Character in Action

December – Week Three – Character in Action

LincolnI recently attended the Steven Spielberg movie “Lincoln,” a stirring account of the president’s last days, and a wonderful example of showing character in action.

This week, watch character in action in a film.


Then read the poem “You” by Edgar Guest to inspire action in your own life.

Who are your heroes?

December – Week Two – Character:Who are your heroes?

Think of people you have great respect for; they may be famous, or people you know. They may be real people or characters from books or movies, from the present or the past. They may be athletes, politicians, musicians, artists, peace seekers, or simply brilliant. What are the qualities they possess that you admire?


Develop Character

Character – Activity: Develop Character

Imagine for a moment that you are an employer, and describe your ideal employee. Then compare your description to the personal qualities that have been identified by SCANS as what employers are looking for.

  • Responsibility
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sociability
  • Self-Management
  • Integrity/Honesty

What are the qualities you are looking for in a relationship? Likely many of those qualities are on these lists as well.

Qualities from “The Book of Virtues” by William J Bennett (Affiliate link: I receive a small commission at no additional cost to your if you click through and make a purchase with an affiliate link. Thank you for your support!)

  • Courage
  • Self-Discipline
  • Responsibility
  • Work
  • Friendship
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
  • Loyalty
  • Determination
  • Faith

Six Pillars of Character from Character Counts:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness
  • Caring
  • Citizenship

Shared values from “Moral Courage” by Rushworth Kidder (Affiliate link: I receive a small commission at no additional cost to your if you click through and make a purchase with an affiliate link. Thank you for your support!)

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness
  • Compassion
CHARACTER Choose one of the qualities that are most important to you
Plan to develop: (Foundation for a Better Life) is a great resource for printable bookmarks, inspirational billboards (even make your own), ecards and more.

Periodic Table of Character Strengths

Tools to Explore Values at

Book:Healthy Wealthy and Wise: 52 Life-Changing Lessons for the Twenty-first Century” by Andrea Rains Waggener, inspired by Ben Franklin, presents ideas for developing 52 qualities. (Affiliate link: I receive a small commission at no additional cost to your if you click through and make a purchase with an affiliate link. Thank you for your support!)

Do a Needs Analysis

November – Week Four – Relationships: Do a Needs Analysis

Identify and communicate your functional needs, and request your partner do the same. Needs are essentials for survival, wants are things that would be nice to have. In Maslow’s hierarchy, as basic needs are met, higher needs become more important. We have needs in various areas and in different levels of intensity.

Relationships can be an exchange of meeting needs. For example, in the mental area, you may meet your need to learn by taking classes, watching the news and reading. Your need to learn will be enhanced by sharing ideas and conversation in a relationship, and you may be meeting their need for the same thing. If this need is equally important and equally met, both will be happy. When relationships fail to meet the needs of either or both, trouble follows.

Mental (to learn) information, challenges, freedom
Spiritual (to grow) meaning, purpose, principles, character
Emotional (to give & receive) recognition, respect, affection, support, understanding, kindness
Relationship (to share) appreciation, consideration, love, romance
Social (to connect) interaction w/others, communication, friendship, family, belonging
Physical (to care for) food, shelter, rest, exercise
Financial (to work) contribution, achievement, security, abundance
Recreational (to enjoy) fun, new experiences


Would be nice to have Really, really want it Very important Absolutely necessary
level 1-low 2-med 3-high 4-low 5-med 6-high 7-low 8-med 9-high 10-low 11-med 12-high

Functional needs are described by Bob Murray and Alicia Fortinberry in the book “Creating Optimism” as:

  1. Expressed in concrete terms
  2. Appropriate to the relationship
  3. Use action words
  4. Doable

Read more at Creating Optimism and Meeting Needs With Love

Expressing needs in concrete terms:

In the area of [what] I need [what], which will be met by doing [what]  [when] [how much] [for how long] at an importance level of [high, medium, low].

