• fruit-basket

A Fruit Basket of Character

You are probably among the millions who will celebrate at least one holiday during the last eight weeks of the year. You will probably visit family and friends, exchanging gifts and gathering around a holiday table. You may attend a holiday party at your place of business. Fruit baskets will be prominent, and you yourself may contribute one to the festivities.

May I make a suggestion? Why not save money and take a fruit basket of character this year? I don’t mean a literal basket, of course. I mean your inner basket of solid character. You could contribute far more to the festivities with such a gift than with any material present. Just think about it. You could fill such a basket to overflowing since you have 66 character fruits from which to choose!

Start with a beautiful Conviction Basket woven of moral absolutes. Fill it with your favorites. Then fill it to overflowing, including the following, guaranteed to improve any get-together.

Love: This is the most important character fruit to put in your basket. A gift of your love will do whatever is best for those you are visiting, regardless of personal sacrifice.
Joy: Your realistic view of both the good and bad […]

  • Character Building

Redeeming the First Minute

You teach the way you teach…. You always start the school year that way…. You see no point in buying back a mere minute….

Ah, but first impressions are lasting!

What if a couple of secrets injected into the first minute could make a tremendous difference in the entire school year? Would you want to learn those secrets?

Let us look at them together.

Secret #1 – Give Character Building First Place

You will become more effective, and increase academic achievement exponentially, by positioning character building in that first minute. As students enter your classroom for the first time, you show them that moral values take priority. You place character building on a pedestal, and “sell” students on it.

Famous educator Dr. Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990) once said, “A rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.”

The rut of starting your school year in the same old way can thwart success. Teaching high moral values from the first minute will yield tremendous increases in both academic and social achievement.

Students assume you will take time to demand quiet, explain rules, or take attendance. That is what teachers do. Shock them by directing first-minute attention to high moral values instead.

You may teach tertiary, secondary, or elementary. You […]

  • Character Traits

Bulletin Boards with Flair

A bulletin board can act as a powerful teaching tool, or it can merely sit there as a pathetic contrivance. You might welcome the challenge of designing a bulletin board, and always create exciting boards that students love. Then again, you might dread the task, and procrastinate until you simply have to throw something at that blank expanse.

Love or hate the task, you will not escape the fact that your bulletin board is a bold advertisement. It tells students about you and about your lesson material. Design a bulletin board with flair, and you will more easily sell both yourself and your subject matter. Students will automatically attribute to you and your teaching the flair of the bulletin board, so you will get better results. You must follow through with quality in other areas, of course, but begin with bulletin boards that have flair.

Character education bulletin boards are especially important, since they sell traits that influence every discipline of teaching, every area of life, and every day from cradle to grave. Few other subjects could so demand a bulletin board with flair.

Well then, what do you think are “musts” for dashing bulletin boards? Let’s look at a half dozen.

1. Bulletin […]

  • curbappeal

Bulletin Boards with Curb Appeal

Bulletin boards are like houses – they need curb appeal.

Curb appeal is a home’s attractiveness on the outside. It’s what potential buyers see from the curb. If a home’s curb appeal makes a good first impression, buyers will be eager to see what’s inside.

The two photos below show the same house. Does the addition of “curb appeal” change the first impression? Are you more likely to be excited about the inside of the first or the second home?

A drab, uninviting house turns people away. Boost its curb appeal, and it invited people to see what’s inside. It makes them eager to get more detail.

Bulletin boards are like houses – they need curb appeal. Do your bulletin boards have it? If you have a finished bulletin board on the wall right now, look at it. Does it have curb appeal? Does it make a good first impression? Does it smile at students and make them eager to look at everything on it, or does it yawn and make them continue on their way?

Make your bulletin boards sell knowledge and ideas with curb appeal. Try this.

Sketch Your Work

Bulletin boards must be planned if we want them to succeed. It takes […]

  • self-discipline-02

What’s Self-Discipline Have to do with Spring?

What do you think self-discipline might have to do with spring? Can you define self-discipline? Would you consider it a trait of character?

Self-discipline is indeed a trait of character. It is defined as the ability to control one’s own conduct by principles and good judgment instead of acting on impulses, desires, or what everyone else in society is doing. Think of an Olympic athlete in training. That athlete must control his or her conduct based on principle in order to properly train. The athlete cannot give in to a desire to go out and party just because friends are all doing it. The athlete must not suddenly decide on impulse to play video games all day and not train – or eat quantities of a very desirable junk food. To be successful, the athlete must control conduct in every area of life by exercising good judgment.

The same is true of those of us who are not athletes. We are not prisoners. We do not have someone else controlling our lives. It is up to us. We must exercise self-discipline to control ourselves instead of just letting life happen day after day.

Well, but what does self-discipline have to do with spring?

Spring […]

  • duck

Is It a Duck?

The duck test, attributed to James Whitcomb Riley, says:

“When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.”

When testing for reality in a person, it is good to see if he or she not only “quacks” the right words, but acts in accordance with those words.

We who work to build character need to apply the duck test to character. We need to see if each bird is really a “character duck.”

Is it a duck – that image you see in the mirror? You need to apply the duck test.

Is it a duck – that student you teach in school or at home? You need to apply every part of the duck test to the “birds” you are teaching.

It is wonderful when children and teens learn the meaning of a character trait so well that they can speak or write a clear, complete definition. It is rewarding when they can give examples of how that trait is exercised in daily life. It can be exciting to see them portray the trait accurately in role-playing situations.

All of those, however, are simply occasions for “quacking” like character […]