Modern educators realize more and more that a well rounded, complete education demands not only training of the intellect but training of the will and of the heart as well. In other words, the formation of character is as important as, if not more important than, the acquisition of knowledge.
Intellectual ability is no proof that a man will be able to master the difficulties of life and to adhere to right principles of action in times of distress. Only a strong will and a firm character enable man to stand such trials unshaken. Life is filled with trials; hence the necessity of character formation.
The formation of character requires, first of all, the knowledge of an ideal that will “give direction, measure, and value to effort,” (Monsignor William J. Kerby) from which the aim and the ways and means of education must be derived. The man who aims at being the perfect gentleman, i.e., the Christian, will of necessity follow other ways and use other means than he whose aim is only to make as much money as possible.
It requires also a fair knowledge of one’s self, of one’s powers of body and soul, of one’s strong and weak points, of one’s assets and defects. The old Greek saying, “Know yourself!” holds true also today.
There is no lack of, nor interest in, books on self-improvement. Man is painfully conscious of his many shortcomings and feels a great desire to eliminate unsatisfactory personality traits in order to achieve greater harmony within himself and with his environment.
Such self-knowledge is often offered in learned and high sounding phrases, but more often than not is of little help in daily life. A knowledge of the Four Temperaments, (though sometimes frowned upon by modern psychology), has proved very helpful in meeting and mastering the situations of everyday living. A short but valuable knowledge with practical suggestions is supplied by Conrad Hock, ‘The Four Temperaments’. Having been out of print for some years it is now herewith revised, enlarged and offered to the public.
The Pallottine Fathers Milwaukee