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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




Franklin's Virtues have many questions about Ben Franklin's views USA
Integrity Student reads meaning into what I say Nigeria
What is Character Confused between Character and Personality Malaysia
What is Character Is killing or stealing acceptable behavior? Zimbabwe
Stealing Got caught stealing at Wal-Mart USA
Stealing Stole something a year ago Canada
Franklin's Virtues What was Franklin's opinion about his own virtues? USA
Stealing Stealing is bad USA
Extremes in Good Character Honoring and obeying aren't the same USA
Reliable Trying to improve my reputation for being late USA

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First 10 letters

have many questions about Ben Franklin's views

Topic: Franklin's Virtues


September 24, 2009

What does Ben Franklin believe is the nature of man? Does he believe it is good or evil?
What does Franklin believe makes a good ruler? How should a ruler governed in his view?
What is more important to Franklin? divine right of kings or the natural rights of man?
What's Franklin's veiw of women rights? are they equal to men?
What are Franklin's views on education? and who should be educated?
What does Franklin think the goal of education should be?
What does Frankin think government's role should be?




Franklin listed his 13 virtues as part of his philosophy on good living. He had many views on various subjects. You can start getting answers to your questions by reading his biography at:

Also, try some of the books and website listed as Resources.

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Student reads meaning into what I say

Topic: Integrity


July 21, 2009


hope u good , well i have a serious problem in my school. and is a case of 'misjudgement' of act by fellow student.always reading meaning into every single thing i do or say . please can u give me a perfact way of getting my peace back.

donald - Nigeria



For some reason, this student seems to mistrust you and feels you are distrustful or misleading. The reason may be because of some incident or because this person is distrustful of everyone.

Choose your words carefully when speaking to this student so that there does not seem to be any hidden meaning. You want to assure him that you have the utmost integrity.

But also, be cautious that this student does not spread rumors about you.

In some cases, you can gain the trust of a person who initially distrusts you, such that you can become close friends. But there are others who will never trust others. It is probably good to avoid those people.

It is a difficult situation. I hope this gives you some ideas on a solution.

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Confused between Character and Personality

Topic: What is Character


July 20, 2009

Hi, I am a bit confused between Character and Personality and often, i would get mixed up when asked to explain on the subject. Thus, I really need this to be as simple to be understood as possible.
1) What is the definition of Character?
2) What is the definition of Personality?
3) Can you give me a few examples of traits for Character?
4) Can you give me a few examples of traits for Personality?

With these, I hope to have a better and clearer understanding between the two.

Ricky Ong - Malaysia



Personality consists primarily of inborn traits. It is a tendency that can be seen even when a person is a child. One example is having an outgoing personality. Tendency to be leader or to be a serious person are also personality traits. There are a number of classifications for personality traits.

On the other hand, character is the quality in which you do something. Although affected by personality, it is primarily taught. Dishonest children usually have dishonest parents or friends. A person with a character trait of being hard-working usually learns that value from his parents. Character concerns a learned attitude toward work and toward other people.

I hope that helps you understand the difference.

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Is killing or stealing acceptable behavior?

Topic: What is Character


July 17, 2009

Your definition of character clearly states that; it is a set of behavior traits that define what sort of person and individual is. Now I would like to know if killing, stealing, fornication etc can be regarded as positive traits in any progressive society? These in my view are very negative traits and anyone who has them can never be said to have good character. I am of the opinion that failure to base your qualification of good and bad on a solid proven experience would result in misleading of individuals who come into contact with this kind of information. I therefore would propose that you clearly spell out the positive and negative behavior traits according to your conviction in order to remove any confusion, I believe this would give readers the choice of whether to embrace or reject the teaching.

Chihombe - Zimbabwe



There is a universal rule of good character that you should not harm other people or cause a loss to them.

Certainly, such actions as killing, stealing and fornication are considered negative character traits in progressive societies. But note that if your parents or friend taught you negative ways to act, you may think such actions were acceptable, even though others did not.

By looking at our other lessons on character, you can see examples of positive character, as well as explanations of what leads to those character traits.

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Got caught stealing at Wal-Mart

Topic: Stealing


June 21, 2009

me and two of my friends got caught stealing in walmart yesterdayand i was the one that walked out with the purse but i didnt have anything for me in there but a shirt... they called the cops cuz it was 75 dollars worth of stuff and i dont know what to do i am freakin out if i get put on probation i will get kicked off drill team please help me out i dont know what to do i prayed to god every second of the day my best friend was the one that was putin everything in the purse i dont know waht to do i lost every bit of trust with my mom and everything and it is the worst feeling of the world expecially when she told me she isnt just dissapointed she is very dissapointed :( please help




I don't have to tell you that you got yourself in a lot of trouble and have disappointed a lot of people, especially your mother. And $75 worth of stuff would be a lot of money for Wal-Mart to lose, but it wouldn't make you rich.

If you haven't been caught stealing before and have a good record at school, you might be able to get the manager at Wal-Mart to drop the charges.

Perhaps you or your mother could talk to the manager at Wal-Mart to ask if there is some way they can drop the charges. The only problem is that they may have a strict policy about it or that once it goes to the police, it is out of their hands. But it doesn't hurt to try.

Whether or not you get put on probation or get kicked off the drill team, it certainly is a lesson learned not to steal. Also, you might question whether it is good to have a friend who would get you into such a jam.

You need to start with your mother and tell her how sorry you are about it, how you have learned a lesson and will be changing your ways. But also expect some punishment from her. At the very least, you will be grounded for a while.

