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Life Skills/Pressing Issues
All in Good Order
Some people are naturally more organized than others, but anyone can learn organizational
skills. Becoming and staying organized can help students perform better at school while reducing stress. This
is a great opportunity for students to think about the benefits of becoming and staying organized as they begin
the new school year.
At the Core
Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, once said that "It's not hard to make decisions
when you know what your values are." Students explore the notion that deciding which core values will guide them
through life is one of the most important decisions they will ever make.
Students will take a look at ambition and consider the ways that it can help them
reach their goals as well as the idea that there are good and bad ways to express ambition.
Be True to Yourself
It takes moral courage for students to stay true to themselves by not participating
in activities that go against their personal values, especially when they are afraid of being ridiculed or rejected. Being
true to themselves is much easier when they know who they are and what they stand for.
Catching a Thief
In 2010, the Josephson Institute conducted a survey of nearly 40,000 American high school
students. Almost 28% of all the students surveyed admitted that they had stolen something from a store within the previous
year. Students will examine the costs to themselves and others when they choose to steal and explore the concept
of good character as a valuable asset to possess.
Cheating in school or other activities is never honorable. By choosing to be an honorable person,
the decision has already been made not to cheat. Students who choose to cheat may find it easy at first but there
are short- and long-term negative consequences if they are caught. Students will consider these consequences and the
loss of self-respect whether they are caught or not.
Did You Do That On Purpose?
* Life can be so random at times. It can be confusing and challenging. For
life to make sense, it has to have meaning. It has to have purpose, and having purpose in our lives is something we
choose because when we do anything on purpose, we do it deliberately. Students explore the importance of choosing
a worthy purpose in their lives.
Directing Your Own Life
Every time students act responsibly, they earn more trust. With that trust usually comes more
freedom to choose. Being trustworthy can mean making some tough short-term choices, but long-term, it can mean having
greater control over one's future. Students explore the idea that the benefits of making responsible decisions far
outweigh the costs.
Don't Be Late
For the most part, whether we ourselves are punctual or not, we expect others to be
punctual. We expect movies to begin at showtime, and ambulances to arrive promptly. Students explore the
notion that being tardy or late not only is discourteous but can have serious consequences for ourselves and others.
Some of the "luckiest" people you will ever meet are not lucky at all. They simply
set goals, work hard, and reap the natural consequences of all their effort. Students consider the idea that they
can make the decision to work hard to reach their goals rather than counting on luck.
Here Comes Tomorrow
Students are often tempted to put things off until tomorrow, but moving their
responsibilities forward does not make them go away. In fact, it can make them seem bigger and more stressful. In
this plan, students consider the negative consequences of procrastination and explore tools and strategies for staying
on top of things.
Each time students are faced with a choice between doing what they know is right and doing
what is wrong, they have the opportunity to choose a life of integrity and to enjoy the riches that come with such a life.
Living an Ethical Life
We aren't born knowing how to live an ethical life. It's a skill we develop
and then it's a choice we make. Making ethical choices means taking the time to think through the values we believe are
important. When we do this in advance, we are better equipped to make the right choices. Students will explore the costs
and the benefits of living an ethical life.
We all want to have nice things, and many of us want to improve our standard of living someday.
That's all very normal, but some of us can never seem to get enough. Students examine the implications of greed on
themselves and society and consider gratitude as an antidote to greed.
Power to Change
Making changes in behavior or breaking a habit is never easy. However, there are people who can
help us change for the better, because sometimes we need someone else to come along beside us and show us the way.
In the end, though, we have to be the ones to make the changes ourselves.
You are never too young to learn to save money for the rainy days of life. Life is unpredictable
and we never know when we will be faced with a challenge that requires some money to resolve. Students explore the
benefits of making a lifelong habit of saving money.
The Road Ahead
Every day we make choices, and every choice comes with a consequence. A wise person strives to make good decisions,
decisions that will reap the best outcomes. A stubborn or unaware person will continually make unwise choices, and in the process,
he or she will live a life less fortunate than that of the wiser one.
Strength of Habit
Aristotle once said "The habits we form from childhood make no small difference,
but rather make all the difference." Students explore the idea that it is easier to form positive habits now than
to break bad habits, and that our habits shape our character and our character determines the outcome of our lives.
* Dr. King faced many difficult decisions in his life. With these materials, students
have an opportunity to reflect on the fact that each of us faces many decisions each day. Some may be very difficult,
but whatever the situation, we can learn from Dr. King's example by using these opportunities to do the right thing.
Sometimes on the path of life we are faced with a fork in the road. Deciding which
way to go can be challenging particularly when we want to make the right choice. Students will consider the notion
that just because everyone else is choosing a well-beaten path does not mean it's the right way to go.
What Kind of Person Do I Want To Be?
Its important for all of us, adults and young people alike,
to take time to reflect on the principles that will guide our lives and to make a conscious choice as to what kind
of person we are going to be. Life can be difficult to navigate. Choosing our principles first can help make the journey
easier and more rewarding.
When I Do Good I Feel Good
* Students look at the connection between doing good and feeling good, doing
bad and feeling bad. This is a great opportunity to discuss the importance of personal rules of conduct.
The Words We Speak
Students stop to consider that the words we choose to speak are a reflection of
who we are. Either words earn the respect of others, or they can cost us respect when others hear our bad language.
You're Not the Boss of Me
One of the hardest things about being a kid is having to bite your tongue when you
want to say, "Hey, you're not the boss of me!" But the truth is, until you learn how to "boss yourself,"
somebody has to do the job or you might be making some truly unwise decisions.
* Materials with an asterisk (*) relate to Responsible Decision-Making and are also related to a calendar event. These same materials can also be found under Calendar Events.
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