Free Resource Kit, Video and Guide:

The Farmer's Insurance Group
The American Promise Kit
P.O. Box 4989
Los Angeles, CA 90051-9723

(800) 204-7722


Live Your Dreams
 ISBN 0-688-11889-5
(Available through

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Chapter IV: Freedom
(pages 75-88)
To help students develop the tools to become independent and responsible for their choices and to start to make choices which will help them fulfill their dreams.

High school is the time of a major transition for young people as they are preparing to go from being dependent on their parents for their support and many of their decisions to being independent young adults. Most young people feel that it is necessary to separate themselves from dependency upon their parents. This desire for independence is a natural and desirable urge for individuation, of becoming and individual with a unique personal identity.

The natural progression is:
(In dysfunctional relationships an individual does not get to independence but goes from dependent to co-dependent where there is a prolongation of dependency beyond age-appropriate stages.)

Main Question: How do you know when you are free?

Pre-Reading activity: Students write their own definitions of freedom and discuss.

Next, have students find examples of people who have fought for or who are fighting for freedom. What freedoms are they fighting for? What is the difference between "Freedom" and "freedoms?"

Show, if available, the video: "The American Promise" acts 1-5, a couple of segments at a time during this chapter.

(pages 76-81 discussion of goals) At this point it is helpful to take another look at the "Personal Inventory" and the  "Needs Worksheet" since needs and wants are a big part of setting goals. Have them write down their goals and then prioritize and rank them from most important to least important. They can further categorize them into short-term and long term goals. Have them identify which goals are tools and which goals relate to some overall purpose in their lives. Think about the consequences of choices on self and others: (Resource: Vernon pages 41-44 or design your own scenarios of choices and consequences)

Goal Action Plan: Students create a goal action plan and find an adult mentor to help reach the goals. Adult mentor should sign the action plan and student should have mentor check and sign plan as it is accomplished. The key here is defining goals and taking steps to achieve them. (You may refer to the activities beginning on page 248 in Les Brown's book to help you create an action plan format suitable to your students' needs.)

(pages 81-83 things that limit freedom) Next, using the "Think, Ink and Pop-up" technique, have them identify some forces which are preventing them from making free choices. These could be internal forces like attitudes, habits, fears, or programming or they could be external forces like other people's opinions, styles, social attitudes or pressures, and so forth.

(pages 84-88 leadership) Concept: We become more of a leader in our relationships when we first learn to lead ourself. 

Activity: Leadership "Dream Box." Each student takes a small box with no top and turns it upside down so that the bottom is up. On each of the five faces of the box will be placed pictures or words which represent the student's dreams of things to accomplish for him or herself (the top face), and on the other four sides his or her dreams for family, community, nation, and humanity or the world. On the inside, which represents the student's values, qualities, and motivation, student writes what moves him or her to work for those dreams, and what "food" will be needed to nourish his or her quest for the dreams indicated on each of the five faces on the outside of the box. Leave some space on the inside for the additions of virtues during the study of the next chapter. 

Note: This box is a symbol of how using our values and inner motivation to accomplish our dreams we become more free and we become a leader. While our dreams may be humble and realistic it is the fit of the motivation with the goal which creates our integrity and our freedom. This box can serve as a metaphor to lead to the theme of the next chapter, "Living the Good Life."

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Hello World

Digging for Diamonds
Songs by Red Grammer

Red Note Records

5049 Orangeport Road

Brewerton, NY 13029

Tel: 315-676-5516


Critical Years, 
Critical Choices
Dave Roever

Roever Education Assistance program


*Outstanding Video

Homeless to Harvard
ABC News Videos


(item # T991217 02 1 A FL-6)


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Chapter V: Living the Good Life
 (pages 89-100)

To help students determine for themselves a source of intrinsic motivation based on the development of a personal ethic in the pursuit of their life goals.

Pre-reading: Encourage students to bring copies of their favorite fairy tales to class. Display them in class and have students choose at least one of them before getting to this chapter. Have students write a few sentences about why this is their favorite fairy tale. Discuss the tales from the viewpoint of the types of conflicts the characters encountered and the virtues they needed in order to be successful in reach their goals.(Make and post a class list of the virtues which class brainstorms.)

