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CHARACTER COUNTS!

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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Mon 28 Apr 2014, 8:14 pm

Live Backwards

  By Michael Josephson, Character Counts (347:5) 

Ben's very first duty as a new pastor was to conduct a
funeral service for Albert, a man who died in his
eighties. Since he didn't know the deceased personally,
Ben paused from his sermon to invite members of the
congregation to say a few kind words about Albert. 

No one budged. So Ben said, "Many of you knew Albert
for years. Surely someone can say something nice." 

After an uncomfortable pause, a voice from the back of
the room said, "Well, his brother was worse."

If you died tomorrow, what would people say about you?
Would it make you proud of the way you lived and the
choices you made? 

There's an old saying: "If you want to know how to live
your life, think about what you'd like people to say
about you after you die ... and live backwards." 

Thinking about the legacy we want to leave can help us
keep our priorities straight. When the end is near,
it's not likely that any of us will say, "I wish I
would have spent more time at the office." 

Unfortunately, many of us only begin to realize the
value of the time we have after we have frittered much
of it away in shallow ruts going nowhere important.

It's hard to think now what will really matter later.
But doing so dramatically improves our chances of
living a full and meaningful life with few regrets. 

Knowing how we want to be remembered allows us to make
a sort of strategic plan for our lives. And how much
wiser would our choices be if we had the wisdom and
discipline to regularly ask ourselves whether all the
things we do and say are taking us where we want to be
at the end? In a sense, we write our own eulogies by
the choices we make everyday every day. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 10 Nov 2013, 10:53 pm

"Mommy, Do You Think She Speaks Love?"

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS! (418.4)

Lots of parents are filled with pride when they talk
about how bright, beautiful and/or talented their
children are. I'm certainly no different. I look for
every chance to show pictures of my kids and regale my
captive listeners with anecdotes of their charm and
cleverness. 

Years ago, a proud mom named Gail Silvers wrote to tell
me about another quality in her adopted six-year-old
son Kyle--his loving heart. Apparently, Kyle has a sort
of poetry of love and kindness in his blood. When he
was five, he told his mom, "When I kiss you, it means
that my heart is going into my lips to tell you how
much I love you." 

She told me of the time when she and Kyle were on their
way home after a five-hour stint with Meals on Wheels,
and they stopped to render aid to a woman whose car had
broken down and was parked on the side of the road. In
her car were three children, including a two-year-old
baby. 

Kyle was curious and when his mom told him the family
needed some help, he replied, "There's a baby in the
car who's scared because their car is broken. I have to
talk to her." When Gail told him the little girl didn't
speak English, he said, "Mommy, do you think she speaks
love?" 

Kyle went to the baby, talked quietly, hugged her and
kissed her cheek. Then he decided to entertain the
two-year-old with a 10-minute slapstick routine that
even took Gail by surprise. As the baby and everyone
else laughed, it was clear that Kyle's instincts were
right. The baby knew how to speak love, a universal
language we all ought to speak more often.

  This is Michael Josephson reminding you that
character counts. 

(c) 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 10:42 pm

The Purpose of Work 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (269.1)

Obviously, the most fundamental purpose of work is to
attain adequate food and shelter. But once the
essentials of survival are taken care of, attitudes
about work differ.

Those who simply view work as a means of survival or
attaining wealth do just what they have to do to meet
their needs. People with high material ambitions may
work extremely hard, sacrificing relationships and
other life goals in the process. Their work is simply a
means to an end. Such people are apt to stay in jobs
they don't like in the hope it will buy them happiness
in another venue.

Others consider their work as an intrinsic part of
their lives. They identify with their jobs and the way
they do their work is an expression of their
personhood. Whether they like their jobs or not, they
take pride in their work and strive toward virtues like
conscientiousness, reliability, devotion and the
pursuit of excellence.

The most fortunate of all are those that find both
meaning and pleasure in their labor. They view their
jobs as careers. The great test of the perfect job is:
If you could afford to, would you do it even if you
weren't paid? Interestingly, the people most likely to
say yes are teachers, coaches, police officers, social
workers and others who derive joy and meaning out of
serving others.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 27 Oct 2013, 5:37 pm

Responsibility 

It's been said that the line between childhood and
adulthood is crossed when we move from saying, "It got
lost" to "I lost it." Indeed, being accountable, and
understanding and accepting the role our choices play
in the things that happen, are crucial signs of
emotional and moral maturity. That's why responsibility
is one of the main pillars of good character.

