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Thank You Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin believed in strong personal character development. He planned to be successful by excelling in the thirteen specific character traits listed below. He set a goal to focus on improving one of these characteristics each week. The next week he would work on improving another character trait with equal determination.

Week after week he focused on improving one character development trait at a time. After thirteen weeks he finished the list and simply started at the beginning of the list again. He worked his plan for over fifty years—one week and one characteristic at a time. History suggests that his plan worked.

Below are the thirteen character traits Ben Franklin worked on to improve his chances for success.

Character Traits

Self-control: be determined and disciplined in your efforts.

Silence: listen better in all discussions.

Order: don’t agonize—organize.

Pledge: promise to put your best effort into today’s activities.

Thrift: watch how you spend your money and your time.

Productivity: work hard—work smart—have fun.

Fairness: treat others the way you want to be treated.

Moderation: avoid extremes.

Cleanliness: have a clean mind, body and habits.

Tranquility: take time to slow down and “smell the roses.”

Charity: help others.

Humility: keep your ego in check.

Sincerity: be honest with yourself and others.

Suggestions for implementation:

  1. Choose four characteristics. Individually or as a family highlight one for each of the next four weeks. Focus on improving that one characteristic for the week.
  2. Communicate during the week on how things are going. Do you need some help?

Questions for discussion:

  1. During the week, have you noticed several opportunities to positively improve?
  2. What do you think you will learn about yourself from the exercise?
  3. Will you work on another four characteristics next month?


Please visit www.goalsettingforstudents.com for more life skills ideas to help children succeed.



Please forward this life skills idea to your friends.

Accent On Success® is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving parents and teachers the tools they need to help children succeed in school and in life. Their first book, Goal Setting for Students®, has won three national book awards.   

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