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Character Feedback

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 173 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 15 letters

Title

Topic

Country

Got caught stealing and wonders if he can get a visa Stealing Canada
 
Confused about how many virtues there are Franklin's Virtues USA
 
Disagrees that you can follow these virtues Franklin's Virtues USA
 
How can I avoid being a poor loser? Poor Winner USA
 
Just got caught stealing Stealing USA
 
Worried after stealing from Wal-Mart Stealing Canada
 
Stole something from retail store Stealing USA
 
Scouting is an outstanding teacher of Character Boy Scouts USA
 
Feel that stepson is getting bad influence Morality USA
 
Parents say I'm irresponsible Responsible Canada
 
Almost got caught stealing at Wal-Mart Stealing USA
 
How can I tell my friend's character? Judging Others Egypt
 
People with negative character insult others Social Traits Egypt
 
Trying to pay back money that was stolen Stealing Australia
 
Eagle Scout speaking on racist topics Boy Scouts USA
 

Next 15 letters

 




First 15 letters


Stealing

Got caught stealing and wonders if he can get a visa

October 25, 2007

Question

hi...i stole from a store in canada...canadian tire..i was 19...i stole
stuff worth 25$...socks....i was depressed and home sick...because i was an international student and there was no body around....as soon as i reached canada...i was informed that my dad is not doing well....n i became very depressed.....i don kno why i did such a foolish act...n i dont kno why all this happened...
i have been a scholar student through out my life...and have no criminal record beffore....so the store people called the police n i was charged and hired a lawyer....my home people kept contacting to tell me dad wa really ill...so i told my lawyer to represent me in court and left for my home country....and within a few months of my return i lost my dad.....my lawyer fought for me...and got me an acquittal and i pledged guilty......i got a conditional discharge....on 14th march 2007....for 6 months...so now i am reapplying to canada for a student visa to go to another university because i stopped my studies in between....my family is aware of the foolish act i have committed...n i repent a lot that i have done such a thing.....my main concern now is that can they deny me a student visa....if i say yes that i have done such a thing...a lot of people have also suggested me to hide this...but i cant my heart says no....i should go on the rite path....i have to be in the university by 27th dec 2007...and time is running out..i will apply soon...please help me....!!!

send me any suggestion as to what i should write on my visa form....!!i lost my dad n i really want a good education...im not the person that one day made me....

- Canada (14640)

Answer

It almost sounds like you stole something as a subconscious way to justify going back to your home country. I am glad you realize it was wrong and have remorse for it.

Many countries do not readmit convicted felons into their country on a visa. But since you received and acquittal, that probably means you will not be prevented to get a student visa to Canada.

You should contact your lawyer to find out about Canada law in order to verify that you will be able to get another visa. Also find out the level a charges against you and if this will be on your record. The lawyer should be able to give you advice on getting the visa and what information about this incident you must disclose.

If your acquittal puts this as a minor incident, you will not have to say that you have committed a crime on any documents. It is always best to be honest, but it is also good to know the rules so that you do not disclose more than you need to.

I am sorry to hear that you lost your father, and I hope that things will work out for you to get a good education. At the very least, it is a good lesson that will make you a better person in the future.

Best wishes in your education.

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Franklin's Virtues

Confused about how many virtues there are

October 14, 2007

Question

I have a question about the virtues. there is 8 personal virtues and 5 social right? how come on the site it state 7 personal but there is 8 listed below, and for social it said 6 but only 5 listed below. is the listed number a correct one? please email me back because I have a report to right for school and I need to know the right information.. thank you

Peter - USA (14536)

Answer

There are Personal, Social and Rule-based character traits or virtues. I have seen some lists where they state over 75 traits. Ben Franklin listed 13 virtues, and we have classified them as personal and social traits. This is to be able to compare his list of virtues and to study them more.

Other places in the site, we list various virtues or character traits, but not all of them. Also, rule-based character traits should be included. For example, some societies say that good people wear certain types of clothing.