  -- Michael Josephson
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 22 Sep 2013, 8:24 pm

Tips for Better Living

Rise and pray every day: "Again today, dear God, I
commit and trust my life and way to you. I'm available.
Please use me to be 'as Jesus' to every life I touch."

Don't sweat the small stuff. 

Remember these simple sentences: "I was wrong." "I am
sorry." "Please forgive me." "Thank you." Say them
whenever needed and say, "I love you" often--whether
needed or not.

Come apart and rest a while before you come
apart--stress is a killer.

Remember, "Nothing changes if nothing changes."

Don't nurse grudges: "Failing to forgive is like
drinking poison and waiting for the other person to
die."

Carpe diem. Seize the day. "Opportunity comes to
pass--not to pause."

Quit the blame-game: "It's choice, not chance, that
determines destiny."

Control your thinking or your thinking will control
you. "What the mind dwells on the body acts on."

Invest your life in a worthwhile cause by having a
noble purpose for which to live--one that is bigger
than yourself--one that will help make your world a
better place in which to live.

Be a positive realist. You will always see what you are
looking for: "Two men look out the same prison bars.
One sees mud, the other stars."

"The greatest abilities are availability, dependability
and responsibility."

"There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience."

"Smooth seas never make skillful sailors."

When God is silent: "I believe in the sun even when it
isn't shining. I believe in love even when I am alone.
I believe in God even when he is silent." 

Cry when needed. "Every unshed tear is a prism through
which all of life's hurts are distorted."

Laugh a lot. It's still the best medicine. 

Remember, "The bumps are what we climb on."

Fear not. At least 95 percent of the things we fear
never happen. Trust God for the other five percent.

Have faith and put God first with your time, talents
and tithe. 

"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and
enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he
will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your
way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He
will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the
justice of your cause like the noonday sun" (Psalm
37:3-6, NIV). 

Compiled by Dick Innes, (c) Copyright by ACTS
International
A beautifully presented printed copy of "Tips for
Better Living" and other poems are available and can be
purchased on the ACTS online store at:
http://actscom.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=15


What Will Matter ... in the Long Run

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (390.3) 

It's [never too early] to rethink and possibly
reshuffle our priorities so that we spend more time
living the kind of life we and those who love us would
be proud of. This poem called, "What Will Matter," may
provide a useful guide:

What Will Matter 
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or
days. All the things you collected, whether treasured
or forgotten, will pass to someone else. Your wealth,
fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It
will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies
will finally disappear.

So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists
will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so
important will fade away. It won't matter where you
came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at
the end. It won't matter whether you were beautiful or
brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be
irrelevant. 

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be
measured? 

What will matter is not what you bought but what you
built, not what you got but what you gave. What will
matter is not your success but your significance. What
will matter is not what you learned but what you
taught. What will matter is every act of integrity,
compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched,
empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence but your
character. What will matter is not how many people you
knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're
gone. What will matter is not your memories but the
memories that live in those who loved you. What will
matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and
for what. Living a life that matters doesn't happen by
accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of
choice. Choose to live a life that matters. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2003 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 25 Aug 2013, 11:02 pm

Building Your Life

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (435.1) 

After 30 years of building houses for Ben, a prominent
land developer, Sam announced that he wanted to retire,
buy some land of his own, and build a small home for
himself and his wife. Sam had hoped for a large bonus
for all his years of service, but instead, Ben asked
Sam if he would just build one more house. He gave Sam
plans for a lovely home located on a choice piece of
land with a magnificent view. "It was for a very
important person," Ben said, and he urged Sam to do his
best work.

Because Sam was resentful, his heart was not in the
project and his work was shoddy. He ignored
architectural details and he even substituted inferior
materials so he could pocket the difference.

When the house was finished, there was a big
celebration, and Ben gave Sam an envelope as a parting
gift. At last! The bonus, Sam thought.

But there was no check in the envelope. Instead, it
included a key and a note: "For everything you've done,
the house is yours."

Sam was ashamed and embarrassed. He not only misjudged
Ben; he betrayed his professionalism by building an
inferior home, a home that turned out to be his own.

