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CHARACTER COUNTS!

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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Fri 13 Jan 2012, 2:14 pm

The Road to Significance

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (723.4)

The most traditional way to measure the quality of
one's life is to list accolades, achievements, and
acquisitions. In its simplest terms, success is
getting what we want, and most people want wealth and
status.

Yet, as much pleasure as these attributes can bring,
the rich, powerful, and famous usually discover that
true happiness will elude them if they don't have
peace of mind, self-respect, and enduring loving
relationships.

Peace of mind doesn't preclude ambition, desire for
material possessions, or high position, but it assumes
a fundamental foundation of contentment, gratitude, and
pride--a belief that whatever one has is enough and an
active appreciation for the good things in life.

Feeling successful can generate satisfying emotions of
self-worth, but feeling significant--that one's life
really matters--is much more potent. Peter Drucker,
the great management guru, captured this idea when he
wrote of the urge many high achievers have to "move
beyond success to significance."

The surprise for many is that one of the surest roads
to significance is service. It doesn't have to be of
the Mother Teresa missionary variety. Parents who
sacrifice their comfort and pleasure for their
children are performing a service, as are teachers,
public-safety professionals, members of the military,
and volunteers who work for the common good.

In addressing graduates, 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."

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 Sat 07 Jan 2012, 5:49 pm

Our Last Worst Act

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (725.4)

I'm going to mention a few names and I want you to
think of the first thing that comes to your mind with
each: Tiger Woods, Lindsay Lohan, John Edwards,
Kenneth Lay, Britney Spears, Andrew Bynum, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Jim Tressel.

Each person behind the name won fame in sports,
business, politics, or music because of some
extraordinary talents and achievements, yet it's
likely the first thing that came to mind is the last
worst thing they did, something that not merely
blemishes their names but seems to signify who they
are.

An old proverb tells us, "A good name shines forever."
And the Bible says, "A good name is more desirable than
great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or
gold." There was a time when men would kill each other
in duels attempting to protect their honor. And our
Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of
Independence with this statement: "We mutually pledge
to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred
honor."

Though there is much less talk about honor and
preserving one's good name today, reputations are more
vulnerable than ever, and revelations of dishonorable
conduct are always damaging and often devastating to
careers and personal lives.

Because it's so much more difficult to protect one's
name today, there is almost no place to hide acts
reflecting bad judgment or bad character. Though we
may judge ourselves by our best traits and most noble
acts, we will be judged by our last worst act.

Be careful!

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 Fri 30 Dec 2011, 11:17 pm

Making Bricks or Building Cathedrals

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (727.5)

According to an old parable, three men were working
hard cutting stone from large blocks of granite. When
asked what they were doing, the first fellow said,
"I'm making bricks." The second said, "I'm creating a
foundation for a large building." The third person
answered, "I'm building a cathedral."

They are doing the exact same job, and all three
responses were accurate, but they reveal the huge
difference attitude makes. It's the difference between
tolerating or enjoying one's life, between thinking
small or large. Mindset matters.

Just like the stone cutters, most of us have a
habitual or characteristic mental attitude that
determines how we experience and interpret situations.
It's pretty clear that the fellow who saw himself
playing an important role in building a grand
cathedral is much more likely to feel good about his
work and his life than the guy who defines his job as
making bricks.

A bookkeeper for a school may think of herself as
someone who just works with numbers or as part of an
enterprise that educates children. A math teacher can
characterize himself as someone who teaches long
division, someone who seeks to make all math
interesting and understandable, someone who teaches
students how to learn difficult concepts, or, larger
yet, someone who helps young people develop attitudes
and skills that will help them lead worthy and
successful lives.

What do you do?

Don't minimize yourself by just describing the tasks
you perform; think big. There is no job that can't be
meaningful and gratifying, if not because of how it
fits into a larger picture of producing human
happiness, then at least in terms of the gratification
you can feel simply from a job well done.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 Fri 23 Dec 2011, 11:57 pm

Finding God in the Park

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (725.3)

Abe was fiercely independent, even at age 85, but
after a mild stroke his son insisted he move in with
him. Abe missed going to the park near his old
apartment, and one Saturday he set out to find it.

When he became disoriented, he asked a young boy named
Timmy where the park was. Timmy said he'd like to take
him there, but he didn't have time because he was
looking for God. He said he needed to talk to Him
about why his parents were getting a divorce.

