It is very difficult to bring about any change in a person after his teens.
The values/tendencies existing in a child at the time of birth or imbibed later in his subconscious during the above stages may be positive or negative. Sometimes, the negatives become so strong that they suppress the positives. This impedes the development of a person. He becomes unhappy, stressed and frustrated and looks for an escape in undesirable evil activities. Therefore it is necessary to create situations and provide an environment which inspires him to discard his negative mental tendencies and to imbibe human values/ positive tendencies.