Through our daily actions we all build the houses we
will ultimately live in. Careless decisions and
neglected relationships, lies and insincerity are the
shoddy workmanship and inferior materials of
life-building. Whenever we take shortcuts to get us
through the days, we shortchange ourselves for years.
Whenever we put in less than our best and ignore our
potential for excellence, we create a future full of
creaky floors, leaky roofs and crumbling foundations.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2006 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 04 Aug 2013, 9:04 pm

I Know Now 

By Michael Josephson. Characer Counts, 387.4
(Written several years ago).

Tomorrow I turn 62. And it just doesn't feel right. It
seems like yesterday when I was the young rebel with
potential. I know I should say wise and soothing
things, but despite upbeat rhetoric about the
advantages of advanced age, it's really the pits to
observe my body deteriorate and see how old my friends
look. And I hate realizing how much I have forgotten.

But enough lamenting--or is it whining? I may not be
smarter, but I am wiser.

I know that everything changes--including me.

I know that my dad was right when he told me that
"where there's a will there's a way."

I know it's really dumb to carry a grudge and really
hard to give one up.

I know now that the things I like to do least are often
the things that need to be done 
most.

I know it's easier to give advice than to take it.

And I know now that neither the intensity of my
feelings nor the certainty of my convictions is any
assurance that I'm right.

I know that until I translate my thoughts into actions,
my great ideas and good intentions are like unlit
candles.

I know kindness is more important than cleverness.

I know now that it's not a sin to have an unexpressed
thought and that there really are things that are
better left unsaid.

I know it's a lot easier to tear down than to build up.

And I know now that some people will just never like
me.

I know that there's a big difference between what I
have a right to do and what is right to do.

And I know now that whether I like it or not I'll keep
getting older--until I don't. And that's a lot worse.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2004 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 07 Jul 2013, 9:40 pm

Lying Is Like Reckless Driving

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (775.3) 

Sometimes lying makes our lives easier. If you want the
day off, just call in sick. If your boss asks if you've
finished a report, say you left it at home. And if an
irate customer calls, just make up a good cover-up
story. Sure, "technically" these are lies, but since no
one is hurt, what's the big deal?

We tell ourselves that these sorts of lies are
harmless. But are they really? Telling lies is like
drunk driving. If we're lucky, we won't get caught and
no one will get hurt. Still, drunk driving is wrong
because it's irresponsible to recklessly endanger human
life. Most lies are wrong because they recklessly
endanger human relationships. What's more, lies are
habit forming. The more lies we tell, the easier it
becomes, so we tell more lies.

Self-serving lies that help us get out of a jam or look
better are like land mines. Many of them may lie
dormant but, sooner or later, some of them will
explode, damaging both credibility and reputation. The
ethical duty to be worthy of trust does not bend to our
needs, convenience or desire to avoid unpleasant
consequences. Besides being dishonest, lying is
disrespectful because it deprives the victim of true
information needed to make sensible decisions.

Lies damage personal and business relationships because
they generate suspicion and distrust. Once lied to,
most people think, "What else will he lie to me about?"
This is not a healthy basis for any relationship.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sat 22 Jun 2013, 9:19 pm

Too Poor to Give
By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (784.5) 

When Teresa, a widow with four young children, saw a
notice that members of her church would gather to
deliver presents and food to a needy family, she took
$10 out of her savings jar and bought the ingredients
to make three dozen cookies. She got to the church
parking lot just in time to join a convoy going to the
home that was to receive the congregation's help. 

The route was familiar, and she was stunned when the
cars pulled up in front of her house. When the pastor
saw her, he said, "We never expected you to join us,
Teresa. We know it's been a great struggle since your
husband died, and we all wanted to support you." 

Although she was uncomfortable being thought of as the
object of charity, Teresa didn't want to embarrass
anyone so she cheerfully said, "Well, at least I can
share these cookies with our friends." 

This parable teaches us that no one is too poor to
[help in some way] and that true charity is rooted in
love and compassion. Poverty of spirit is worse than
economic distress. Teresa's story reminds us that very
few of us give as much as we could and should. 

My friend, Larry Rosen, president of the YMCA of
Metropolitan Los Angeles, introduced me to the concept
of "sacrificial giving"--giving in abundance to a point
where one must sacrifice something one desires. 

