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Feedback Q&A on Character

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 171 comments and questions on Character issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 10 letters




Determination Family is against person's dreams Nigeria
Stealing Thinking of stealing since husband has poor job USA
Stealing Husband's boss preaches hell and brimstone USA
Stealing Student from China caught shoplifting USA
Franklin's Virtues Define temperance USA
Motivations to Change Character Most people only think of themselves Philippines
If I Were Brave I want to be brave, but I am a coward Sudan
Honesty How are we honest? India
Stealing Exchange student stole money and skipped out USA
Stealing Caught stealing at Wal-Mart USA

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First 10 letters

Family is against person's dreams

Topic: Determination


February 19, 2011

if someone is determined to do one particular thing in life and that is not in support with all the members of his/her family and all his/her focus is on that particular thing to do in life what will he/she do.

Chisa - Nigeria



Determination is often needed to achieve a specific goal. However, if that goal is not supported by members of the family, it presents a dilemma.

You have to understand their rationale and reasoning for not supporting the goal. Although in some cultures, the family has much influence on the direction a person should take, in these modern times young people like to try new things.

The best things is to ask the family members to have trust and allow you to try something different. Promise that if things do not work out, you can always change to their ideas.

In this way, it is a compromise instead of rebellion.

I assume that you have something you really want to do, so best wishes in achieving your dreams.

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Thinking of stealing since husband has poor job

Topic: Stealing


December 14, 2010

I am angry at my husband and have contemplated stealing what I need. I have religious convictions that tell me its wrong, though. I only thought about it because I'm so angry at my husband. He works in a certain trade where he can start his own business and earn a lot of money, yet he makes every excuse not to bother. Instead he keeps working for this jerk that teakes advantage of him and although he's worked there for 15 years and has been the best worker the company has ever had, his boss took away his personal and sick days and holiday pay. I'm very angry. He has enough talent to work for himself. I know he can't just quit his job, but he makes excuses for not naming his business so that he can't get business cards and can't advertise in the better papers that reach more people. Us and our four kids are going without. I don't even have sheets on my bed, I go to the salvation army for my kids clothes, who are growing like weeks. I pick garbage from the side of the road to try to sell it. I'm so angry. He could do better, but it seems his loyalty is to his horrible boss then to his family! I've really thought about leaving him, maybe then he'd get his act together. I'm really sad. This isn't even me to think about such things as stealing. :(

nobody - USA



I think the big problem is that your husband doesn't realize his skills and can't picture himself in business for himself. Starting up your own business is a scary proposition, and it is probably easier to go through the same old routine at work.

Since his boss takes advantage of him, it is apparent that he is not getting any recognition or praise for the work he does. That just keeps his self-image down.

Here is an exercise you can try, if you can get some quiet time together. Get out a couple of pieces of paper and a pencil. Ask him what are some of the things he has really enjoyed doing in the past 10 years or so. Write them down. On another paper, tell him enjoyable times you have had and write them down. It doesn't have to be many.

Then under that list, ask him to tell some of the things he has done that he was proud of, especially at work. You can make a list of your accomplishments too. It doesn't have to be anything sensational. But it makes you think of things each of you has done.

Finally, ask him to tell you things he'd like to do in the next 5 years. You do the same.

Now, the whole idea of this is that when he looks at his list, he can realize, "Hey! I've got something going for myself!" It also points out where you two want to go in your lives.

Hopefully, this will get him thinking and perhaps give him some incentive.

As far as starting up his own business goes, it is not easy unless there is outside work available. Usually, you need some back-up money to get by until work comes in. But at the very least, your husband should look for another job where he will be appreciated.

For information on starting a business, see:

As far as stealing to get what you want goes, you know that it is not only wrong, but it is stupid. If you would get caught, it would be bad for your family.

But you shouldn't have to be be skimping and collecting garbage when your husband has a solid job. Hopefully, he is not drinking or gambling the money away.

Try the exercise I suggested. If your husband doesn't want to cooperate and doesn't seem to care about the condition of his family, then I don't know what to say.

Best wishes in improving your life and that of your family. Let me know how things turn out.

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Husband's boss preaches hell and brimstone

Topic: Stealing


December 14, 2010

After reading all the comments on this website and the trouble people have gotten in, I've decided that I won't steal even though I need certain things. I'll save up some money and try to find a good deal for what I need. I'm still mad at my husband because he is putting us in this situation because of his lack of motivation when he could give us a really good life without even working to hard.

I have to add that my husband's boss is also to blame for his lack of money in the bank right now. Last October in 09, he got appendicities and he was out of work for 6 weeks. His boss didn't even help him. My husband used his summer vacation time(thats the only time he gets for family, but no sick or personal or holiday pay days) After his week of vacation was up, we were on our own. His boss is a Sunday School teacher and preaches hell and brimstone to people. We drained our savings and my husband is bitter because after 15 years of working for this man, his boss forgot about him and showed no care. He makes millions of dollars a year and my husband is a big part of him making that money, but he couldn't even help him when it counted. My husband was also sick again with a possible stroke and was out of work for 3 days. His boss showed NO mercy once again. We lost 1,000 from him being out of work. My husband did not have a stroke, it is an eye issue, but he's better now.
I just don't know what to do. We can't keep going on like this.

At least finding this website has helped me decide to stay out of trouble. Its wrong morally anyway. Thank you and I would appreciate any words of wisdom you have to offer our family of 6.

nobody - USA



It is good to realize that stealing is not worth the consequences to you or your family. You need to be brave and strong to help keep your family together and healthy. It shows that you are someone important and worth while.

Obviously, your husband's boss is not someone who practices what he preaches. He probably is a very self-centered person who uses his position in his church and at work to show his power over others. Pray for him. He'll need it in the end.

