• toothpaste

“Taming the Toothpaste” Object Lesson

NOTE: This lesson offers multiple opportunities. Use it to address such character concerns as these, to name a few:

name-calling, unkind or cruel talk, and gossip

This lesson works well as either demonstration or hands-on. Choose the one that fits your time constraints and location.

Demonstration – requires toothpaste, a paper plate, and toothpicks.

– Show a tube of toothpaste. It need not be a full or fresh tube, but be sure it has several inches of toothpaste left in it. Colorful toothpaste is showy, but white can convey the lesson.

– Place the toothpaste on the table with the plate.

– Talk briefly about nice words and mean words. Ask listeners to show with silent faces how they feel when someone says nice words to them or about them. Then ask listeners to show with silent faces how they feel when someone says mean words to them or about them. Tell your listeners that words are like toothpaste.

– Choose two volunteers to come forward and help you.

– Hand the toothpaste tube to one volunteer, and tell him or her, “When I say ‘go’, I want you to squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube until I say ‘stop’. Squeeze it as fast as you can, […]

  • five_teachers

Teaching Tips – 10 Things Teachers Do to Be Successful

Ten things teachers do to be successful often remain hidden to both teacher and observer. They do not impress onlookers in the classroom, and teachers do not intend to impress with them. Actually, those teachers who perform these 10 things seldom think of them as “10 things teachers do to be successful” in their teaching.

To identify these “10 things” and understand the reasons they produce success, we must first define success in the world of education. When do we know a teacher succeeded? What are the marks of teaching success? Who establishes them?

Government committees use standardized tests. Faculties exercise peer evaluation. Students draw on personal criteria. Each group paints on the wall a mark that harmonizes with its beliefs. It marches teachers forward one by one to see if they match up to the mark. Critics deem teachers successful if they reach the mark, even if they must stand on performance tiptoes to do so. In reality, every one of those methods of judging teaching success depends greatly on students.

We cannot cleanly divide things teachers do from things students bring to the experience. While this does not render any of those tests of success invalid, neither does it get to […]

  • 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 […]

  • Punctuality

Punctuality Tips and Strategies

Punctuality tips and strategies can increase the ease and speed with which we build this important character trait. Most adults understand the basic meaning of punctuality. We know that punctual people meet obligations or complete necessary tasks before a previously named time.

Punctuality involves more than that, however, and only as we see the rest of the picture can we build solid punctuality. Only by employing vital tips and strategies can we build this character trait effectively.

Who Needs These Tips and Strategies?

Punctuality is a growing need in every arena. This list contains just five of them:

Employers long for greater punctuality among employees.
Employees wish they could improve their punctuality quotient (PQ)
Parents yearn for children and teenagers to exhibit promptnes
Teachers at every level, including tertiary, want greater punctuality.
Speakers want punctual audiences who do not interrupt their speaking.

If we completed the list, it would include every person on earth who was capable of understanding – because punctuality is a character trait. It is an absolute value, tied to other absolute values.

The universal need for punctuality creates a common need for these tips and strategies. We all need to teach punctuality – to ourselves first, and then to others if we are in such a […]

  • Christian Character Traits

Christian Character Traits – a Source of Blessing

Christian character traits are a source of great blessing to those who build and exercise them consistently. Such traits make our lives more peaceful, and that itself brings us deep happiness. There is more, however, to the happiness produced by Christian character traits.

Think about it with me for a few minutes.


Christian character traits are the high standards of right and wrong that God laid out as absolutes in His Word. Jesus exercised them perfectly. True Christians work hard to follow that example.

A list of Christian character traits is not limited to a few basic qualities on which everyone can agree – six words on which there is broad consensus. To the contrary. Christians are characterized by more than 60 character traits given by God.

Christian character traits are not relative either. They are absolutes. That means they don’t change from one situation to the next. We can depend on them to always mean the same thing.


We get wonderful blessings from exercising Christian character traits. That is, these actions give us great happiness. Think of the benefits of respect. List the benefits of respect your family would enjoy if you all exercised it. List the benefits of responsibility; the benefits of diligence; […]

  • Gossip

Fired for Gossip in New Hampshire

If you believe your company or organization exhibits character, stop and think about this. Recent news accounts tell of four women who were fired for gossiping in a city government office. They lost their jobs because they chose to gossip about the boss and his decision to hire a new worker at greater pay than they received. This pay was despite her apparent lack of experience and obvious lack of seniority.

What amazes me is not the fact that the women got fired for gossip in New Hampshire. The applicable law clearly states that employees may be fired with or without cause. Their firing was completely legal.

The discussion of their firing is what amazes me. The media is not blaming the women for any wrong-doing, legally or morally. To the contrary. The consensus of opinion seems to be that workplace gossip is common, and therefore morally right. That is what people do – especially females – especially females in offices. They gossip. It is part of being a female employee, according to the media.

Several TV “newscasters” have stated that the New Hampshire employer is the one who is at fault, not the women. Not only did he hire someone he ought […]