You can start out easy. Take whatever amount you were
thinking of giving to charity, then double it. If
that's too much, increase it by 50 percent instead. The
idea is to stretch yourself. It will mean a lot to
those you help, but it will mean as much to your heart.


This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sat 15 Jun 2013, 9:35 pm

Ask What Can You Do for Your Country
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (801.2) 

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy invoked my
generation to "Ask not what your country can do for
you--ask what you can do for your country."

We are fortunate to live in a free and democratic
society where millions of civilians and soldiers serve
their fellow citizens. [Let us not only remember these
men and women on Veteran's Day, but every day of the
year], and honor and express gratitude to the millions
of living military veterans and thousands of active
duty men and women who have or are serving our country.

In 1995, an Air Force pilot named Scott O'Grady was
shot down during a flight mission over Bosnia. He was
rescued by helicopter after surviving six days being
hunted by hostile ground troops. Though given a hero's
welcome he insisted he was no hero and that he wanted
no honors.

In explaining his position rejecting special
recognition, he said, "[It] is your depth of
commitment, your quality of service, the product of
your devotion---these are the things that count in a
life. When you give purely, the honor comes in the
giving, and that is honor enough." 

Other great men have told us of the true rewards of
service. Albert Schweitzer said, "I don't know what
your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only
ones among you who will be really happy are those who
have sought and found how to serve." Walter Reuther, a
leader of the labor movement, echoed the sentiment this
way: "There is no greater calling than to serve your
fellow men. There is no greater satisfaction than to
have done it well."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 05 May 2013, 9:11 pm

Curing Victimitis

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (796.5)

Watch your thoughts; they lead to attitudes.
Watch your attitudes; they lead to words.
Watch your words; they lead to actions.
Watch your actions; they lead to habits.
Watch your habits; they form your character.
Watch your character; it determines your destiny.

These words of unknown origin tell us that our silent
and often subconscious choices shape our future. Every
aspect of our lives, at home and at work, can be
improved if we use our power to think, reflect, and
make conscious choices about our thoughts, attitudes,
words, actions, and habits.

Instead, many of us think of ourselves as victims. We
complain about our circumstances and what others did to
us. Whatever psychological comfort there is in feeling
powerless and blameless when things aren't going right,
victims lead unsatisfied lives in the end.

We're most vulnerable to victimitis when we're under
the influence of powerful emotions like fear,
insecurity, anger, frustration, grief and depression.
These feelings can be so overwhelming that we believe
our state of mind is inevitable. Our only hope is that
they'll go away on their own. Yet it's during times of
emotional tumult that using our power to choose our
thoughts and attitudes is most important. We can't make
pain go away, but we can refuse to suffer.

Even when we don't like any of our choices, we do have
some--once we realize we can take control. It isn't
easy, but what we do and how we choose to feel about
ourselves can have a profound impact on the quality of
our lives. Victims may get sympathy for a while, but
that isn't nearly enough.

Taking personal responsibility for our happiness and
success can be scary, but the payoff is enormous.
Although we can't make our lives perfect, we can make
them better--usually a lot better.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 31 Mar 2013, 11:39 pm

My Dad Sam Burke

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (791.4)

Ann's father, Sam Burke, was in the last stages of
cancer, and his needs had gone beyond what she could
provide at home. She was distraught at the thought of
placing him in a convalescent home.

The check-in process confirmed her worst fears.
Administrators, nurses, and doctors who seemed
bothered, bored, or burned out quickly transformed Sam
Burke into just another patient.

Driving home with tears in her eyes, she remembered
when she told her dad that she hated her dorm during
her first year of college. "Never accept the
unacceptable," he had told her. "There's nothing you
can't make better if you put your mind to it."

Determined to make his last days better, Ann got the
names of every person at the convalescent home who
might work with her father and delivered a personally
addressed envelope to each of them. It contained a note
and pictures of her dad getting married, posing with
his children, and in military uniform. The note said,
"This is my dad, Sam Burke; a good and proud man who
fought for his country and worked hard for his family.
I know you will treat him with kindness and dignity. I
am very grateful."

During her next few visits, she made sure to introduce
her father to everyone: "This is my dad, Sam Burke."
Soon, the looks of suspicion disappeared, and the staff
returned her smiles and personally greeted Sam. Each
time they did, Sam squeezed Ann's hand.