"Maybe God's in the park," the old man said. "I'd like
to talk to Him, too, about why He's made me useless."
And so they set off together to find God.

At the park, Timmy began to cry about the divorce, and
Abe lovingly held his face in both hands and looked him
straight in the eyes. "Timmy, I don't know why bad
things happen, but I know it wasn't because of you. I
know you're a good boy and your parents love you and
you'll be okay."

Timmy gave Abe a big hug and said, "I'm so glad I met
you. Thanks. I think I can go now."

From across the street, Timmy's mother saw them hug
and approached her son in a worried voice. "Who was
that old man?"

"I think he's God," Timmy said.

"Did he say that?" she demanded.

"No, but when he touched me and told me I'm going to
be okay, I felt really better. Only God can do that."

When Abe got home, his son asked in a scolding voice,
"Where were you?"

"I was in the park with God."

"Really? What makes you think you were with God?"

"Because He sent me a boy who needed me, and when the
boy hugged me, I felt God telling me I wasn't useless
anymore."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 17 Dec 2011, 6:47 pm

How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Money?

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (724.5)

Disdain for money is a common theme among moralists
and philosophers. But money's not the problem. It's
what people do to get it, and what they do with it
when they get it.

In "Fiddler on the Roof," a poor man sings of his
daydreams of the wonderful life he'd have if he were a
rich man. And surely it would be better. As someone
once said, "I've been poor and I've been rich. Rich is
better." Yet the Biblical warning that "Love of money
is the root of all evil" reminds us to be aware of the
difference between need and greed.

It's one thing to make money a central goal to escape
poverty and provide for basic necessities. It's quite
another when money becomes our primary motivation and
measure of success, or when we equate happiness or
worthiness with wealth.

The love of money can have a powerful narcotic effect
on our values. It can push us toward or keep us in
unhealthy relationships and unsatisfying careers. It
can lead us to undervalue the importance of
relationships and work. The desire for money can make
us into workaholics who neglect family and friends.
And it can spawn dishonorable conduct that pollutes
our souls and makes us unworthy, despite our net
worth.

According to an old Hasidic saying, "One who thinks
money can do everything is likely to do anything to
get it."

Perhaps the French philosopher Rousseau said it best:
"The money you have can give you freedom, but the
money you pursue enslaves you."

The challenge is to put the value of money in
perspective. In the end, the question is: How much are
you willing to pay to have money?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 10 Dec 2011, 2:40 pm

The Disease of Low Expectations

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (724.3)

The serious damage done to our economy, social
institutions, and personal relationships by widespread
cheating and dishonesty is bad enough. But widespread
acceptance of such behavior as inevitable threatens to
make our future a lot worse. In effect, our culture is
being infected by a disease: the disease of low
expectations.

The disease is manifested by the corrosive assumption
that human nature can't be expected to withstand
pressures or temptations. In other words, when there's
a conflict between self-interest and moral principles,
self-interest--in fact, short-term self-interest--will
generally prevail.

Thus, whenever a politician lies to get elected, a
student cheats to get into college, or an executive
commits fraud to save a job or earn a bonus, we blame
the system rather than the individual. Under the
influence of the disease of low expectations, an
increasing army of apologists argue that both the
carrot and the stick--previously thought to be valid
motivating techniques--should be condemned and
eliminated as corrupting influences that create
irresistible pressures to cheat.

A school superintendent in Iowa once told me,
"Cheating isn't the problem; it's the way we test." We
can't expect students not to cheat, he implied,
especially when the stakes are so high.

I wonder whether he would be as comfortable with a
similar explanation of recent corporate scandals:
"Fraudulent accounting isn't the problem; it's the way
we compensate executives."

Don't buy into this dreadfully pessimistic and
perverted perspective about human nature. Cheating is
wrong and harmful. Integrity is real and possible. It
just takes character.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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.
avatar
Admin
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Dec 2011, 4:30 pm

How Do You Live Your Dash?

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (677.5)

One of my favorite poems is called "The Dash." Written
by Linda Ellis shortly after her grandmother's death,
it's an eloquent invocation to live one's life
thoughtfully.

