Adversity does not build character.
Adversity reveals it.
The Beginning of a memoir or work of fiction (1/4 of the entire project) for any age group serves -- among other things like the setting, the dramatic question, the mystery - if there is one, the love interest- if there is one, and the like -- to introduce the character's emotional development. This is where the character strengths and flaws, loves and hates, dreams and goals are introduced.
The Middle (1/2 of the entire project) serves to reveal the deeper nuances of the character's emotional development. This is the part of the story where the writer thrusts the protagonist into as much adversity as possible in order to reveal to the reader or movie goer who the character really is. (Plot tip: make a list of all possible antagonists-- other people, nature, society, belief system, and/or machines -- that can help to create conflict, tension and suspense or curiosity and thus reveal who the character is under pressure -- the more pressure the better)
The End (1/4 of the project) is that portion of the project that actually shows how the character's emotional development has been affected by the adversity in the Middle and reveals how the character has been transformed.
These steps in the overall character emotional transformation can be plotted out on a Plot Planner for ease in developing your project.
What is the most revealing adversity you have experienced either through your character or in your own life?