When he died months later, Ann received a card signed
by the entire staff: "Thanks for entrusting us with
your dad, Sam, and for reminding us why we do what we
do. He must have been a great father because you sure
are a great daughter."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 24 Mar 2013, 10:22 pm

What I Know About Life
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (787.3)
The older I get the less I know, but I know some
things:

I know that I'm a work in process and that there will
always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be.

I know that I don't have to be sick to get better and
that every day brings opportunities to improve my life
and my character.

I know that it's easier to talk about integrity than to
live it, and that the true test is my willingness to do
the right thing even when it costs more than I want to
pay.

I know that character is more important than
competence.

I know that it takes years to build up trust, and only
seconds to destroy it.

I know that I often judge myself by my best intentions
and most noble acts, but that I'll be judged by my last
worst act.

I know that I can't control what will happen to me, but
that I have a lot to say about what happens in me.

I know that pain is inevitable, but suffering is
optional.

I know that attitudes, both good and bad, are
contagious.

I know that winning is more than coming in first and
that there's no real victory without honor.

I know that it takes a conscientious effort to be kind,
but that kindness changes lives.

I know that neither gratitude nor forgiveness comes
naturally; both often require acts of the will.

I know that real success is being significant.

I know that happiness is deeper and more enduring than
either pleasure or fun and that I'm generally as happy
as I'm willing to be.

I know that the surest road to happiness is good
relationships and that the best way to have good
relationships is to be a good person.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.
(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 10 Mar 2013, 11:49 pm


Bridge Builder
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (788.2)

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Life's most persistent
and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for
others?'" In a world increasingly dominated by
unapologetic selfishness, this idea may seem quaint and
outdated. Yet, for those who have a grand vision of
their purpose and value, striving to be of service is
not only a noble thing to do, it's the best way to lead
a truly fulfilling and significant life.

Poet William Allen Dromgoole put it this way:

An old man going a lone highway
Came at the evening, cold and grey,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a swollen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim.
That swollen stream held no fears for him,
But he paused when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You're wasting strength with building here.
Your journey ends with the ending day.
You never again must pass this way.
You've crossed this chasm deep and wide.
Why build this bridge at the even' tide?"
The builder lifted his old grey head,
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
"This swollen stream that was naught for me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He too must cross in the twilight dim.
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you to build
bridges for others because character counts.

(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 24 Feb 2013, 8:25 pm

The Purpose of Work

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (269.1)

Obviously, the most fundamental purpose of work is to
attain adequate food and shelter. But once the
essentials of survival are taken care of, attitudes
about work differ.

Those who simply view work as a means of survival or
attaining wealth do just what they have to do to meet
their needs. People with high material ambitions may
work extremely hard, sacrificing relationships and
other life goals in the process. Their work is simply a
means to an end. Such people are apt to stay in jobs
they don't like in the hope it will buy them happiness
in another venue.

Others consider their work as an intrinsic part of
their lives. They identify with their jobs, and the way
they do their work is an expression of their
personhood. Whether they like their jobs or not, they
take pride in their work and strive toward virtues like
conscientiousness, reliability, devotion and the
pursuit of excellence.

The most fortunate of all are those that find both
meaning and pleasure in their labor. They view their
jobs as careers. The great test of the perfect job is:
If you could afford to, would you do it even if you
weren't paid? Interestingly, the people most likely to
say yes are teachers, coaches, police officers, social
workers and others who derive joy and meaning out of
serving others.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 03 Feb 2013, 7:26 pm

What You Do Is What You'll Get

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (784.1)

If you want to help your children do well in life,
there are a few things you can do. A high proportion of
high achievers had two things in common:

First, there were lots of books in their homes and a
great emphasis on reading; second, there was a family
tradition of regularly eating dinner together.

Filling a house with books surrounds children with
endless and varied opportunities and challenges to
explore and learn. Books provide knowledge and the
seeds of wisdom and great stories teach about morality
and character.

Eating dinner together assures that parents have an
opportunity to participate in their kids' day-to-day
lives and help shape the way they think and react.
Coordinating schedules so that the family eats together
often requires a conscious effort to elevate family
time above other things, and the effort itself instills
in children a sense of belonging.