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of
his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning to the end. He noted that first
came her date of birth and spoke the following date
with tears, But he said what mattered most of all was
the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time she spent alive
on earth, And now only those who loved her know what
that little line is worth. For it matters not how much
we own--the cars, the house, the cash--What matters is
how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard--are there things
you'd like to change? For you never know how much time
is left that can still be rearranged. If we could just
slow down long enough to consider what's true and
real, And always try to understand the way other
people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more,
And love the people in our lives like we've never loved
before. If we treat each other with respect and more
often wear a smile, Remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy's been read with your life's
actions to rehash, Would you be proud of the things
they say about how you spent your dash?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

Linda has a website where you can order printed copies
of the full poem and read more than a dozen other
uplifting verses. http://lindaellis.net/wp/.

(c) 2010 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 Nov 2011, 10:19 pm

What Is Success?

By Michael Josephson, Character Counts (421.1)

There's a story about a father and son who were in
constant tension about the son's casual attitude about
finding a job. During a particularly heated argument
the father said, "If you can get a job you enjoy,
that's fine. But in the end, a job is the way you make
a living."

The son answered meanly, "Well, I want something a lot
better than wasting away as manager of a muffler shop."

The mother overheard the conversation and was furious.
"How dare you demean another man's life? Your dad's a
wonderful husband and father and people look up to
him. He gave up on his dream to be a sportswriter so
he could give you and your sisters a good home and
college educations. He may not be your idea of
success, but he's mine." And she handed him a poem by
Betty Anderson Stanley:

"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed
often and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of
pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the
love of little children; who has filled his niche and
accomplished his task; who has left the world better
than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a
perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked
appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express
it; who has always looked for the best in others and
given them the best he had; whose life was an
inspiration; whose memory a benediction."

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.
avatar
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sat 12 Nov 2011, 6:31 pm

The Disease of Low Expectations

by Michael Josephson, Character Counts (377.4)

The serious damage done to our economy, social
institutions and personal relationships by widespread
cheating and dishonesty is bad enough. But widespread
acceptance of such behavior as inevitable threatens to
make our future a lot worse. In effect, our culture is
being infected by a disease: the disease of low
expectations.

The disease is manifested by the corrosive assumption
that human nature can't be expected to withstand
pressure or temptation. In other words, when there's a
conflict between self-interest and moral principles,
self-interest-- in fact, short-term
self-interest--will generally prevail.

Thus, whenever a politician lies to get elected, or a
student cheats to get into college, or an executive
commits fraud to save a job or earn a bonus, we blame
the system rather than the individuals. Thus, under
the influence of the disease of low expectations, an
increasing army of apologists argue that both the
carrot and the stick-- previously thought of as valid
motivating techniques-- should be condemned and
eliminated as corrupting influences that create
irresistible pressures to cheat.

A school superintendent in Iowa once told me,
"Cheating isn't the problem; it's the way we test." We
really can't expect students not to cheat, he implied,
especially when the stakes are so high.

I wonder whether he would be as comfortable with a
similar explanation of the recent corporate scandals:
"Fraudulent accounting isn't the problem; it's the way
we compensate executives."

Don't buy into this dreadfully pessimistic and
perverted perspective about human nature. Cheating is
wrong and harmful, and integrity is real and possible.
It just takes character.

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.
avatar
Admin
Admin

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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Fri 04 Nov 2011, 6:31 pm

CHARACTER COUNTS.
The Small Things You Do Count

by Mark Adams

Bill Wilson pastors an inner city church in New York
City. His mission field is a very violent place. He
himself has been stabbed twice as he ministered to the
people of the community surrounding the church. Once a
Puerto Rican woman became involved in the church and
was led to Christ. After her conversion she came to
Pastor Wilson and said, "I want to do something to
help with the church's ministry."

He asked her what her talents were and she could think
of nothing--she couldn't even speak English--but she
did love children. So he put her on one of the
church's buses that went into neighborhoods and
transported kids to church. Every week she performed
her duties. She would find the worst-looking kid on
the bus, put him on her lap and whisper over and over
the only words she had learned in English: "I love
you. Jesus loves you."

After several months, she became attached to one
little boy in particular. The boy didn't speak. He
came to Sunday school every week with his sister and
sat on the woman's lap, but he never made a sound.
Each week she would tell him all the way to Sunday
school and all the way home, "I love you and Jesus
loves you."

One day, to her amazement, the little boy turned
around and stammered, "I---I---I love you too!" Then
he put his arms around her and gave her a big hug.

That was 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon. At 6:30 that
night he was found dead. His own mother had beaten him
to death and thrown his body in the trash.

"I love you and Jesus loves you." Those were some of
the last words this little boy heard in his short
life--from the lips of a Puerto Rican woman who could
barely speak English. This woman gave her one talent
to God and because of that a little boy who never
heard the word "love" in his own home, experienced and
responded to the love of Christ.