I don't think your husband's problem is the lack of motivation, because he seems to be working hard at his job. Instead, he has his priorities wrong. Family must come first over this job. Unless his boss has some hold on him -- perhaps through his religious preaching, both in the church and at the job.

Don't expect the boss to help your husband or anyone. Your husband must realize that his loyalty to this job is ruining his health and destroying his family. You can't get him to act by nagging him, but you can help to open his eyes if he truly loves you and his children. Perhaps then he will overcome the hold his boss has on him.

I wish you the best and hope that your husband will maintain his health, as well as to see the light and get a different job.

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Student from China caught shoplifting

Topic: Stealing


November 28, 2010

Umm, I am an international student from China, And today I was caught because I put something into my pocket when I was in Walmart, and I didn't mean to do that, that stuff is worth about $15, when I was try to get out the walmart, the employee stopped me and take me to the backroom, then they call the police, I said sorry again and again, then the police take me to the police station, then my friend come here and pay $500 to pick me out, and I need to go to court next Friday. I am so scared that will I lose my student visa and have to stop my study here? or what will be the punishment?




It is highly unusual for someone shoplifting a $15 item to be taken to the police station and even more unusual to require $500 for bail. Perhaps they are extra strict in that community.

Typically, a person who is arrested for shoplifting will be simply given a warning or perhaps a fine, especially if it is a first offense. Since you had to pay $500 to get out, I am not so sure what they will do.

The best thing to do is to go to your counselor at school, especially concerning international students, and ask for advice. You might need representation (such as a lawyer). At the very least, the counselor should be familiar with the laws in the area.

I hope everything works out for you and that it will not impact your student visa. At the very least, it is a good lesson.

Best wishes for you in this situation. Let me know how things turn out.

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Define temperance

Topic: Franklin's Virtues


October 20, 2010

can u clearly define these 13 steps for example "temperance- eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation" what does that mean

stephanie - USA



Temperance means that you should not overeat. Some people eat so much that they become sleepy or dull minded. Likewise, it means that you can have an alcoholic drink in a social situation, but you should not drink so much that you become drunk.

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Most people only think of themselves

Topic: Motivations to Change Character


October 9, 2010

this is best for people how change of value of life because all most people are self only

jose - Philippines



Yes, it is true that many people think only of themselves. Being considerate of others is a valuable character trait.

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I want to be brave, but I am a coward

Topic: If I Were Brave


September 1, 2010

I need your help to be brave person because i am coward.

Yillow - Sudan



The very first thing to do is to never consider yourself as a coward. Calling yourself a coward only makes matters worse. Instead, think of yourself as very cautious.

A coward runs from any danger or threat, without even considering how bad it is. A cautious person will evaluate the danger and then make a decision on whether it is wise to proceed.

It is important to be able to look at the danger or risk in a situation and ask yourself, "What is the worst that can happen to me if I fail?" Often the consequences are so small that there is no reason not to proceed.

Building your confidence in areas of fear is necessary to become brave. You do that by taking small steps where the chances of failure are small. Then, when you complete that step, you congratulate yourself and look toward taking a bigger step.

Before long, you will be confident and brave. But not foolishly brave.

If you work at it, you will become a brave person and a champion. I am sure of it.

Never call yourself a coward again. Just say that you are cautious.

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How are we honest?

Topic: Honesty


June 29, 2010

how can we possibly be honest?

bobi - India



Everyone wants others to be honest with them and to tell the truth and not try to cheat them. But yet, some of them will turn around and be dishonest with others.

It is good to be honest and forthright in all your dealing with other people.

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Exchange student stole money and skipped out

Topic: Stealing


May 19, 2010

hi, i was a exchage student in USA one year ago. but i did a very stupid thing i steal something worth $127 at JCpenny store. i hired a lawyer and went to the court.the court let me did 36hours social services and charge me fines. after i did 16hours services i back to my country without pay to the court. because i need back to my university to continue my last year studying and i am afraid at USA after i steal . but this year i was graduated and will be a cabin crew.maybe i will fly to USA, but i am afraid USA will not let me in anymore. at the same time i am afraid my airline will know this thing and lose my job. what i can do now? thank you

Jasmine - USA



It was bad enough that you stole money in another country where you were studying, but skipping out on completing your punishment and not paying the fine was adding to the crime. That is not good and shows you did not have remorse for what you had done. It is a disappointing lack of character for an educated person.

It is unlikely that they are looking for you or that you would be stopped from entering the United States. However, it is something that could arise.

It might be worthwhile to check with the lawyer you had hired for the case and see what options you may have. My guess is that just letting things be might be recommended.

Hopefully, you have learned a lesson from this incident.

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Caught stealing at Wal-Mart

Topic: Stealing


May 3, 2010

im a mother of 5 childern, my husband recently got deported. last week i was caught shoplifting from walmart, i got petty theft 2nd degree, i am very embarressed and feel horrible for what i did, what are my consequences that i am facing when i go to court in 3 weeks, or do you have any advice? my children were with me when i did it, but i dont think they understood what was going on...could anything happen to my childern? thank you for your time

Kayla - USA



It is too bad that your husband was deported recently. With 5 children, it certainly adds to your problems getting caught shoplifting. If this is your first offense, they probably will let you off with probation, especially since you are sorry and embarrassed about the situation.

However, there may be some concern whether you are able to support and take care of your children, since your husband is gone. Have you checked with Social Services in your community? If you go to a church, perhaps they have some service to help or give advise about how to take care of your children.

Certainly, do not steal or shoplift again. You need to think of your family. Also, if you are in need, there are services which will help you.

Best wishes in your court case and in taking care of your children.

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