The Six Fundamentals of Character

The students of Randolph-Macon Academy were visited by a unique guest from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Special Agent Victor Carpenter came to our school to talk about the importance of one of our core values, character.

Carpenter knows a thing or two about character, considering the extensive interview process that comes with pursuing a job with the FBI. “They hook you up to a polygraph, interview your friends, neighbors, relatives, and immediate family members,” said Carpenter. “So they only want those people with outstanding character.”

Carpenter explained what character is to the students through what he believes are the six fundamentals of character.

The first is the “fear of God.” Carpenter believes the beginning of wisdom and building character comes from giving yourself up to the Almighty and recognizing that you will always be under a certain level of authority, no matter how far you rise. 

The second fundamental of character is love. Carpenter explained that love is the basis for all relationships and relationships are the basis for all life. “Without love you will have no deep or meaningful relationships and therefore will have a lonely and isolated life,” said Carpenter.

The third fundamental is humility. “A humble person is a teachable person,” said Carpenter. “When a person is teachable they are able to learn and grow in talent and ability.”

The fourth fundamental is perseverance. He defined perseverance as continuing to head in the right direction in the face of adversity. “Perseverance will help you find more strength than you thought you had,” explained Carpenter. “That perseverance will always make you stronger, whether it is mentally, physically, or spiritually.”

The fifth fundamental is courage. “It is the ability to control your fear and face something difficult or dangerous,” said Carpenter. He used the Wright brothers as an example of courage. “They had no idea whether or not the machine was going to work, but they attempted to fly it anyway,” he explained.  “Seventy years later man flew to the moon.”

The sixth and final fundamental of character is forgiveness. Carpenter told the students, “You will be wronged in this life and bitterness will build up inside of you if you don’t learn how to forgive. Your relationships will be ruined if forgiveness is not offered from you or to you.”

Carpenter’s six fundamentals of character resonated with our students, faculty, and staff. It was a clear and concise description of what makes up a moral character. We thank Special Agent Carpenter for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with all of us. We hope he will return to “The Hill” soon.