While we strive to meet needs ourselves, we may request for a need to be met by others, and they may request needs to be met by us. When our needs conflict with the needs of others, it’s time to explore ways to compromise or take turns. Clearly, nobody gets everything they want, and there is a middle ground between not asking for (or sometimes even knowing) what you want, and insisting on getting everything you want. In a relationship, we must consider the needs of each person. This is the challenge of relationships. This week, print two Needs Worksheets, one each for you and your partner to fill out, compare and discuss. In the area of relationship needs, Dr Harley talks about emotional needs at

An Example Needs Worksheet

 Family  I need to see my parents regularly monthly  Go to visit/ eat out  12
 Friends  I want to meet new friends as a couple  monthly  Join Am History meetup 6
 Social  I want to entertain  monthly  Invite someone to dinner  4
 Social  I want to volunteer  1 hr/week  Arts council gift shop  5
 Recreational  I want to travel  1/yr  Taking trips  11
 Recreational  I want to go to the movies  monthly  See a new movie  8
 See Know What You Want for more possibilities

Printable Needs Worksheet  | Know the Difference Between Wants & Needs | More Links about NEEDS

Make a Jar-O-Love

Relationships: Make a Jar-O-Love

Search the Internet for an “I love you jar,” and you can find lots of ideas for filling a jar with the many reasons you love someone. This variation fills a jar with slips of paper with actions you can take to show love. This week, make a Jar-O-Love (free printable pdf) with actions you can take to convey the five love languages.

What is Your Love Language?

Relationships: Learn love languages

Dr. Gary Chapman describes “The Five Love Languages” in his book. (Affiliate link: I receive a small commission at no additional cost to your if you click through and make a purchase with an affiliate link. Thank you for your support!)

They are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

One love language speaks most clearly to us, and it may be a different one for your partner. Use the one that connects to communicate your love. There is a quiz to determine your primary love language at the Five Love Languages website.

See also: Free printable Loving Actions for the Five Love Languages (pdf)

Know What You Want

Relationships – Activity: Know what you want

Whether you are already in a relationship, or looking for someone special, it’s important to know what you want.

Looking for someone special?

Begin by listing the top qualities you are looking for, then develop those qualities in yourself!

Consider what is important to you in these areas:

Mental(education, smarts) Physical(health, attributes) Emotional(romance, maturity, conflicts)
Spiritual (religion) Purpose (goals) Character (values)
Career (work) Financial (money) Recreational (leisure, entertainment, travel)
Relationships(family, children, appreciation, decisions) Social (friends, communication) Organizational (home, food)

Next get out and meet people:

  • Try activities that interest you
  • Tell friends and family you are looking
  • Attend church
  • Take a class
  • Online singles sites

A SMART Goal to meet someone: I will go someplace new and start a conversation with a new person who interests me at least once a week

Get to know them: 276 questions to ask before you marry

How to Find Lasting Love from

Already in a relationship?

Know your Emotional Needs – Dr Harley’s Marriage Builders

Know the Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work – John Gottman

How well do you know each other? –

Remember often the qualities you love about your partner, and let them know.

Important skills for all relationships:

see also Do a Needs Analysis


Develop Your Self-Esteem

Social – Activity: Develop Your Self-Esteem

Good relationships start with people whose self-esteem is strong. The good news is that many of the activities of a Year of Personal Growth help to develop self-esteem:

Realize if you are here, you are loved. 

Book: “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” by Nathaniel Brandon

1. The Practice of Living Consciously
2. The Practice of Self-Acceptance
3. The Practice of Self-Responsibility
4. The Practice of Self-Assertiveness
5. The Practice of Living Purposefully
6. The Practice of Personal Integrity

Read More about Self Esteem

Acts of Kindness

Social: Acts of Kindness

This quote courtesy of @Pinstamatic (

I will do something nice for a friend every day this week. I will spend my time & attention, or give small gifts like a card, candy, or a flower. I will also perform an act of kindness for a stranger.

Need Ideas?