I hope this clarifies things for your report. The best thing is to just stick with Franklin's list of virtues at this time.

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Franklin's Virtues

Disagrees that you can follow these virtues

October 3, 2007

Question

Hello,
I just took a quick quiz on your site about the Ben Franklin's thirteen virtues, the last question was "Is it possible to strictly follow these virtues?" the correct answer was "If you are dillegent and work at it." I want to politely disagree with your statement. Even Ben Franklin, who was extremely enthusiastic about living in 'moral perfection' could not master his own list of virutes. He started out with temperence, which he felt was the most difficult,and planned on gradually added each virtue after completely mastering it. However, he only got to the third virtue, order, before he gave up. After two years of attempting 'moral perfection' he felt that it was just too hard to complete. He later stated that he was glad that he attempted to live by these virtues, but felt that it was just too hard to do. Maybe that is why he considered forming his own moral society. Well anyways, this might have bored you, but I have been doing a good amount of studying on Ben Franklin for my college class. There is no need to e-mail me back.

- USA (14473)

Answer

Franklin was good at giving advice, but he often did not follow his own advice. But that is true of many people and does not diminish the value of the virtues.

Note that Franklin's suggested virtues are part of an overall study of character traits.

The fact that Franklin was trying to follow these virtues is a virtue in itself. Even if he was not successful in all of them, at least his intentions were good.

Ben Franklin was truly a fascinating person. We also have a short biography on him in our site.

Best wishes in your studies.

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Poor Winner

How can I avoid being a poor loser?

August 10, 2007

Question

Passed the quiz on how not to be a poor winner.
My big problem is that I'm a poor loser. I get really mad and it can last a day or two. How can I overcome this and just enjoy the game? Also, how might I deal with a poor winner?

Mark - USA (14181)

Answer

When you lose a game or competition, who do you get mad at? Your opponent? Or are you simply angry that you lost?

What you should do with that energy is to use it to analyze why you lost and then learn from the situation, so that you will do better the next time. I've gone through games or competitions in my head and saw areas where I could have done things differently and gained an advantage.

Obviously, if you played someone who was a superior player, your chances of winning are low. But if you played your best and gave the guy a good game, then there is nothing to be angry about. In fact, you can feel good about yourself in defeat.

It isn't the outcome of the game that is as important as how well you play. If you don't try hard and perform poorly, then it is ground to be angry at yourself. You tell yourself, "Never play so poorly again."

The best attitude toward a competition is to have the other person push you to perform above your abilities. THAT is fun, whether you win or lose.

As far as dealing with a poor winner goes, simply congratulate the person. If he continues to gloat and act like a jerk, you can just be like most everyone else and avoid playing with him again.

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Stealing

Just got caught stealing

July 19, 2007

Question

Hey, I just got caught stealing from a retail store about 2 weeks ago and I feel really bad. I stole about 74 dollars worth of stuff. The LP people stopped me as I was walking out and took me to the back room. I'm 20 years old and they asked me for my ID, phone number and address. I gave them all that information and kept apoligizing because i couldnt believe it. It was my first time!! They made me sign some papers and said that i should be getting a letter in the mail asking to pay a fine. They did not call the cops either. What will the letter say? Will i have to go to court? Is there still a possibility that i might go to jail? Will this be on my record? If my job does a background check, will it show? I'm so nervous and havent really slept since it happened.

- USA (14095)

Answer

I am sure you are kicking yourself for doing a stupid thing like that. $74 isn't worth screwing up your life.

The fact that they didn't call the police right away is in your favor. Often a store will simply keep the information in their files in case you get caught again. Personally, I wouldn't ever go to that store again.

Since it has been two weeks already, there is a good chance they won't follow up on it. But if they do and you have to pay a fine, then just take care of the matter. I doubt that the police will be involved or that you will have to go to court. But if you do, apologize some more and offer to pay restitution, public service or whatever. It is unlikely they would put you in jail for a first shoplifting offense. Also, it should not go on your records.