But we can do more than promote reading and family
discussions to offset all the bad influences our kids
are exposed to. Remember, everything we do to, or in
front of, our children matters; what we allow, what we
encourage, and what we do ourselves teaches our
children how to live and conveys powerful messages
about values.

So, be sensitive as to what you say and how you say it,
what you read and what you watch on TV. Be especially
careful in the way you handle relationships and deal
with emotions like disappointment, anger and
frustration because what you do is what you'll get.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Mon 28 Jan 2013, 12:00 am

The Truth About Trust

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (780.5)

Everyone seems to understand the importance of trust.
No one seems to doubt the vital role that it plays in
personal relationships, business and politics. We want
to trust the people in our lives and we want them to
trust us.

Trust is so hard to earn and so easy to lose. So why do
so many trust seekers resort to short-sighted,
seemingly instinctive, self-aggrandizing, or
self-protective strategies that are bound to damage or
destroy this precious asset?

Perhaps no group is more at risk than politicians who
explicitly ask us to trust them. History has proven
over and over again how futile and self-defeating it is
for a person in the media's crosshairs to try to
protect an uncomfortable truth with a bodyguard of lies
and obfuscations.

[A certain politician], an intelligent, dynamic man
whose unexpected soaring popularity as candidate for
the Republican presidential nomination was based
largely on the image he projected as a straight-talker,
is the most recent victim of this foolish strategy.

Instead of confronting directly and honestly the facts
surrounding allegations of improper conduct, he
discredited himself with unsustainable denials and
unpersuasive verbal hair splitting.

However damaging the underlying allegations are,
insincere, implausible and unbelievable claims and
explanations only make things worse---much worse. When
will politicians (and the rest of us) learn the simple
maxim: When you are in a hole, stop digging?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sat 05 Jan 2013, 2:39 am

Kids Like to Win ... Adults Need to Win

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Not everyone likes sports. Many think it's a waste of
time or, at best, the toy department of life. Yet,
regardless of your personal views, it's unwise to
underestimate the influence sports have on the quality
and character of the American culture. The values of
millions of participants and spectators, including
their views on what is permissible and proper in the
competitive pursuit of all sorts of personal goals, are
shaped by the values conveyed in sports.

This was part of my message to more than 100 league
presidents of the American Softball Association of
Southern California, serving tens of thousands of young
girls who learn about themselves and life playing
softball.

I know volunteer administrators have great
responsibility and opportunity but limited authority
and meager resources. Yet all youth sports programs can
have a greater positive impact if they have the courage
and integrity to pursue a child-centered mission: give
kids a safe environment in which they have fun, build
character, learn to practice sportsmanship and develop
skills and traits that help them become responsible
citizens and live happy, healthy lives.

Striving to win is an important aspect of competition
but youth sports is not primarily about winning; it's
about learning through effort and improvement. You see,
kids like to win; but it's the adults who distort the
experience because of their need to win. The fact is,
with positive coaching, all the values of sport,
including enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment, can
be derived from the passionate pursuit of victory,
regardless of the outcome.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2004 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Mon 24 Dec 2012, 12:06 pm

What I've Learned: The Perspective from
13-Year-Olds

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (423.5)

A few years ago I got a note from Sam Rangel, an
eighth-grade teacher in Corona, California. He
distributed some of my commentaries on "What I've
Learned" to his students and asked them to write down
what they'd learned over the past year or in their
lives. Here's the world of growing wisdom from the
13-year-old perspective:

I've learned that work comes first; fool around later.

I've learned that being popular isn't everything.

I've learned that being pretty on the inside is better
than being pretty on the outside.

I've learned that not everything in life is fair.

I've learned that all people want is someone to listen
to them.

I've learned that girls seem to fight with their
friends a lot, but almost never with their enemies.

I've learned that it takes a long time to make a
friendship and a fraction of a second to destroy it.

I've learned that your imagination is as important as
your knowledge.

I've learned that to say no to someone is not wrong.

I've learned that by following others, you aren't
following yourself.

I've learned that the harder it is to do something, the
stronger it makes us.

I've learned that I am responsible for me.

I've learned to give everybody a second chance.

I've learned that teenagers will do dumb things.

I've learned that if you respect your elders, they will
respect you, too.

I've learned that words do hurt people more than sticks
and stones.