(page 89-90: Current events/media influences: Conflicting messages about what constitutes the "good life.") Resources: Magazines and periodicals especially those geared to young people. Students analyse the social messages promoted in news and media characterising the most desirable lifestyes. Students create names for the types of lifestyles promoted and list them as a class. How realistic are they?  What would a person need as a prerequisite to achieve the lifestyle? What would be the benefits of the lifestyles?  What is the cost to the individual, community, environment of such a lifestyle? What is the legacy of the lifestyle? Why is this lifestyle promoted and by whom? Do you know anyone who actually lives this way?


  • Define and talk about virtue as a class, referring back to the brainstormed list in the pre-reading activity. (add to that list if need be) What are virtues?  Where do they originate? How do they benefit society? How are they taught and communicated to people?
  • Students define their own virtues on a list in their journaling section of notebook.
  • Define one's own concept of "good life" refering back to the "Dream Box" project and adding if need be some criteria for them to achieve the "good life" for each of the five groups on the outside of the box.
  • List virtues needed to obtain the good life on inside of the "Dream Box" and also in journal after list of one's own virtues.
  • Refer back to "Circle of Self" worksheet to see what adjectives were listed. Which of these were virtues and what other adjectives could be added at this point?
"Digging for Diamonds:" Understanding Self-worth (page 91paragraph 2, page 96 )
  • Brainstorm with class the geological forces which create diamonds.
  • Using the creation of diamonds as a metaphor and the diamond worksheet think about the times of heat and pressure in your own life and what kinds of positive changes they helped to create in you (write in journal).
  • At this point listen to song "Digging for Diamonds" if available.
  • If available, view video "Critical Years, Critical Choices"
  • Use discussion questions on video. Use the equation E+R=O for discussion.
  • Share experiences from the "Diamond" worksheet.
The Path to the "Good Life:" Students compare some of their own life challenges and the virtues which they used to meet them with any fairy tale to which they can best relate their struggle. (Remember of course that characters and situations in fairy tales are symbolic and metaphorical.) What does this reveal about travelling on the path to one's "good life?" ("Think, Ink, Pop-up")

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Check with high school counselor for a "learning and working styles inventory." It may be useful for students to do a career assessment in conjunction with this section to serve as a baseline for making choices on their path.

The films below deal with the themes of changing self image and teachers who help develop character:

To Sir With Love

Captains Courageous 

Little Lord Fauntleroy
1936 version ****
1980 version ***

The Little Princess
1939 version
1987 PBS Wonderworks
1995 version

Karate Kid 
1984 (PG)

October Sky
1999 (PG)

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Chapter VI: Finding the Path
(pages 101-120)
Students describe their life path up to the present, evaluate it in terms of personal growth and sense of purpose, and develop the tools to continue a life path which brings them eventually to a state of personal fulfillment. 

Activity (prior to reading pages 101 to bottom of page 105): Create a Life-line
A life-line is more than a timeline of the major events in a person's life. It has the added dimension of "highs" and "lows," choices as well as events. A life-line will look more like a stock market graph where the horizontal scale is time and the vertical scale is how one felt or the positive/negative consequences of events or choices. Students will portray the "mountains" and "valleys" of their life experiences. After reading selection (pp. 101-105) students can add to/modify thier life-line.

Present life-line to class. Students relate some of the events/choices represented on their life-line by mountains, valleys, and plateaus and describe how they felt or what they were thinking during those periods and why. How did those events determine the direction or influence their life path? 

Pages 106-111 (questions for discussion):

  • Did they ever want to change direction? Why or why not?  Were they able to change direction?  What prevented them or made it difficult?
  • Did they ever want to or try to change their self image?
  • Can anyone relate to the experiences related on these pages?
  • What is meant by crisis?
  • What are examples of positive and negative crises or crises with positive or negative consequences?
  • Can students give examples of the four types of crises?
  • What are "virtues of the soul?" (see section above on virtue as a reference)
  • What are examples of positive and negative forces? Where do they originate?
Pages 111-115
Discuss the "law of attraction and repulsion." Do any students have experiences with this concept?  What are simple lessons and complex lessons?  Who or what teaches us these?

Pages 115-120
Using the criteria listed on pp. 117-118 students work in groups and brainstorm list of spiritual teachers whom they have encountered in their lives or in historical accounts. They may be of the past or of the present from anywhere in the world. They do not necessarily have to be religious or "teachers." How can ordinary tasks be "spiritual?" Give examples.


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