Lecture Notes

Finding and Applying Principles in Various Genres

  1. Characteristics- identify a concept or theme and list it’s characteristics
  2. Quote- search a favorite quote for the principle that makes that quote meaningful to you
  3. Non-fiction- look at chapter headings and main ideas
  4. History- look for cycle and trends
  5. Art- look for principles lived and broken

Finding Principles in Literature or any story(biography, autobiography, short stories)

  • Identify a role, or broad life topic/area—relationships, marriage, or roles like husband, father. Consider Covey’s ‘roles’ in his day planner—he had you list each week what your roles were and then make plans to do something in those roles. Those roles represent general areas in which you can search for principles.
  • Look at the fruits. Ask yourself, “Is what’s happening in this characters life right or wrong? Good or bad? Are they getting the results I want? Why or why not?”
  • Identify the behavior they are consistently doing that is getting then that result.
  • Identify the ideas or beliefs upon which this behavior is based. What are the principles he is not living? What do we want him to do instead that we feel will fix the situation? Where is his behavior wrong or right? What is the opposite behavior that will give him different results? When the character is getting the results we want we ask what the behavior is and what is behind the behavior that is true for all people, all the time. Or, if the character is getting results we don’t want we ask what we feel they should do differently in order to get better results. What do we feel they are doing wrong? Or what is the opposite, correct behavior?
  • Remember: Roles, Fruits, Behaviors, Beliefs

Tools for Finding Principles in Life:

  1. Pain in your life or fantastic results
  2. Your Behavior
  3. Your Fruits
  4. Characteristics of a concept- service, trust
  5. Quotes or verses of scripture

Principle Checkpoints:

  1. God and/or Natural law
  2. Your central classic or scripture
  3. Conscience and common sense
  4. Your experience—long term
  5. The experience of others—long term—History

 Reading Recommendations

Begin finding principles as you read: Compare the highlighted principles in these books with the 12 Characteristics of True Principles-

  1. The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen
  2. Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki
  3. The Price of Freedom by Calvin Coolidge

Practice the exercise from the lecture: Compare the role of fatherhood in the following books-

  1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Laddie by Gene Stratton-Porter


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