I've learned that when I come to a fork in the road,
ask for help.

I've learned that the easy way is not the best way.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Mon 17 Dec 2012, 2:43 am

If It's Broken, Try to Fix It

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (344.2)

Former president Jimmy Carter was 70 years old when he
wrote this poem about his father:

This is a pain I mostly hide,
But ties of blood or seed endure,
And even now I feel inside
The hunger for his outstretched hand,
A man's embrace to take me in,
The need for just a word of praise.

Isn't it extraordinary that even after a life of
monumental achievements, Mr. Carter still feels pain
when he thinks of his father, who either could not feel
or would not express love and approval. Unfortunately,
there are lots of people in Mr. Carter's shoes, left
with bitter feelings and enduring wounds inflicted by
their parents.

Yet not all bad parents are bad people. Caring parents
can unintentionally injure children through excessive
harshness or permissiveness or through well-intended
criticism and advice that comes out as relentless
disapproval or oppressive negativity. Kids not only
need to know they're loved, they need to feel worthy of
our love. They need to be valued not simply because
they're ours, but because of who they are.

It's never too late to try to fix whatever is broken:
Consider expressing caring, pride and approval more
lavishly and often.
Be less critical, more helpful, less controlling.
Set aside your need to be right. Be less self-righteous
and more respectful toward the people you love.
Be sincerely accountable and genuinely apologize, even
if whatever you do may not be enough.

It's not always possible to fix things that are broken,
but it's worth a try. This is Michael Josephson
reminding you that character counts.

(c) 2005 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 7:55 pm

Eight Laws of Leadership

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (678.2)

Take a look around: Business, education, politics. If
there's one thing we don't have enough of, it's good
leaders--men and women who have the vision and the
ability to change things for the better.

Former Air Force General William Cohen wrote a fine
book called The Stuff of Heroes in which he identified
eight laws of leadership. Here are his rules:

1. Maintain absolute integrity.
2. Know your stuff.
3. Declare your expectations.
4. Show uncommon commitment.
5. Expect positive results.
6. Take care of your people.
7. Put duty before self.
8. Get out in front.

His laws embrace important competencies like knowledge,
communication skills, commitment, optimism, caring, and
a powerful sense of duty. But General Cohen also
recognized that the foundation of a successful leader
is character, including trustworthiness, honor, and
courage.

The best leaders draw on these moral qualities to
influence others through inspiration, persuasion,
trust, and loyalty. They do the right thing despite the
costs and risks, and do it not because it will yield
approval or advantage, but because it's the right
thing.

In these cynical times, it's easy to think such
leadership is unattainable; yet in every walk of life
there are hundreds of men and women--parents, teachers,
coaches, civic activists--who fit this mold. What's
more important, every one of us could be among them.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 18 Nov 2012, 5:26 pm

How Much Do You Want It To Be?
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (685.2)

The founder of a company needed to choose his
successor. He studied resumes and talked to references,
but he decided to ask only one question during the
final interview: "How much is 2 + 2?"

Ann, the first candidate, worried that there was a
trick but she answered straightforwardly. "There's only
one correct answer: it's four."

Terry, who had an engineering background, was more
creative. "Depending on whether you're dealing with
positive or negative numbers," he said, "the answer
could be plus four, zero, or minus four."

Chuck, the last candidate, looked the questioner in the
eye and whispered, "How much do you want it to be?"

While Ann and Terry took different approaches, they
were both looking for an honest answer. Chuck, on the
other hand, wanted the questioner to know that he was
willing to say or do whatever it takes to succeed. Some
employers may find this combination of creativity and
moral flexibility highly attractive. I'd show him the
door.

You see, Chuck is a manipulator and rationalizer, and
they don't make good employees. They search for excuses
rather than solutions, and they are more concerned with
looking good than doing it right.

People like Chuck, who are adept at inventing
justifications that sound good but aren't true, are
simply clever liars and, eventually, they will be found
out. Remember, an employee that will lie for you will
lie to you.

Without conscience there is no credibility(Wink without
credibility there is no trust(Wink and without trust
there is no future.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 11:41 pm

Cheerfulness: A Conscious Act of Kindness
By Josephson Institute (761.5)

My mother died of cancer when I was 18. The disease
was detected a year earlier during her pregnancy with
her sixth child. On the day she delivered, both
breasts were removed.

