Life changing Character Story

A new teacher stood at the front of his classroom preparing for another battle.

He glanced at the students as they filed into class – Worn out sneakers, shirts untucked, shoulders slumped. What could his English class give these kids that would help them with the problems they faced in the real world?

He had tried reaching out to them and he knew that he’d failed, but today he was going to try a different approach.

“OK everyone, grab a seat and listen up!

“Today we’re going to talk about the nature of character. So… Damon, what does character mean to you?”

The heavyset boy in the second row shifted in his seat uncomfortably before replying, “Umm, character is the people in a story?”

“You’re right Damon, characters are the people in a story, but the nature of character goes much deeper than that. Let me show you something.”

James lifted two plastic trays up on to his desk so that everyone in the class could see them. In each tray sat a large sponge. He then produced two glass jugs. The first contained clear water and the second contained dark brown drain water.

The young teacher poured the clear water into the first tray and the brown water into the second tray.

“OK, who can tell me what’s happening here?”

“The sponges are soaking up the water?” replied the usually quiet Sharon.

“That’s right Sharon, the sponges are soaking up the water that surrounds them.

“And that’s exactly how we develop our sense of character. We absorb the ideas of the people around us just like these sponges soak up the water.

“If we surround ourselves with supportive, optimistic people we gradually develop a positive character,” said the young teacher indicating the tray containing the clean water.

He then motioned towards the second tray.

“On the other hand, if we continually associate with pessimistic and cynical people, we gradually develop a negative character.”

James paused and noticed that the background chatter that usually filled the class was absent.

“Now what happens when I take the sponges out of the water?” he asked as he lifted up the sponges, one in each hand.

The class looked puzzled.

“How do they look?” prompted James.

“They look the same to me” said Damon and the class responded with a ripple of laughter.

“You’re right Damon, they do look the same on the outside, but there’s one important difference.

“Watch what happens when I squeeze the sponges.” James squeezed the first sponge and clear water flowed back into the tray. He then squeezed the second sponge and released a steady stream of dark liquid.

“You see, even when I remove the sponges from their trays, they still carry their water with them. Its only when I squeeze the sponges that we can really see what’s inside them.

“The same thing happens with us,” continued James, “When we leave our familiar environment, we still carry our character inside us and when life puts us under pressure, our true character emerges from within.”

Today I’d like to encourage you to take Mr Glover’s lesson on board.

Make the decision to spend your time with motivated, optimistic people. By doing this you will gradually soak up the thoughts and ideas necessary to develop a positive character.

And when the time comes and life puts you under pressure, you’ll be able to draw upon this reservoir and your true character will emerge from within.

Author:  Dr. Anthony Fernando

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36 Responses to “Life changing Character Story”

  1. stephen says:

    very good piece of information, it was so good to learn something like that today, thank you.

  2. Linda says:


  3. Cornel H. Candappa says:

    Yes, very true! Furthermore, I would like to add to the analogy,that when the dirty water is added to the sponge
    and squeezed out, not only will dirty water come out of it, the residual detritus of the ‘bad’ influences will remain entrapped in the sponge!! That is a good lesson.

  4. I have found this to be a very good lesson that all people need to learn, It is exactly true. I have just found this out at he age of 46yrs of age. I wished I would have learned it alot sooner. I ran from my responsibilies and didn’t do what God planned for my life. I learned the hard way that things won’t work out in your life unles they were planned for your life. We all need to learn from our mistakes and trust God’s lead for a happier and prosperous life.

  5. This is an excellent demonstration and one that can be understood by most people, young or old. It really clarifies how our associations with others affects us in our lives.

  6. It is Good to know about “Character” even at this bonus age of 72 of mine . “When character is lost, every thing will be lost in the life”. I have forwarded this to all I known. Very excellent teaching, and every one must know, apart from the children to be educated properly by following this method, and thus we make a good way in the society. The ALMIGHT will definitely give all good health and wealth to such of those people who followed the CHARECTER.

  7. seline says:

    It happens from the very beginning of our lives, that’s the way our character forms.a very good story.A good tree bears good fruit, and a bad tree bears bad..but one realize and change once attitude there is is the power from above helps .lets pray to the Holy spirit to guide each one

  8. Vickey says:

    That was a great lesson and if only one student took it to heart they all heard it and that’s all we need to be sure of. That everyone knows the difference, then they have a choice to make. We should all practice at being our best and surrounding ourselves with positive influences no matter what age we are and then make sure that people or children that are around us only get that which we also seek. Positivity!

  9. Seema says:

    Very positive story .Every child must read this and even if only 10% work on it there will be more good people around us.

  10. Olive Pereira says:

    Its so good I posted it on my Facebook Profile

  11. ruth says:

    Such a beautiful lesson for me even at age 40. I pray that I will surround myself with good people. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says that bad morals ruin good character

  12. chancy kamba says:

    that’s fantastic and i like it, when you ran away from the ‘pressure’ nothing changes, get away from the comfort zones!

  13. Sam O. says:

    The bad water can be replaced with clean water after squeezing out the dirty one. But it is more complicated when there is a water mix-up. God help me to me clean and keep me free from negative contermination in Jesus name

  14. Selina says:

    James is one teacher who knows his work, takes his students’ welfare at heart, and want to change them through practical teaching methods.
    How many teachers would be burdened by the moral degeneration going on now and be determined to work at it by instuucting his students as James did?
    Society needs more of such teachers, character developers and reformers, but how does the same society regard these teachers? That is food for thought.

