click X in upper right corner to close this window -->
January 2005 Character Quality - Orderliness
the following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
A horrific crash was heard at an intersection in downtown Cleveland.  A young businessman and
inventor in the 1920’s watched as the new automobile collided sharply with a horse-drawn
carriage.  Many people were hurt, the horse injured, and disorder reigned.  Garret Augustus
Morgan turned away after the accident and slowly walked to his office.  There had to be a better
way for the ever-growing traffic to move more smoothly without as many accidents.  Back at his
office, Garret invented something that would benefit millions of people for years and years.  He
designed a traffic signal that enabled organization at busy intersections and lessened the risk of
collisions.  An officer controlled a crank at the side of a tall pole, and on the top, a pair of arms
were attached.  One arm said stop and the other, go.  When one side was raised, north-south
traffic could pass while east-west traffic waited, and the opposite applied when the other side
was raised.  This was the world’s first “Stop” and “Go” green light and red light.  Because Garret
Morgan saw the need for orderliness that morning in Cleveland and did something about it, the
United States government honored him with a citation for his invention.  The designs have
changed since 1923, but the same principle still applies today.  

What does orderliness have to do with our everyday life?  Quite a bit, if we think about it.  
Orderliness is “carefully managing my resources so I can freely give to those in need”.  A recent
poll shows the average person wastes over 150 hours a year looking for something.  Disorder
causes frustration, leads to inefficiency, and disappointment.

We can change that by watching what we do, where we put items, and always finding a place for
everything and putting everything in its place.  When we efficiently put an area into place, our
next duty is to keep it there.  Benjamin Franklin once said this about this subject: “If you want to
enjoy the greatest luxuries in life – the luxury of having enough time – remember there is only
one way.  Take enough time to think and plan things in the order of their importance.  Your life
will take on a new zest.  You will add years to your life and more life to your years.  Let all your
things have their places, let each part of our business have its time.”

There are five simple steps to building orderliness.  Set priorities.  What would happen if a
computer that had important information failed to get backed up and suddenly, it crashes?  Little
things like that only take a moment, but may save hours.  Set standards for yourself.  Avoid
clutter - pick up after a project is completed.  Design and implement standard procedures.
Return lost items to their rightful place.  Organizing your life is great stress relief.  Carrying out
these simple suggestions will save many hours, and maybe days of frustration and wasted time.  
The chipmunk is a very small animal, yet it is by far the most orderly.  On one trip to and from its
burrow, a chipmunk can organize its find so well; it can fit as many as 65 sunflower seeds into its
mouth.  The chipmunk knows the importance of eliminating clutter, getting to its destination, and
staying at its routines until it is done.  Its life depends on it.  Our lives may not depend on our
being orderly, but it certainly would make life easier!

Will Durant said, “In my youth, I stressed freedom, and in my old age, I stress order.  I have
made the great discovery that liberty is the product of order.”  Let us remember this great quality
of orderliness and practice it daily.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials.  For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact:  Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at
Return to Top