What can you give? You and I each have something in
our lives, which, if given back to God, could move
Jesus and His message further down the road.

-- Mark Adams, "The Roads He Walked--Palm
Avenue" Cited on
Acesonline/Leadership/Illusrations
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sat 29 Oct 2011, 7:53 pm

What I Believe

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (722.1)

Here's a small portion of my personal list expressing
the beliefs I want to pass on:

I believe I'm a work in progress and there will always
be a gap between who I am and who I want to be.

I believe every day brings opportunities to learn and
to do something meaningful.

I believe the true test of my character is whether I
do the right thing(,) even when it might cost more
than I want to pay.

I believe that no matter how I behave, some people
will be mean-spirited, dishonest, irresponsible, and
unkind, but if I fight fire with fire, all I'll end up
with is ashes.

I believe life is full of joys and sorrows and my
happiness depends on how well I handle each.

I believe pain is inevitable but suffering is
optional, and if I can control my attitudes, I can
control my life.

I believe kindness really matters and snide and
sarcastic comments and badly-timed criticisms can
cause lasting hurt.

I believe there's joy in gratitude and freedom in
forgiveness, but both require conscientious effort.

I believe what is fun and pleasurable is not always
good for me and what is good for me is not always fun
or pleasurable.

I believe no one is happy all the time, but in the end
I can be as happy as I'm willing to be.

I believe the surest road to happiness is good
relationships.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 Oct 2011, 7:44 pm

No One Is too Poor to Give

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (718.1)

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 others 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) 2011 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 16 Oct 2011, 7:03 pm

If You're in a Hole, Stop Digging

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (716.2)

Most of us have lied to get out of trouble. From
childhood denials ("it wasn't me") to adult
fabrications ("the check is in the mail"), what seem
like harmless falsehoods easily fall from our tongues.
And then we make up more excuses or tell more lies to
protect the first one. Soon the "cover-up" is more
serious and credibility-damaging than whatever we lied
about in the first place.

The natural tendency to avoid discomfort makes our
lives more difficult in other ways as well. Some
people damage or endanger their most important
relationships at home or work by failing to
acknowledge and deal with small problems that then
fester into serious ones.

Here's a useful piece of advice: "When you're in a
hole, stop digging." Whether our problems are of our
own making or not, whether we know exactly how to
resolve them or not, the first step is to stop making
things worse. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming
others. Stop ignoring our strong and persistent
feelings. And stop dismissing and discounting what
others are telling us about their needs and feelings.

Once we stop digging, we can work on getting out of
the hole. It may take more honest self-reflection,
self-restraint or simple will power. Perhaps we have
to adjust our schedules or simply be more attentive
and considerate. Sometimes the best thing to do is ask
for help(,) and someone will throw us a rope.

Like so many aspects of character, this is often
easier said than done. But when we manage our lives
thoughtfully and with integrity, things do get better.


This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 Fri 07 Oct 2011, 12:43 pm

Desiderata

From Michael Josephson of Character Counts (710.5)

In 1927, Max Ehrmann gave us timeless advice in a poem
called "Desiderata" (Latin for "things desired"):

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons
than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of
time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden
misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 01 Oct 2011, 11:49 am

How Do You Live Your Dash?

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (677.5)

One of my favorite poems is called "The Dash." Written
by Linda Ellis shortly after her grandmother's death,
it's an eloquent invocation to live one's life
thoughtfully.

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of
his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the
beginning to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth and spoke
the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all was the dash
between those years.

For that dash represents all the time she spent alive
on earth,
And now only those who loved her know what that little
line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own--the cars, the
house, the cash--
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend
our dash.

So think about this long and hard--are there things
you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that can
still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down long enough to consider
what's true and real,
And always try to understand the way other people
feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more,
And love the people in our lives like we've never
loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often
wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash might only last a
little while.

So when your eulogy's been read with your life's
actions to rehash,
Would you be proud of the things they say about how
you spent your dash?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

Linda has a website where you can order printed copies
of the full poem and read more than a dozen other
uplifting verses. http://lindaellis.net/
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Re: CHARACTER COUNTS!

Post  Admin on Sat 24 Sep 2011, 7:50 pm

What I Believe

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (673.1)

Here's a portion of my personal list of beliefs that
you may want to pass on:

I believe I'm a work-in-progress, and there will
always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be.


I believe every day brings opportunities to learn and
to do something meaningful.

I believe the true test of my character is whether I
do the right thing even when it might cost more than I
want to pay.

I believe no matter how I behave, some people will be
mean-spirited, dishonest, irresponsible, and unkind,
but if I fight fire with fire, all I'll end up with
will be the ashes of my own integrity.

I believe life is full of joys and sorrows, and my
happiness will depend on how well I handle each.

I believe pain is inevitable but suffering is
optional, and if I can control my attitudes, I can
control my life.

I believe kindness really matters, and sarcastic
comments and badly-timed criticisms can cause lasting
hurt.

I believe there's joy in gratitude and freedom in
forgiveness, but both require conscientious effort.

I believe what's fun and pleasurable isn't always good
for me, and what's good for me isn't always fun and
pleasurable.

I believe no one's happy all the time, but in the end,
I can be as happy as I'm willing to be.

I believe the surest road to happiness is good
relationships.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 17 Sep 2011, 5:57 pm

A Promise Is a Promise

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (707.5)

I've been doing these commentaries for almost 14
years, so they chronicle the lives of my four
daughters. Feeling wistful watching Samara, my eldest,
applying to colleges, I recalled a story I told about
her when she was only five.

She saw me packed to leave on an overnight trip, and
she pleaded, "Please don't go, Daddy." I told her I
had to go, and she threw a tantrum.

When she calmed down, she took a new tack: "Then take
me with you."

When that didn't work, she made her final offer: "Then
promise to wear the tie I made you."

She was referring to a tie she gave me for Father's
Day adorned with a picture she drew with colored
Sharpies. It was a sweet thought, but I'd feel
ridiculous wearing it while speaking to serious
business executives. Still, it was my best way out, so
I promised. I admit I thought about wearing a more
appropriate tie the next day. After all, she would
never know. But I promised her, and in our family
that's a really important thing. I wore the tie the
next day and told my audience why I was wearing it,
making the point that if you want to be trusted, you
have to keep your promises.

When I returned that afternoon, I went straight to my
office from the airport. My wife and Samara showed up
in a surprise visit. When Samara saw me wearing her
tie, she beamed and gave me the biggest hug ever. "I
knew you would," she said. "You're the best daddy
ever." I was so glad I'd kept my promise to that
little girl. After all, a promise is a promise.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 10 Sep 2011, 4:41 pm

Righteousness Is Revealed in Conduct, Not Rhetoric

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (671.2)

It's hard to look at the world and some of the people
who seem to get ahead without occasionally asking
ourselves why we should be ethical. However normal it
is to think like this, the question should be off
limits for people who profess strong religious
beliefs. After all, what religion does not mandate
morality?

To authentically religious people, the motivation
toward virtue is grounded in the acceptance of a
non-negotiable duty to be a good person in the eyes of
God, not in anticipation of personal benefits.
Dishonest, irresponsible, or unfair conduct is simply
wrong.

Although there are skeptics who are suspicious of the
rhetoric of religious advocates and proselytizers,
there is a positive correlation between religious
conviction and virtue. I think the vast majority of
deeply religious people draw guidance and strength
from their beliefs and live better, if not perfect,
lives.

Still, religious claims and even sincere convictions
are no guarantee of genuine righteousness.

Besides disturbed individuals such as those who
believe God commands them to perform horrible acts,
discredited televangelist preachers, and priests who
molest parishioners, we must face the fact that Bernie
Ebbers of WorldCom and John Rigas of Adelphia, the
masterminds of some of the world's greatest swindles,
were highly vocal and visible about their Christian
beliefs.

Whether such wrongdoers are mentally ill, hypocrites,
frauds, or sincere believers with personal weaknesses,
their stories remind us that we can't take for granted
the link between religious claims and worthy conduct.
It's not that religion fails people; it's that people
fail their religion.

In the end, regardless of its source, righteousness is
revealed in ethical and upright conduct, not rhetoric.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(C) 2011 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 Sep 2011, 9:41 am

Changing Lives through Love

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (712.1)

Imagine being put in charge of a residential camp for
delinquent teenage girls confined because they are
considered dangerous. Many have serious mental health
issues, impulse control problems, and an awful lot of
anger. One of the last terms you'd apply to any of
these girls is lovable.

