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Laws of Life Writing Program FAQ’s

Made possible by a grant from The School for Ethical Education

Dr. Debra Cohen

Dr. Debra Cohen

John Winthrop Wright
Director of Ethical Education


I hope you will reach out to me with any questions about our Laws of Life writing program. I can be reached at debra@character.org.

When is the next submission deadline?

The deadline is TBD at this time.

Do all essay writers get recognized?

All essay writers will be recognized by Character.org. We will also recognize the most compelling essays and feature them on our website and social media channels.

The most compelling entries will be recognized in the following categories:

Individual States in the U.S.A.
• 5 essays from Middle School students
• 5 essays from High School students

Individual Nations (outside the United States)
• 5 essays from Middle School students
• 5 essays from High School students

• 5 essays from Middle School students
• 5 essays from High School students

What are the judges looking for in the essays they read?
It’s important for your work to focus on these areas:

When you create your essay we encourage you to write “from your heart.” Share with the reader why the core value you are writing about is important to you. Is there a particular story or situation when you realized why this core value is so important to you? Why do you think everyone should practice this core value? We also encourage you to explain the ways in which this core value will remain a part of your identity wherever you go and whatever you do in life.

The essay is easy to read and is clearly written. The reader can tell exactly what the author was trying to communicate. The ideas and paragraphs flow smoothly in the essay.

Grammar and Spelling
The essay has been edited for grammar and spelling.

Tips for Teachers: Benefits of Writing a Laws of Life Essay

• Motivates students to reflect and “write from the heart” to produce excellent narratives
• Highlights these core values as aspirational goals to share with peers, ​teachers, parents and others
• Encourages students of all writing abilities to participate
• Integrates the writing process with effective character education
• Provides schools a positive opportunity to recognize students’ values and promote community
• Prepares students for the writing process on standardized tests

Tips for Teachers: Writing Prompts

The following writing prompts can help students in a pre-writing phase to identify their topic for a Laws of Life essay. At the heart of this writing program is the student’s reflection on why this core value is foundational to them and to their personal experience in life – writing from the heart.

Whatever the writing catalyst may be, the greatest benefit of the Laws of Life process is obtained when students have the opportunity to complete a full writing process (outlining, drafting, peer/family review, editing, publishing).

• Think of a family member or a friend whom you admire. What core value does that person demonstrate?
• Describe a personal experience that has helped you develop a particular core value.
• Describe a time in your life when someone has helped you. How has this made you aware of a particular core value?
• What is one core value that you would like to develop to become a better person?
• When you become a parent, what one core value will you teach your children?
• Imagine that you have lived a long and meaningful life. As you look back on your life, what is it that you are most proud of? What core value did you demonstrate?
• Describe the character of a positive role model in history or literature and how one core value helped them to be successful.

Submission Information (Length, Format, etc.)

• Deadline: TBD
• Length: 250 words minimum; 500 words maximum
• If a student requires an accommodation and cannot submit an essay with a minimum of 250 words, please email us at lawsoflife@character.org.

• All entries should be type-written and double-spaced.
• All entries should be in an easily legible font such as Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman and not smaller than 10-point font size.
• All entries must be submitted as a PDF file.
• If a student wishes to submit an essay in a language other than English, please email us at lawsoflife@character.org.
• If a student requires an accommodation and cannot submit a type-written essay, please email us at lawsoflife@character.org.

File Name: Name your file firstname-lastname.pdf

• All submissions will be accepted via the online form.
• After you submit your work, you will receive a confirmation email receipt to print for your records.
• If you require proof of submission, print or otherwise save a copy of the confirmation email you receive.
• Submit your work by the deadline.