Note that word will get around to your other friends about how you got caught. If they say something, you have to let them know you learned your lesson.

It is going to take a while for all this to blow over. I hope that Wal-Mart will let you off with just a "slap on the hand" and not make an example of you.

Best wishes for this to turn out OK.

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Stole something a year ago

Topic: Stealing


May 29, 2009

Hi there, I read your page and found it very useful and informative. I just have 1 thing I've always felt bad about. Its about a year ago, I took some cologne from a shop. I did it sometimes, and luckily I did not get caught. But my friends said that they can check the camera to check out the case and maybe I will be caught.

Please help me about this. Is it true? Thank you

M. - Canada



Although it was not good that you took some cologne from a shop, it is good that you have regrets about doing that.

Although many stores have cameras to monitor customers in case of shoplifting, they do not keep those tapes for more than a few weeks. So it is highly unlikely that you will be arrested after this long of time.

Certainly, don't steal again. It just isn't worth it.

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What was Franklin's opinion about his own virtues?

Topic: Franklin's Virtues


April 21, 2009

I dont really have a question but there is something I would like to know about. What was Franklins opinion about his own virtues. Did he really fully agree with all them? Did Franklin doubt himself at all?




I don't think Benjamin Franklin ever wrote or told anyone about concerns about breaking the virtues he had listed and tried to follow. But the fact that he kept a list of the virtues to review shows that he probably was concerned when he broke the rules.

It is sort of like the person who is on a diet and keeps a reminder sign on the refrigerator door. The sign often doesn't help.

The virtues were his beliefs, so he did agree with them. Although Franklin seemed confident and even happy-go-lucky most of his life, I am sure he had self-doubts. Everyone does, even the most successful people.

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Stealing is bad

Topic: Stealing


April 13, 2009

stealing is bad and freakin' bad. you can get yourself in too double trouble

Daniel - USA



You're right. The money or goods you get just isn't worth the hassle that might come to you.

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Honoring and obeying aren't the same

Topic: Extremes in Good Character


March 18, 2009

I have a comment for your article. You stated that:

"Religiously, the 10 Commandments say to honor your parents. But there was a recent news story of a 17 year old boy whose father demanded he join him on a crime spree. The dilemma for the boy was whether to obey his father or the law. After a gun battle in which a policeman was killed, the boy and his father were both sentenced to life in prison."

The Commandment you refer to does indeed say to "honor" your parents, but it does not say to "obey" your parents. There is a huge difference. I think it imply in any way that a moral commandment is responsible for this young man's bad decision is offensive when you've taken it out of context.

I appreciate you reading my comment, though.


Sonya - USA



You brought up a good point. Honoring does not necessarily mean obeying.

Although the Commandment only says to honor your parents, Ephesians 6:1-3 states: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' - which is the first commandment with a promise - 'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth'."

On looking at my example, I don't think it is a good case concerning extreme character traits, so I removed it from the article.

Thanks for your feedback.

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Trying to improve my reputation for being late

Topic: Reliable


March 17, 2009

I am trying to improve my reputation for frequently being late. It may be five min. or so, but I hate having that reputation, and now when I am striving to always be on time, 9 times out of 10, the one time I'm late, a comment is made. However, the friend who harangues me for being late can be late but her excuses are legitimate. For example, the last time we went out, she asked, "Are you going to be there at 6:00"? I was there at 6:00, but she was late "because of traffic", which is okay for her.
Question 1: Any way to handle people like that?
I do not intentionally show up late. I try to do too much to keep everyone happy, which makes me tend to over-promise, and then I pay the price.
I believe I may have lost a boyfriend because of this. Also, I admire people who are never late, but it is a CONSTANT struggle for me.
Question 2: Do you have any suggestions who I can overcome this reputation for being late? (Not just, be on time advice, but rather help me to understand the psychology behind why I'm late, etc.?)
My supervisor at work is constantly watching me, for one or two min late, when other workers are 12 min late and she doesn't even notice.
I need some help and will put every effort into this.
Thank you.




Waiting for someone to show up can be irritating, if it happens often.

Some people seem to be naturally poky. But often they learn such behavior from their parents, who probably are also slow to do things and are often late. Some people are late because they do not set priorities and may do something like deciding to wash the dishes just before leaving for an appointment. Others set up such a busy schedule that they are trying to do too much, resulting in being late for everything.

One of my cousins was poky and married a poky man. Since they were usually late for everything, they set their clocks 20 minutes early to help them be on time.

Being always late in social situations gives the impression of being inconsiderate to the other people. They can feel that you think your time is important and theirs is not. There are also people who come "fashionably late" to parties and affairs in order to seem important.

Being unreliable is promising to do something or to be on time but then breaking your promise.

An adage for success in a career is to always be 15 minutes early to work and leave 1/2 hour late. That gives a good impression to management. Once you get a negative reputation, it is difficult to overcome it in some people's eyes. Since you have the reputation of being late at work, start to make an effort to get there earlier, as well as to make yourself visible to the boss. That may earn you some "brownie points" with her. And don't pay attention to when other people come in. That is your supervisor's business.

I guess you will have to try to be more conscientious about being on time or even early. When you promise to meet at 6 PM, plan to get there a little early. Also, if you do get caught in traffic, try calling the person to say you will be late.

If your friend is a good friend, you can try to turn the tables on her by saying, "Oh, late again?" when you have been waiting for her. that might stop her from bugging you.

I hope these ideas help you get the reputation of being on time more often.

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