One of the great things about having good character is that it begets better behavior; it can be practically contagious. When other people see you standing talland behaving admirably, theytend to think twice about their actions as well. The more they practice treating people in this manner, the more of a habit it will become. It can be especially beneficial to younger students. Whether you work as a teacher’s assistant, tutor, or volunteer with an organization, setting a worthwhile example can be a rewarding experience for both you and others.

It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason, right? When you are interacting with others and you show them fairness, respect, and compassion while continuing to maintain your integrity, other people will appreciate it and treat you in kind. When you hold others to those same standards, most of the time, they will rise to the occasion.This does not mean that you constantly point it out when others are wrong or make mistakes; that’s not good character.Instead, talk them through decisions before or afterward, and go over what went right as well as what went wrong. You can direct them toward other ways of thinking that may bring them to options they weren’t aware of before.

This also does not mean that you force others to act the same way as you—you can only be an example and encourage others to follow suit. Fortunately, most people want to do the right thing and have integrity.However, depending on their life experiences, they may not know how to go about it. That’s where you come in. You can be a patient and informative guide, showing them how to navigate through life in a way that will make them feel good about themselves and will set an example for those around them.

Sometimes, especially when you are volunteering, you may be working with children or students who have been largely ignored in the past. They may think that no one pays attention to them; they may even believe that what they do does not matter. They may never have seen the consequences of their actions, either because no one bothered to teach them to take responsibility or because they have never bothered to see the effects. You can show them a different way. You can teach them that there are ways to behave that will reflect positively on them, and why that matters. Guide them to make sound decisions even when things appear to be a lose-lose situation. You can help show them that they don’t always need to be just looking out for themselves, that they can reach out and benefit others as well.

You can be a beacon of light and ignite a fire in the people around you as well. Volunteering can be hugely rewarding, and we cannot recommend it enough. Put yourself out there. You will be surprised at the good you can do just by being yourself.