So when Pauline Starks and her colleague Gerry Davis
(both with more than 25 years of experience at the Los
Angeles Probation Department) spoke to the Josephson
Institute's Board of Governors about the importance of
giving these girls love, it was pretty impressive. They
refused to write these girls off as if they were social
rubbish to be thrown or locked away. Instead, they saw
young, damaged girls who needed and deserved to be
loved.

They came to talk about how the CHARACTER COUNTS!
program helped them change the lives of juveniles
confined to Camps Scott and Scudder in Lancaster,
California, and there wasn't a person in the room who
was not inspired.

It's been said that kids don't care what you know
until they know that you care. Pauline and Gerry told
stories and cited statistics to prove the
effectiveness of liberally applied caring and respect.
You might expect that nearly three decades of working
with criminals would harden them, yet they spoke of
the girls with such tenderness, and described little
successes with such pride, that it was evident that
their natural compassion and empathy shielded them
from cynicism.

What a joy it was to spend an evening with these
mortal angels who have found meaning and purpose in
changing lives through love.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 Aug 2011, 3:17 pm

Good News and Bad News

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (710.3)

There's good news and bad news in newly released data
from a 2010 Josephson Institute of Ethics survey of
more than 43,000 high school students.

The good news is that rates of stealing and cheating
dropped about 5 percent since 2008. The bad news is
that far too many high schoolers engage in dishonest
conduct: Twenty-seven percent of the students admitted
stealing from a store within the past year, and 60
percent said they cheated on an exam.

Twenty-one percent said they stole something from a
parent or other relative, and 18 percent confessed
they stole something from a friend.

More than two in five (42 percent) said they sometimes
lie to save money.

As bad as these numbers are, it appears they
understate the level of dishonesty exhibited by
America's youth. More than one in four (26 percent)
confessed they lied on at least one question on the
survey. Experts agree that dishonesty on surveys
usually is an attempt to conceal misconduct.

Despite these high levels of dishonesty, these same
kids have a high self-image when it comes to ethics. A
whopping 92 percent said they were satisfied with their
personal ethics and character, and 79 percent said
that, "when it comes to doing what is right, I am
better than most people I know."

This data reveals entrenched habits of dishonesty in
today's young people, and that doesn't bode well for
the future when these youngsters become the next
generation's politicians and parents, cops, and
corporate executives, and journalists and generals.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 Fri 19 Aug 2011, 2:07 pm

As a Man Thinketh

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (377.2)

Recently I came across a long essay called "As a Man
Thinketh" by James Allen. Written in the early 1900's,
it's a powerful and profound exploration of the
relationship between thought and character. "A man is
literally what he thinks, his character being the
complete sum of all his thoughts," he says. In fact,
he declares, "Man is the master of thought, the molder
of character, and the maker and shaper of condition,
environment and destiny."

As the plant springs from the seed, our actions,
character and even our circumstances spring from our
thoughts. Every thought seed that is allowed to take
root in the mind blossoms, sooner or later, into
actions that bear fruit.

"Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad
fruit." Our thoughts and actions can be jailers of
fate, imprisoning us in base circumstances, or they
can be angels of freedom, liberating us to achieve our
noble potential.

But, he warns, we don't attract what we want, but what
we are. What's more, we don't get what we pray for, but
what we justly earn. While we cannot directly choose
our circumstances, we can choose our thoughts and so,
indirectly yet surely, shape our circumstances. As
long as we believe we are the creatures of outside
conditions, we will fail to become the rightful
masters of our own lives. But if we will do the hard
work of reflecting continually to identify and modify
negative beliefs and attitudes, we will be astonished
at the rapid transformation it will produce in the
material conditions of our lives.

Sounds right to me.

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 13 Aug 2011, 6:54 pm

The Saga of the Lost Wallet

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (708.2)

I suspect it's an indication of low expectations that
I was so delightfully surprised when I found a note on
my door Saturday afternoon from a person who said they
found my wallet a few hours earlier.

Apparently, after pulling out my credit card to get
gas, I put my wallet on the top of the car for a
moment to answer a phone call. Obviously I forgot and
drove off.

Patrick and Catherine saw the wallet in the middle of
the road a few blocks from the gas station. They
stopped their car to retrieve it. It was filled with
all the things one keeps in a wallet these days,
including an emergency $100 bill and other cash. There
was no home phone number, but they got an address from
my driver's license. As true good Samaritans, they
decided to drive to my home to return it. When I
didn't answer the door, they left a note with their
phone number. When I went to get the wallet, I was so
relieved and grateful, I intended to give them the
emergency $100 bill as an expression of gratitude, but
Patrick refused. He said he was just glad he could be
of help.

