It takes perseverance to reach a long-term goal or turn a big dream into reality. Our students are great at dreaming big, so this week we’re teaching them a character trait that will help them reach those dreams: Perseverance
We teach our students how to persevere by giving them challenges that will take a couple of times to get right. We teach them to persevere by focusing on what they learn from mistakes instead of the mistakes themselves.

Key Topics:
perseverance, Greece, olympics, statues, long-term goals, goal setting, challenges, learning from mistakes, persevere, push forward, grit


Golf is a sport of integrity because players keep their own score. No referee or umpire is walking around watching their every move. No other players are around to keep them honest. It is the player’s own integrity that holds them to write down the correct number of shots.
We may not be able to play a full round of golf with them to drive the point home, but the principle of integrity in golf can help our students capture this concept and bring it to life outside of the classroom.

Key Topics:
integrity, honesty, healthy relationships, communication, doing what's right, personal code


Little is more foreign to children than containing their anger. Even when they grow out of giving regular tantrums, feelings like anger and frustration can make them lose their cool, complete with tears and flailing and stomping. Our students don’t have to be captives of their emotions like this. For the good of society and the benefit of their future success, we want to teach them techniques to handle their stress or negative emotions.
Self-control can be taught, just like any skill. While we’re teaching them how to throw and run, we are also teaching them how to manage their thoughts and emotions.

Key Topics:
thoughts, emotions, control, anger, tantrums, servant leadership, frustration


Pride isn’t all good or all bad. It’s mostly a matter of degree. Pride in the right amount will push students to try harder and learn more. Pride that has slipped its bounds will push them to dig in their heels and assume they already know best.
We want our students to be proud of themselves and to have school pride, but this requires balance because we don’t want them to be arrogant or self-centered. Good pride is being full of love for what you do, as well as for your teammates.

Key Topics:
pride, arrogance, selflessness, selfishness, school pride, balance, love for teammates, love for classmates, work ethic


Everyone needs encouragement sometimes. This is separate from praise, which we receive for doing something good. Encouragement doesn’t mean we’ve already succeeded. Instead, it’s a sign that the person giving the encouragement believes that we can succeed.
We have all faced moments where we were trying to do something new or difficult and we just weren’t sure that we could do it. At that moment, having a friend, a teammate, to encourage us can make all the difference in the world. Where self-doubt leads us to failure, encouragement boosts us to success.

Key Topics:
encouragement, positivity, attitude, teamwork, friendship, relationships skills, communication


Coachability is the ability to be coached. Or, as our students learned in this lesson, coachability is being excited to learn something new. It’s natural to be frustrated or discouraged when they get something wrong or struggle to master a new skill. But we want our students to see that instead of being frustrated, which can lead them to quit, they can instead get excited about what they learned from getting it wrong.
Excitement to learn something new can overcome frustration or discouragement at not getting something right the first time. We’ve just got to learn (and teach our students) how to make that switch.

Key Topics:
coachability, learning from mistakes, frustration, discouragement, mindset, accepting criticism


Our students are old enough to do chores, follow rules, and understand why they need to do those first two things. The reason is responsibility, or as they learned this week, doing what you are trusted to do. There are three key parts to this definition:
-Responsibility involves others
-Responsibility takes trust
-Responsibility requires action

Key Topics:
Responsibility, trust, action, rules, standards, hard work, work ethic, chores


Confidence comes from believing in ourselves. If we believe we can do something, we’ll find all the reasons we can do it, and that will help us to succeed. The opposite is also true, if we believe we can’t do something, we’ll find reasons we can’t, and that will become our reality.
Of course, belief is only the first part of confidence. The second part comes from bringing our best to the situation. We can believe all day that we can fly, but unless we work to figure out how to build something to make that possible, it’s not going to happen. So really confidence requires belief and work.

Key Topics:
confidence, belief, self-confidence, hard work, action, believe in yourself, you can do it, positivity, encouragement


When we see the world through a positive perspective, we can achieve much more than we can if we see the world through a negative perspective. That’s because where we focus, we finish. If we focus on what we can do, we’ll finish where we want to be, but if we focus on what we can’t do, we’ll finish where we expect to be.
In short, positivity is focusing on what we can do, not what we can’t do. The common metaphor is the glass that is either half full or half empty. Neither viewpoint is more “correct” than the other, but they do have different outcomes.

Key Topics:
positivity, positive viewpoint, perspective, mindset, glass half full, optimism, can do, focus forward, personal narrative



In this lesson, students learn the 5 Ps: Prior Preparation Permits Proper Performance. Preparation doesn’t guarantee success, but it does tip the odds in our favor because it helps us to perform to the best of our abilities. Preparation is the difference between finishing a marathon and just starting one. Without preparation, we’ll get fatigued early and never cross the finish line. But with preparation, we give ourselves the boost needed to perform at our best.

