Quotes for teens on life lessons

Quote on character- 'It's the sum of our small everyday choices that defines who we are

"It’s the sum of our small, everyday choices, that defines who we are."

-- Truth Be Told Quotes

Most of life is a series of little choices that add up to define the type of person you are. In a given moment, should you be honest or bend the truth? Throw shade or be respectful? Blow off your responsibilities or do what you say you’ll do?

The moments that define who you are usually aren’t all that glamorous. You don’t have to solve world hunger to make a worthy contribution (though it’d be cool if you did.) It’s enough to make tons of small choices that add up to being a good person.

Activities for this quote

Teaching resources

Bring this quote into your classroom with a lesson guide and activities that are ready to use.

Quote Overview / Description

Quote about Growing Up with Good Character

This quote about being someone of good character helps teens see that anyone can choose to be a good person. It’s all the small choices and acts that demonstrate good traits that make someone a person of good character. Most good people aren’t famous. Yet most good people make positive impacts on the lives of those around them. From a parent who raises a good kid, to a small-town hero who does something inspiringly selfless, there are people being a force for good everywhere.

Discussion questions / Writing Prompts

Questions to prompt discussion, journaling, essays for high school health class and social emotional development lessons:

  1. What makes a life well-lived? Do you need to have accomplished something big or achieve a certain level of success to have lived a good life?
  2. Which character traits make someone a good person? Is character defined by one act or a pattern of behavior? Do you have to be perfect to be a good person? (For help: List of good character traits and definitions)
  3. Who is someone who has been a positive influence on your life?
  4. When is a time you did something that demonstrated a good character trait? How did it feel?


Activities and worksheets for teen SEL / high school health and wellness lessons:

  1. Everyday Heroes- There are lots of every day heroes who aren't famous but have a big impact on people's lives. Using the resources below, discuss what makes someone an everyday hero? What are the traits they demonstrated? How does their story inspire you? (For help: List of good character traits and definitions)
  2. Good Character Journaling Page- Download a page with journaling / writing prompts on this good character quote. The journaling page can prompt self-awareness or it can be used with the Everyday Heroes activity above.

Coloring Pages

Download printable coloring pages for a mindfulness activity that features this quote.

  1. Classic coloring page
  2. You are the Sum of your Choices coloring page

Curriculum Topics

High School Health Class / Social Emotional Development Core Curriculum Alignment:

  • Healthy decision making and taking personal responsibility, results/consequences
  • Evaluating and reducing risk
  • Recognizing the connection between personal and family health
  • Self awareness
  • Goal setting


  • Many really “good” people, were never famous. You can have a positive impact in big and small ways.
  • Small choices add up to define a person’s character.

Character Traits/Values

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness
  • Caring

Alternate Images

Explore alternate images for this quote:
Quote for life on good choices defining good character

The quote and opening paragraph of this page are an excerpt from the Book, Truth Be Told Quotes: Teen Edition. Presented with permission from the author, Colleen Doyle Bryant. ©LoveWell Press. Find the print and ebook versions of Truth Be Told Quotes on the Shop page.

Buy the book

Colleen Doyle Bryant

Colleen Doyle Bryant is the author of five books and more than 50 learning resources about making good choices for the right reasons. Her Talking with Trees series for elementary students and Truth Be Told Quotes series for teens are used in curriculums around the world. Rooted in Decency, Colleen's latest release for an adult audience, explores what happened to common decency and how we can get to a place of more cooperation and kindness. Learn more at ColleenDoyleBryant.com.

You may also like: