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Michael Josephson of Character Counts

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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 7:38 pm

Keep Singing, Michael

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (488.5)

Every day since three-year-old Michael was told he was
going to have a baby sister, he would touch his mommy's
tummy tenderly and sing all the songs he knew to the
baby. 

Tragically, the baby was born in critical condition,
and the doctors said the newborn would not last through
the week. Michael, who was unaware of the crisis, kept
insisting he wanted to see his sister and sing to her.
Although children were not allowed in intensive care,
his mother decided to let Michael see his sister and
sing to her before she passed away. 

When the nurse saw Michael in the room she said, "That
child will have to leave." 

Michael's mom responded firmly, "Not until he sings to
his sister." 

Michael didn't notice all the wires attached to the
tiny infant. Touching the outside of the plastic crib,
he beamed and began to sing:

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. 
You make me happy when skies are gray. 
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. 
Please don't take my sunshine away." 

Strangely, the baby seemed to respond. Her pulse rate
slowed and her breathing became easier. 
With tears in her eyes, the mother said, "Keep singing,
Michael, keep singing." The more Michael sang, the more
the baby relaxed. 

Soon even the nurse chimed in, "Keep singing, Michael,
keep singing." 

And Michael did. The baby fell into a calm, healing
sleep. Within days, she was well enough to take home.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2007 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Fri 09 Jun 2017, 2:36 pm

Good Guys and Bad Guys

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts 

In the old cowboy movies you could tell the good guys
from the bad by the color of their hats. Villains wore
black; heroes wore white. It made things easy. Too
easy. 

I want to put black hats on all the people who
discredit their professions and disgrace themselves and
their families by acts of dishonesty or uncontrolled
desire. 

Unfortunately, the closer I look at athletes, school
administrators, corporate executives, cops,
politicians, and priests who continually fill the
newspapers with scandal and fuel the bonfire of
cynicism, the more obvious it becomes that most of them
are a mixed bag of virtues and flaws--not so different
from you and me. 

I point this out not to minimize or excuse their bad
conduct, but to heighten awareness of how vulnerable we
all are to moral blind spots. The best defense against
the seductive dark side is a strong sense of integrity
and a sleepless conscience. 

Poet Edgar Guest put it this way:

I have to live with myself, and so,
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I want to be able as days go by
Always to look myself straight in the eye.
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I've done.

I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of man I really am.
I don't want to dress myself up in sham.

I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see.
I know what others may never know;
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be 
Self-respecting and conscience free. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2007 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Fri 26 May 2017, 6:50 pm

Three Rules for Success

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (483.5)

If you want to do well in your job or get a better one,
here are three good rules for success: 

Be a positive force. Bad mouthing, letting off steam or
unloading about the shortcomings of your company, boss
or coworkers may be therapeutic or entertaining, but
it's unprofessional and nothing good will come of it.
Don't sweep real problems under the carpet, but find
constructive ways to raise them. Loyal employees who
are seen as positive forces, team players and morale
boosters are highly valued. Those who develop
reputations as gossipers, whiners, backbiters or
finger-pointers are liabilities who everyone will be
glad to see go. 

Always give your best. Go the extra mile, pitch in to
help others, get to work early and stay late when
needed. Demonstrate pride in your work even if you
think no one appreciates it. Keep non-work-related
chatter and activities to a minimum. Don't let slackers
and minimalists set your standards. Pursuit of
excellence is never wasted. Those who give their best
efforts will eventually flourish; they will stand out
and move up. Those who do only what they have to do
will languish. When opportunities arise, they will be
ignored. When economic pressures mount, they will be
moved out. 

Be accountable. Admit mistakes readily. Even when a
problem is not your fault, think of what you could have
done to avoid it or lessen the impact. Acknowledge your
part apologetically when appropriate, but not
defensively and make a mental note to do more or better
next time. If you see something that's not working, fix
it or bring the matter up in a positive manner to those
who can. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2007 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.


Do a Little More By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (478.1) In 1964 a young woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death outside her apartment building in Queens, New York. She was attacked repeatedly over the course of an hour and despite her screams, none of the 38 neighbors intervened or called for help. Some were afraid. Some didn't want to get involved. Some thought someone else would do it. This incident has become a symbol of the increased callousness, self-centeredness and fearfulness of a society where brutes, bullies and other bad guys act with confidence that onlookers won't interfere. The long array of billion-dollar scandals rocking corporate America is not so much the result of growing hordes of clever scoundrels as it is the product of passive complicity of innocent people who are willing to look the other way to protect their job, their relationship with the boss or their incentive compensation. The moral root of the issue is responsibility. As Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing." I don't think we have the obligation to put ourselves at risk to right every wrong we witness, but we should be willing to do so when the consequences are serious and we are accountable for creating an environment that is hostile, not accommodating, to illegal and unethical conduct. The duty of responsibility requires both good sense and courage to help us avoid the extremes of doing nothing or trying to do everything. One thing is certain, though: The world will be better if we'd all do a little more. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. © 2017 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Fri 05 May 2017, 10:15 pm

The Russian Lady and Willful Blindness

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (481.2)

According to legend, a Russian countess was driven to
the theater by her coach on a bitterly cold evening. To
be sure she wouldn't have to wait afterwards, she
ordered the driver and footman to remain outside until
she returned.