During her illness, our household became increasingly
gloomy. It's hard to watch someone you love get sicker
and sicker. But my mom was always a pleasure to be
with, and she struggled to remain so(,) despite her
deteriorating condition. She'd joke, tell stories of
better times, and laugh in an effort to cheer us up.
But it never worked. We hung onto our despair as if we
had to be visibly miserable to prove we loved her.

I didn't appreciate then how difficult it must have
been for her. In such situations, cheerfulness is
neither natural nor easy. It requires a willful act of
selfless courage. She was sick, but she wanted us to
feel better.

In my lifetime I've known only a few people like my
mom, people so strong and caring that, for our sakes
as well as their own, they refuse to surrender to
grief or fear. Rather than indulge themselves in
self-pity or bask in the sympathy of others, they make
a conscious choice to spread good cheer rather than
gloom.

I now realize that our choice to spend our last months
with my mom in a constant state of solemn sadness was
unkind. She hated seeing us unhappy, and she felt
guilty.

I wish we had been strong enough and wise enough to be
more cheerful.

I wish we had spent every moment with her aggressively
enjoying the time we had.

I wish we had thought more about her happiness than
our unhappiness.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 21 Oct 2012, 6:40 pm

Establishing a Culture of Kindness

By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (770.2)

Though intensive media attention to bullying has died
down, the problem persists in many forms, and it
continues to diminish the lives of tens of thousands
of young people every day. According to a recent
survey, roughly half of all high school students say
that in the past year, they were bullied in a manner
that seriously upset them. A similar number said they
had bullied someone else.

That's an awful lot of meanness.

Trying to eliminate the problem, schools are scurrying
to develop new anti-bullying programs, and legislatures
are writing new laws to criminalize bullying. Sadly,
neither of these strategies is likely to make a
serious dent unless they are part of a much broader
effort to create a positive school climate that
discourages all forms of hurtful or demeaning words or
acts.

Anti-bullying strategies seek to crack down on
bullying, hoping to deter abusive behavior by threats
of punishment. They often create legalistic procedures
that put a heavy responsibility on schools or courts to
prove the conduct occurred.

A better strategy is to instill, reinforce, and reward
the values of empathy, compassion and acceptance.
Instead of anti-bullying programs, we need a
pro-kindness strategy. Kind people don't bully and
don't look the other way when someone else is bullied.

We need to create a "culture of kindness," encouraging
a spirit of generosity and love where differences are
accepted and celebrated, rather than targeted. In a
culture of kindness, students stand up for, and next
to one another, all for one and one for all.

A dedicated effort to teach, advocate, and model
kindness will work much better than efforts to punish
meanness.1

* * * * * * *

Ed. Note: In a day of increasing moral decline and an
ever increasing anti-God climate, how do we achieve a
lasting "culture of kindness" without a strong
Christian faith and conversion?

1. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that
character counts.

(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sun 14 Oct 2012, 6:48 pm

Notes to the Boss ... Ten Truths for the Person
in Charge

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (759.5)

Based on years of managing several organizations,
including the Josephson Institute of Ethics, and
extensive consultation with large and small
organizations, I've distilled much of what I believe
and advocate into "Ten Truths." I hope you find it
helpful and that you share it liberally.

Everyone rationalizes; including you. (We're all smart
and ethical in our own eyes.)

There are lots of things you don't know and lots of
people who hope you don't find out. Your "open door"
doesn't keep you in the loop.

What you allow, you encourage. Bad employees tend to
come in pairs: the poor performer and the boss who
fails to do what needs to be done.

Everyone says it can't happen here--until it does. No
company is immune to bad judgment or weak character.

When someone tells you an honest but ugly truth, say
thank you; if you "kill the messenger," you won't hear
the truth again.

Doing nothing is doing something; the consequences of
inaction are as potent as any action. Make
decisions--it's your job.

No matter how many good things you do, you will be
judged by your last worst act; resentment lasts much
longer than gratitude.

Don't worry about being liked by everyone, but be sure
you are respected and trusted.

Being the boss doesn't entitle you to be a jerk; treat
people the way you want to be treated.

It's all about relationships--dealing with messy and
petty personnel issues is an important part of your
job, since workplace morale and job satisfaction are
critical to success.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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