  15. Selina says:

    James is one teacher who knows his work, takes his students’ welfare at heart, and want to change them through practical teaching methods.
    How many teachers would be burdened by the moral degeneration going on now and be determined to work at it by instructing his students as James did?
    Society needs more of such teachers, character developers and reformers, but how does the same society regard these teachers? That is food for thought.

  16. Shirley Howard says:

    This is a great story, I am truly impress with this
    lesson,it is a great lesson for children and adults
    all can learn from this,the teaching aid is great and
    can be understood by all.
    I am going to use this at my Women’s group at church
    and also pass it on to my sunday school teachers and
    to our youth group, wonderful story, thank you,thank you.

  17. Jim E says:

    At age 70 I am still developing my character. This is a life time process. A great lesson being taught by this teacher. I only hope that many of todays teachers are doing the same. When Damon responded that “characters are people in a story” made me realize that we are characters in ‘the story of life’. Every day we play a part in ‘the story’. There are many authors that contribute to ‘the story’. But we are the main character. There are many chapters that unfold through out our lives. And this is where we build on that character that we, hopefully, developed years ago. Maybe we need to teach sociology in high schools or start in the lower grades. This could be happening in schools now. I don’t know as I have not been in a classroom for many years. But seeing the behavior of teens and young adults today tells me it may be missing. We certainly can’t relie on many parents or guardians to talk about character to their children, ’cause they alone have not been introduced to this subject or in some cases do not even know what the word means. Am I talking like a cynic, possibility? We just got through an election and this brings the cyncism out of me. Keeping upbeat and a positive attitude is an ongoing practice that is the difference between a beautiful life and a so so lifestyle. God Bless

  18. RAYNELL FINN says:


  19. Thank you for emailing me that story.
    It makes you stop and think also, the dirty water
    could be, hanging out with worldy people,and learning
    their bad habits, and do bad things. The clear
    represent serving the Lord, and get motivated, in learning & doing good things, for the Lord, and people. We get saturated with whatever our choice of life is good or bad.


  20. Thank you very much for this story, it was very
    impressing. I will share it with others.

  21. DON says:

    This a truly motivating lesson -for all ages.Onward and upward we can all move ahead with the right attitude.

  22. Annemarie says:

    We are such lucky people- and reading something like this only let you relise how lucky you really are! We got such a amazing God that on your lowest He pick you up and all of a sudden everything is smiling at you!Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Cornel H. Candappa says:

    I would appreciate having the Web address of Dr.Anthony Fernando the author, please.Thank you.

  24. Gina says:

    Just one of many lessons in life that we all need to be consistently reminded of to make us better people for God. Great message :)

  25. Maggie says:

    Thank you for this lesson. It is a blessing to know that there are people who really are concerned about our youth and are trying to make a positive contribution in their lives. God bless!

  26. Jo Otero says:

    Simple but so true. We are as God made us but we develop by responding to the people He sends us. Never frown if you can smile and never curse if you can bless.

  27. Pam Ho says:

    So true!! Who we surround ourselves with molds who we become. And who we become affects all of those people around us.

  28. frank says:

    developing character is an act of God in faith. the HOLY SPIRIT works miraculously in us we just respond
    faithfully to accomplish His purpose to our lives.
    that’s what God is doing into my life.
    thanks for the lesson.

  29. frank says:

    may we have thise message and live with faith.

  30. pauline says:

    It is really a very good story.

  31. Rafa says:

    When we look at parenthood we provide either the clear water or the dark water to our kids which as sponge absorb everything not necessary understanding what is correct and what is wrong. The environment that we provide our kids, the love and truth they get from us will create a strong and firm character that will allow them to conciously take decisions in life.

  32. Good examplification, easy to remember ,free of cost,easy to communicate.Moral:What comes out of us when we are under pressure is our character.

  33. Nerida says:

    Wonderful lesson that should be taught both at home and in our schools. We also need to plant seeds that will give our children a solid foundation of love, understanding, trust, honesty and Godliness. These seeds will germinate and blossom bearing fruits that will create a harvest of peace and unity in our much-distressed world. By sharing this character story and lessons we have learned through similar anecdotes, we are healing the world from the inside out – one step, one person, or one group at a a time.


  34. Esther says:

    This was a powerful and awesome story that I will share with my daughters as well as my close friends.
    Thank you so much for sharing! :-)

  35. Ron says:

    It is a wonderful presentation of human nature where God is absent and where God is present. He can transform the character into his own image.
    Well done James to give thought, time and action not just to draw attention to the state of our society but did something rewarding about it.

  36. kulasanarciso says:

    I t was a very simple but realistic story which is manifested by a christian or a non christian alike. and we are not exempted of this.But the only thing that a person must know is that when we allow Jesus to rule our lives through the working of the Holy spirit, then I am sure that transformation will follow Romans 12 is the chapter that I think would help us understand the significance of the story.I think the sponge with the dark water can be cleanse by the clear water which is the working of the Word and the Holy Spirit. Thanks for the illustrations I have shared this to my workplace esp. re. attitudes.

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