She cried during the play when a loyal servant was
being mistreated by an uncaring lord. When the
performance ended, it was snowing heavily outside and a
small crowd had gathered around her carriage. She
demanded to know what was going on. The driver
fearfully told her that the old footman who had stayed
with the coach as she ordered had frozen to death. The
lady was appalled.

How could a sensitive woman who cried at the plight of
fictional characters be so callous about the comfort
and safety of her own servants? Sometimes people see
only what they want to see and know what they want to
know. It's a form of willful blindness that afflicts
many of us who profess grand principles of caring and
respect that we ignore when we deal with people in our
own lives. I've seen parents who want their children to
be happy, self-confident and honest, yet brutalize
their kids with relentless criticism and confuse them
by cheating on their taxes or lying to get them into
better schools.

Sometimes well-intentioned coaches ignore injuries,
emotionally abuse young athletes or work them as if
they were in a slave-labor camp--all the while
convincing themselves it's for the athletes' own good.

And I've worked with executives in companies that
advocate employee well-being and family values who look
the other way when employees, either out of fear or the
desire to please, work excessively long hours and
neglect their families, causing stress and domestic
conflict.

We all have moral blind spots. The challenge is to have
the humility to find them and the character to fix
them.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2007 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.


Slow Dance

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (483.1)

I once heard the chairman and CEO of a huge public
company tell a roomful of ambitious, hardworking,
dedicated executives that if he had to do it all over
again, he would have spent more time with his family.
That's not news, but to Type-A personalities, it's
easier said than done.

David L. Weatherford's poem "Slow Dance" sends the
message in a particularly compelling way:

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round
Or listened to rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight
Or gazed at the sun fading into the night?
You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
Time is short, the music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, "How are you?" do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
Time is short, the music won't last.

Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow,"
And in your haste not seen his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die,
'Cause you never had time to call and say hi?
You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
Time is short, the music won't last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It's like an unopened gift thrown away.
Life is not a race, so take it slower,
Hear the music before your song is over.

The question isn't whether this makes sense to you.
It's what are you going to do about it and when are you
going to start?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2017 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Mar 2017, 10:59 pm

The Parable of Brother Leo

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (437.2)

An old legend tells of a monastery in France well-known
throughout Europe because of the extraordinary
leadership of a man known only as Brother Leo. Several
monks began a pilgrimage to visit Brother Leo to learn
from him. Almost immediately the monks began to bicker
over who should do various chores. On the third day
they met another monk who was also going to the
monastery and he joined their party. This monk never
complained or shirked a duty, and whenever the others
fought over a chore, he would gracefully volunteer and
simply do it himself. By the last day the other monks
were following his example, and they worked together
smoothly.

When they reached the monastery and asked to see
Brother Leo, the man who greeted them laughed: "But our
brother is among you!" And he pointed to the fellow who
had joined them late in the trip.

Today, many people seek leadership positions not so
much for what they can do for others, but for what the
position can do for them: status, connections, perks or
future advantage. As a result, they do service
primarily as an investment, a way to build an
impressive resume.

The parable about Brother Leo teaches another model of
leadership, where leaders are preoccupied with serving
rather than being followed, with giving rather than
getting, and doing rather than demanding. It's a form
of leadership based on example, not command. It's
called servant leadership.

Can you imagine how much better things would be if more
politicians, educators and business executives saw
themselves as servant leaders?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Feb 2017, 10:33 pm

Being Right or Being Kind

by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (474.3)

Preparing to take our children on a long plane trip
reminded me of how stressful traveling was just a few
years ago when they were really young.

Anne and I would do everything we could to keep our
kids from annoying other passengers, but no matter how
hard we tried, one would always scream or kick the seat
in front of her.

Inevitably, a few passengers would add to our anxiety
and embarrassment by displaying disdain and discomfort
through withering comments, loud sighs or accusatory
looks. Their message was clear: We were inept or
inconsiderate parents.

I couldn't blame them because our children did make
their trip unpleasant. Still, I wished they were more
understanding.

In contrast, I so admired and appreciated the
occasional man or woman who would go out of their way
to ease the tension or lighten the burden with a
supportive smile, a kind comment, or an offer to help.

Sometimes we don't seem aware of the choices we have
and our power to make things better or worse.

I read of a man on a subway with two young children who
were being loud and unruly. The man seemed to ignore
their behavior, so a fed-up passenger confronted him:
"Sir, don't you see how your children are disturbing
everyone? How can you be so thoughtless?"

The man sobbed, "I'm so sorry. Their mom just died, and
I've been thinking of how we will live without her."

Sure, that's an extreme case, but why is it that so
many of us have to be hit over the head before we turn
on our caring and empathy buttons?

The next time you have the choice between being right
or being kind, choose kindness.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2007 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 19 Feb 2017, 9:21 pm

The Guy in the Glass

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (473.2)

Years ago I came across a poem entitled "The Man in the
Glass" by Dale Wimbrow. I looked it up on the Internet
and discovered a website maintained by his children:
http://www.theguyintheglass.com. It contains the
original version written in 1934 and published in The
American Magazine as "The Guy in the Glass." Here is
that version containing timeless truths about
integrity.