But, you can see all the possible consequences. Not only that, stuff that is stolen usually has a "dirty feel" to it. You feel better about things when you pay for them yourself.

I hope things work out for you and that you take this as a lesson learned. Spend your energy on doing good works to help people, as opposed to doing negative things.

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Stealing

Worried after stealing from Wal-Mart

July 4, 2007

Question

I was reading your page about stealing. I recently attempted to steal from walmart. I bagged 3 dvds in the store, and I know that the cameras seen me. Stupidly i walked around the store with the dvds knowing i was beeing watched. I then found a friend, who I walked to the cashier to try and play it off as if i was buying something. I put the 3 dvds down, then foolishly after we bought some cheap stuff put one of them into my plastic bag. After that, we walked out, and security stopped us in the parking lot. We made a run for it and I got away after dropping the walmart bag of goods in the parking lot but my accomplice got caught, but he was later sent home without any arrest as they found him with nothing. They beleive I still have 2 dvds, even though i left them in the store. Im not sure if they are going to forget about this incident or if they will persue to bring me to court over 2 stupid dvds they beleive I still have yet I got away with nothing. I learned my lesson, and will not steal, but have to live with the fear of police showing up at my house and possibly charging me with theft. I do not have any criminal record, and I have plans for the future. I wonder if it would be worth walmart the police hours and cost of prosecuting me for such a stupid incident, or would they just forget about the whole thing?

bill - Canada (14020)

Answer

For the cost of the three DVDs, it certainly isn't worth stealing and then getting caught for it. Since security was involved, and your friend did not have any stolen goods on him, they may use the security cameras to try to identify you. But that is pretty difficult in the case of petty shoplifting, and they may not bother. But even if Wal-Mart decides not to pursue you and press charges, you still need to worry. You never know if your accomplice may start bragging about the situation to other people, thus giving you a bad reputation or perhaps getting you in trouble.

The big thing is that stealing is not worth the problems that can cause in your life if you get caught. There is also the expression "what comes around, goes around." That means if you steal, things will happen where people will steal from you. Finally, stealing is just morally not right and simply drags down your character.

I think you would rather be able to be proud of yourself and walk tall than to sneak around and steal things.

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Stealing

Stole something from retail store

July 2, 2007

Question

I have stolen today from a retail store. I wasn't caught, but i feel terribly guilty and ashamed of my actions. I dont know what to do. While i was there I purchased a few other items and used a credit card. Im nervous that they saw me take something and traced the cameras back to see whos credit card it was and they can find my information and still be prosecuted. I have the urge to go back to the store and admit what i have done and pay for what i stole. It was a horrible mistake, and i dont know what came over me at the time. I am so ashamed, and so scared. Is it possible for them to find out who i am since i paid with my card, and then prosecute me for it?

- USA (14012)

Answer

Obviously, it was wrong for you to steal or shoplift items from the store, and I am glad to hear you feel guilty and ashamed. You wonder what got into you to do that?

It is difficult to offer advice on this. But I can give some options.

The problem with bringing the items back, admitting what you did, and offering to pay for them is that you can't be sure of their response. Most often they would want to make an example of you and have you arrested, even though you offered to pay for the items. You are taking a chance doing that.

On the other hand, you could put the items on the side along with some money. If they discovered the theft and trace it back to you, then you can say that you were planning to bring the stuff back or pay for it. This could make things easier for you, and they may drop or reduce the charges.

After a few days, if you haven't been contacted by the police, they probably did not notice the theft and didn't see you on the video cameras. You will have to sweat it out for several days to find out what happened.

If the police do not contact you, then it is time to make amends. You could bring the items back to the store and replace them on the shelves. Or you could donate them to some charity. The big thing is not to keep what you took, because it is tainted.

And certainly, never, ever steal again. It is not right and is not worth it.

I hope things work out for you, and that you take this as a valuable lesson in being honest.