Key Topics:
preparation, kenya, success, giving your best, effort, marathon, discipline, accountability, safari, hiking


Trust is both very strong and very fragile. It is strong enough that when you trust the people around you, you can overcome anything that’s in front of you. But it’s also fragile enough that the wrong words or situation can break our trust in someone.
Trust doesn’t come overnight. But in the daily time spent together, we build trust with our students. If we don’t protect and foster that trust, it will be fragile enough that a harsh word can break it. But if we take the time to build it up every day, it will be strong enough to help our students overcome whatever is in front of them.

Key Topics:
Trust, trustworthy, responsibility, accountability, dependability, iditarod, dog sledding, dog mushing, teamwork, cooperation, communication, alaska


Without rules and boundaries, we don’t know what’s fair or unfair. We all have some innate sense of right and wrong. But without guidelines from our parents, teachers, and community, that sense of what’s right won’t turn into the correct actions.
Rules help to protect the rights of ourselves and others. When we respect the rules, it really means we’re respecting the rights of other people. If we don’t respect their rights, how can we expect them to respect our rights?

Key Topics:
earth, fair play, soccer, football, futbol, kicking, rules, respect, rights of others, protection, boundaries, guidelines


A jump rope team has to work together in sync if they’re going to break a world record or win an international championship. It takes a team to achieve a big goal. As the saying goes, “If you want to run fast, run alone. But if you want to run far, run together.” Or, shorter and sweeter: “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Teamwork makes reaching a big, scary goal much easier and less scary. It also teaches students how to communicate their thoughts and feelings, appreciate how they are like and unlike their peers, and how they can help each other become better.

Key Topics:
Diversity, teamwork, hard work, work ethic, goals, goal setting, relationship skills


Being an Olympic gymnast capable of not only making the podium, but of winning the gold, requires a solid work ethic. The gymnast has to believe that hard work pays off. That is what keeps them pushing forward despite setbacks like injuries, losses, and more challenging routines.
The belief of others is useful, too. Everyone needs a support system, after all. But others can’t control our beliefs, our commitments, or our choices. We have to believe that hard work pays off. We have to develop a solid work ethic.

Key Topics:
gymnastics, work ethic, hard work, Russia, siberia, jumping, leaping, hopping, skipping, big goals, dreams


Cowboys and cowgirls in Wyoming know a harsh, demanding existence. Instead of bowing under the strain of that, they turned it into a competition with each other, what we now call rodeo. Toughness is something that rodeo people know all about. Toughness is about perseverance and endurance.
Our students are going to face uncomfortable challenges. If they learn how to embrace those challenges, the obstacles will become the way that they find success. If they push back against those obstacles instead, they’ll just end up further away from their goals.

Key Topics:
cowboy, cowgirl, western, wyoming, united states, toughness, grit, tough, challenges, obstacles, success, goals, comfort zone, rodeo


It’s easy to look at martial arts and think they are about violence. But the truth is, they are about discipline. Learning how to kick and punch is only useful if the student also learns how to control the desire to kick or punch. Discipline, devoting yourself to excellence, is about doing what you need to do, even if it’s not what you want to do.

Key Topics:
discipline, martial arts, Japan, karate, tai kwon do, aikido, excellence, good behavior, good choices, self-management


Yoga and associated practices have lots of health benefits that continue to be researched and documented, and it’s become extremely popular in the west. But we’re talking about it in this lesson because yoga helps us tune into our inner selves.
When we are in tune with ourselves, it’s much easier to attune to others, too. That’s why yoga can be so helpful in teaching compassion. And compassion, in turn, helps us in three very important ways: Compassion helps us recognize that other people are just like us, compassion helps us take action to help others, and compassion helps us appreciate the differences between ourselves and others.

Key Topics:
yoga, compassion, India, stretching, pilates, mindfulness, awareness, empathy, kindness, generosity, charity, servant leadership, caring for others


Loyalty is about commitment, whether that’s commitment to a person, an idea, or a tradition. Czech immigrants have remained loyal to their tradition of polka (a term which describes both the music and the dance). Americans are loyal to the ideals of freedom and equality. Most people are loyal to their family and friends. Our loyalty and commitment communicates a lot about us.

Key Topics:
loyalty, czech republic, polka, dance, music, tradition, family, commitment

Stephen Mackey, CEO & Founder

Stephen Mackey is a player development coach, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and founder of 2Words Character Development, one of the top Leadership and character curriculums in the country. Building on the Six Pillars of a Championship Character – Toughness, Integrity, Belief, Excellence, Effort, and Service – Mackey equips teams and organizations to elevate their performance by building a culture of character.
Patrick Jones - Course author