Patrick and Catherine were instinctively honest, but
they believed in the Golden Rule as well. There were
business cards in the wallet with my office phone
number. They could have waited until Monday to call,
but they didn't. They drove over to my house because
they realized the trauma the loss of a wallet and all
its contents could cause. I'm sure there are other
people who would've done what they did, but not nearly
enough.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that
character counts.

(c) 2011 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 06 Aug 2011, 3:04 pm

The Cowboy Code

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (695.1)

I grew up in much simpler times. Television was in its
infancy, and the idea of a hero was exemplified in the
white-hatted cowboy. There was a clarity and
simplicity to this hero's moral code that left no
doubt there is a right and wrong. As I became more
sophisticated, it was easy to ridicule these
simplistic approaches to ethics and living. Yet the
more I learn, the more I've come to think there's as
much danger in complexifying our choices into endless
shades of gray.

Sure, there are extenuating factors and exceptions
that challenge the validity of every ethical
principle, but on balance we need clear prescriptive
guidelines of virtue. Such guidelines are provided in
the quaintly old-fashioned Cowboy Code promoted by the
late Gene Autry:

1. Don't shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take
unfair advantage.

2. Don't go back on your word or a trust confided in
you.

3. Tell the truth.

4. Be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.

5. Don't advocate or possess racially or religiously
intolerant ideas.

6. Help people in distress.

7. Be a good worker.

8. Keep yourself clean in thought, speech, action,
and personal habits.

9. Respect women, parents, and the law.

10. Be patriotic.

With a little updating, this code still works.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 30 Jul 2011, 12:02 pm

The True Meaning of Our Lives

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (708.4)

I saw a cartoon showing an old king checking in at the
gates of heaven. He introduced himself as "Edward the
Good." The gatekeeper with a large book in front of
him said, "Well, Eddie, we'll be the judge of that."

The point is that, in the end, generous
self-appraisals won't matter. Our epitaphs will be
written and eulogies delivered by the people who knew
how we lived.

There's a story told about Alfred Nobel reading his
own obituary because the people at the newspaper
mistakenly thought he'd died. This gave him the
opportunity to see how he would be remembered. The
article described Mr. Nobel as a brilliant chemist who
made a great fortune as the inventor of dynamite. For
lots of people, being remembered as brilliant and rich
would be quite enough, but it wasn't for Mr. Nobel.

After significant reflection about his desire to leave
a more positive legacy, he bequeathed his considerable
wealth to establish the Nobel Prizes to acknowledge
great human achievements.

Few of us can create something as momentous as the
Nobel Prizes, but we can all live lives that earn a
eulogy our children and parents would be proud of.

In the hurly-burly of everyday living, it's hard to
keep perspective. Money, position, pride, and power
seem so important--until they're not. What will matter
is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for
what.

So, if you want to know how to live your life, just
think about what you want people to say about you
after you die, and live backwards.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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 Fri 22 Jul 2011, 12:30 pm

The Pressure to Cheat

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (706.5)

What's causing the growing hole in our moral ozone?
Why are cheating and lying so common in schools, on
the sports field, and in business and politics?
Apparently it's a thing called pressure.

Kids are under pressure to get into college, athletes
and coaches are under pressure to win, and, according
to a survey by the American Management Association,
the pressure to meet business objectives and deadlines
is the leading cause of unethical corporate behavior.
The desires to further one's career and protect one's
livelihood are the second and third reasons people lie
or cheat.

In other words, we take ethical shortcuts to get what
we want. DUH!

Why are we so willing to shift responsibility for
every form of human weakness from ourselves to the
system? We don't blame the liar; we blame the law. We
don't blame the cheater; we blame the test.

The implication is: Don't expect me to be ethical when
personal interests are at stake.

Please!

What we call pressures today used to be called
temptations. Everyone knew that the test of character
was our ability to resist them. Calling enticements
pressures doesn't change anything.

We must believe in and expect integrity and moral
courage and not surrender when our principles are
challenged. We need to expect good people to do what's
right, even when it's difficult or costly.

Yes, lots of people act dishonorably in the face of
pressure. But pressure is an explanation, not a
justification. Pressures, temptations--call them what
you will--are part of life. Sure, it would be helpful
if we had less pressure, but it's far more important
that we have more character.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2011 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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