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Boy Scouts

Scouting is an outstanding teacher of Character

June 22, 2007

Question

As a Star Scout, with Son and Brother who are Eagle Scout's, I can testify that Scouting was an outstanding experience and teacher of Character. Following the Scout Slogan "Do a Good Turn Daily" has surprised many over the years and wondering, "who was that guy?" It is a shame that Scouts are banned from recruiting/sponsoring activities in public schools (i.e. CA).

Adrian - USA (13971)

Answer

Since the Boy Scouts advocates belief in God, many public school districts feel that they need to enforce separation of church and state, as mentioned in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, this is a compete misinterpretation of the Constitution. One would hope educators and legislators would have more intelligence than that. Of course, they will accept money that states "In God We Trust", but they often prevent good organizations like the Boy Scouts to use school facilities.

At least you know that scouts will grow up to be outstanding citizens of good character.

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Morality

Feel that stepson is getting bad influence

June 3, 2007

Question

In a world where we are wanting to protect our children and teach them right from wrong, why do some people think that because the children are exposed to violence in games and irreputable conduct out in public or misbehavior at school that we can't do anything to fight and make sure our children act in a good and moral way? My mother-in-law is raising my eight year old stepson and buys him games with a mature rating and lets him watch things on tv that I find very embarrassing or morally wrong and my husband too does this. If I say anything they just say well he knows right from wrong he isn't going to do anything wrong and since he can see it anywhere why fight it?

Pamela - USA (13872)

Answer

Children aren't born with the knowledge of what is right from wrong. They are taught it and learn by observation. A good example is that very young children who are beaten by their parents because they cry, will in turn punch a playmate who has hurt himself and started crying. They think that hitting someone who cries is the right behavior, since that is what their parents taught them.

It would be better if your mother-in-law would put some boundaries about what your stepson can see and do. The rating on the game is there for a purpose. But also, some people believe that entertainment meant for adults will not harm children, because it is the "real world".

Since you are not raising the child, you really have no say in how he is being brought up and what he is allowed to do. But you can influence him by your own behavior and by letting him know your beliefs. Of course, you need to make sure you are not undercutting your mother-in-law.

It is a tough situation, and hopefully the boy will pick up on your influence.

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Responsible

Parents say I'm irresponsible

May 25, 2007

Question

I'm 21 years old, and both my parents and my employer tell me that i'm being irresponsible. I always seem to make mistakes or goof-up. I understand all that you've said in the article "Character - Responsible". My question basically is : How do you make sure that you do not goof up... If I take responsibility for my actions then: I'm not making a risk... "I'm sitting on the middle of the highway just waiting to be hit by a car". So what should I do ? Cause right now... being responsible.. will just make my selfesteem drop.

Catalin - Canada (13836)

Answer

If you make a mistake or goof-up and say, "I'm sorry I made the mistake and will try to do better next time," you are taking responsibility. If you break something and offer to pay for it, you are also taking responsibility. But if you make mistakes and don't care, then you are irresponsible.

The problem seems to be in making the mistakes. The solution is to work on paying attention when instructions are given. It is also good to observe people when they are doing things, so that you can learn to do them yourself.

If you are forgetful, use some techniques to help your memory. Have a notebook or something similar to write things down as a reminder. It is always good to have a to-do list.

One important thing is to avoid putting yourself down by saying you always goof-up. Picture yourself as someone who is correct mistakes you have made and who is improving all the time. Picture yourself as a mature person who takes control of things.

I hope these ideas help. Prove them wrong.

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Stealing

Almost got caught stealing at Wal-Mart

May 16, 2007

Question

umm yes... i think the cameras at walamrt caught me stealing at walrt... i tried to stuff 2 shirts in my purse out of camera range welll i thought i got away with it...whne i went to self check out, the lady at the front got a phone call from someone and she kep looking at me and then when they thought my back was turned i think she told another emplyee that i had stolen something.. i layed it cool, finished my purchases, loaded my stuff in my kart and went to card sectiona and took out the shirts and returned them and i walked out and nohting happend... i was a little spooked.....will anyting happen to me... im not suer if the camras saw me return the stuf or not.. i will never try this again ever...

