Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Character and Self-Discipline
Lesson 5
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


The learners will reflect on quotations about self-discipline and relate them to personal goals.


One 20-minute lesson


The learner will:

  • participate in a class discussion about self-discipline and character.
  • select and reflect on a quotation about self-discipline.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to www.generationon.org.

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Display this anonymous poem:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny!!!

Teacher: Do you agree or disagree with the poet? Why or why not? How does the poem relate to self-discipline? Allow time for discussion.

  • Display these quotes and ask the students to choose one to reflect on in their character education journals:
    •  "Self-Discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear and doubt. Self-Discipline allows a pitcher [person] to feel his individuality, his inner strength, his talent. He is master of, rather than a slave to, his thoughts and emotions." --The Mental ABC's of Pitching by H.A. Dorfman
    •  "Self-discipline is when your conscience tells you something and you don't talk back."  --W.K. Hope
    • "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." --Vince Lombardi
    • "The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. What ever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work." --Oprah Winfrey

Lesson Developed By:

Betsy Flikkema
Associate Director
Learning to Give

Barbara Dillbeck
Learning to Give


Philanthropy Framework:

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Character Education: Self-Discipline (Grade 8) Summary


What It's Not and What It Is
Sandra Cisneros
Imagine That!
Character and Self-Discipline

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