- USA (13794)

Answer

You are lucky on two counts. First, that you realized someone had seen you trying to shoplift the shirts. The second is that you returned them and did not try to get away with the theft.

Often they will wait until you have left the store before arresting you for shoplifting. They may have seen you return the goods, thus they could not arrest you for stealing.

The good thing about this is that it is a lesson learned. It is not worth the price of two shirts to get arrested, to pay a fine, and to be humiliated. If your family found out that you had been caught stealing, they certainly would have been ashamed.

I'm glad that you will never try this again. It's always better to be honest.

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Judging Others

How can I tell my friend's character?

April 28, 2007

Question

others will be happy to know my character because one day they are going to deal with me.
i have a question : how can i know my friends character and what is she thinking of?

RANA - Egypt (13661)

Answer

You can tell your friend's personality by the impression she makes on you. But her character is inside of her, what she has learned, and how she deals with situations. By observing how a person deals with problems, you can get a good idea of her character. Is she hard-working, courageous and thoughtful? Is she honest, considerate and reliable? Or is she the opposite in some of those areas?

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Social Traits

People with negative character insult others

April 28, 2007

Question

the peolple in negative character are always trying to let others bad like them but they arenot jealuse all the time.

rana - Egypt (13663)

Answer

Some people try to make themselves seem important by acting bad towards others or criticizing them. They are foolish in doing this, because no one likes such a negative character.

Sometimes these people act this way because they are jealous or envious of others. They would be smarter to use the success of others to inspire and motivate themselves to also excel.

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Stealing

Trying to pay back money that was stolen

April 20, 2007

Question

i have stolen about four thousand in small amounts and ever since i began doing it, i promised that i would put it back in without my bosses knowing. i did it because i was behind in bills, motgage etc. i dont know weather i should start paying it back slowly or weather i should come out with it and tell them. of course it will mean being fired from my job and loss of trust and belief from family and close friends whom are involved. help please.

- Australia (13619)

Answer

Although you have good intentions of returning the money, the consequences of getting caught is certainly greater than being behind in your bills. It is a good idea to learn to take care of your finances, so that you won't get into such a problem being behind in payments.

If you tell your bosses what you have done, there is a good chance that you would be punished just as if you had been caught stealing. Plus, you lose the trust for everyone.

You could start carefully paying it back slowly, so as not to arouse any suspicions or questions. You don't know if they noticed that some money was missing, but if they noticed there is some extra money, they may ask you if you know anything about it. In such a case, you can claim ignorance.

Although we are against stealing and emphasized honesty, we also realize that a person who is sorry for his misdeeds he and who is trying to make amends must be careful. Sometimes you can say you're sorry and be punished more severely than if you had been caught in the act.

In summary, carefully try to pay back the money, but don't admit what you have done. Also, never, ever steal again. It isn't worth it.

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Boy Scouts

Eagle Scout speaking on racist topics

March 31, 2007

Question

Is it acceptable for and Eagle Scout to be blatent in speaking on racist topics? I thought that the scout laws should be upheld and one should know better? We have an extended family in our troop and are finding trouble on this topic. Please advise.

- USA (13467)

Answer

It is not acceptable for anyone to speak on racist topics, especially an Eagle Scout. Although the Scout Laws set a standard for behavior and good character, there have been scout leaders and scouts who disregard or ignore the codes of good conduct. Sometimes they aren't aware they are doing something wrong. But often they are in the scouts for other reasons than becoming outstanding citizens. Perhaps they just like the uniform.

If there is a scout associated with your troop that is making inappropriate, hateful or racist comments, you need to talk to the scout leadership about the problem. They should take care of the matter by explaining to the boy that such talk is not what being an Eagle Scout is all about. If the leaders won't do anything, you may have to complain to Scout headquarters.

When one or two members of the group start making improper comments--even if they are jokes--it can bring down the whole group.

I hope these ideas help and you are able to solve the problem. Let me know how things turn out.

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