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf*,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father or Mother or Wife
Who judgment upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

Judging from the devoted words of his children, Mr.
Wimbrow never cheated the guy in his glass.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

*Webster's meaning of pelf is "1 ill-gotten gains;
booty 2 money or wealth regarded with contempt."

© 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 14 Feb 2017, 10:53 pm

. Strategies for Teenhood

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts ( 456.1)

One of the toughest jobs in the world is being a
teenager. Everything is in transition. Everything is
intense--even apathy.

Kids on the brink of adulthood have to cope with
inconsistencies and conflicts. A desire to be special
and different clashes with the need to belong and fit
in. The desire for independence collides with an
aversion to self-reliance and personal responsibility.

I want to suggest five strategies that can make the
journey through adolescence less painful and more
enjoyable:

One: Don't run from responsibility; run toward it. The
sooner you become visibly responsible, the sooner you
will be authentically independent and free to do what
you want and be what you want.

Two: Be yourself. You don't need orange hair, a nose
ring or tattoos to be special. Dressing or behaving in
extreme ways to stand out or blend in can seem like a
desperate demand for attention. Discover your talents
and build your character, and you will be not only
noticed but respected.

Three: Resist the seduction of selfishness and
short-sightedness. People who think only of their wants
and needs sentence themselves to a dark and lonely
dungeon. Don't confuse pleasure with happiness. Just
because it feels good doesn't make it good. Don't trade
all your tomorrows for today.

Four: Don't expect too much or settle for too little.
No one can make you happy, but you can be happy. Hang
out with people who bring out the best in you, and be
the kind of person who brings out the best in others.

Five: Control your attitudes and you will control your
life. You can't always control what happens to you but
you can always control what happens in you. Remember,
pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice. So is
happiness.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2007 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 04 Feb 2017, 11:45 pm

Strategies for Teenhood

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts ( 456.1)

One of the toughest jobs in the world is being a
teenager. Everything is in transition. Everything is
intense--even apathy.

Kids on the brink of adulthood have to cope with
inconsistencies and conflicts. A desire to be special
and different clashes with the need to belong and fit
in. The desire for independence collides with an
aversion to self-reliance and personal responsibility.

I want to suggest five strategies that can make the
journey through adolescence less painful and more
enjoyable:

One: Don't run from responsibility; run toward it. The
sooner you become visibly responsible, the sooner you
will be authentically independent and free to do what
you want and be what you want.

Two: Be yourself. You don't need orange hair, a nose
ring or tattoos to be special. Dressing or behaving in
extreme ways to stand out or blend in can seem like a
desperate demand for attention. Discover your talents
and build your character, and you will be not only
noticed but respected.

Three: Resist the seduction of selfishness and
short-sightedness. People who think only of their wants
and needs sentence themselves to a dark and lonely
dungeon. Don't confuse pleasure with happiness. Just
because it feels good doesn't make it good. Don't trade
all your tomorrows for today.

Four: Don't expect too much or settle for too little.
No one can make you happy, but you can be happy. Hang
out with people who bring out the best in you, and be
the kind of person who brings out the best in others.

Five: Control your attitudes and you will control your
life. You can't always control what happens to you but
you can always control what happens in you. Remember,
pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice. So is
happiness.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2007 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 10:39 pm

What I've Learned:
The Perspective From 13-Year-Olds
By Michael Josephson, 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.

© 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 12 Nov 2016, 3:43 pm

Keep Your Fork

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (987.4) 

When a pessimist is told there's a light at the end of
the tunnel, he's likely to assume it's an onrushing
train. According to journalist Sydney Harris, "A cynic
is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the
past; he's prematurely disappointed in the future."

Pessimism and cynicism are fashionable these days, but
it's the people who see and celebrate the positive
aspects of life who live best. According to a
well-traveled story, when Tillie died in her 90s, her
friends were taken aback when they viewed her body and
noticed a fork in her right hand. Tillie knew this
would provoke questions, and she had instructed her
pastor to give anyone who asked about the fork a copy
of a signed note from her that read:
"I'm glad you asked about the fork. I've been to lots
of church socials and potluck dinners in my life, and
one thing I've noticed is when the dishes and flatware
for the main course are being cleared, someone usually
says, 'Keep your fork.' I loved that part because I
knew dessert, the best part of dinner, was coming. So
even as I pass from this life, I wanted a fork in my
hand to remind you that the best is yet to come." 
British wit Samuel Johnson called hope a species of
happiness. To the extent we can discipline ourselves to
choose our attitudes, it only makes sense to think
positively and be hopeful. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 
© 2016 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 


Deal or No Deal

  by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (460.1) 

Sarah's mom agreed to let her 16-year-old go to a party
if she promised to be home by midnight. But as the
Cinderella hour approached, Sarah did a quick
risk/reward calculation. She knew her mom would be
angry and probably ground her, but she was having so
much fun she decided it was worth it. Sure enough, when
she got home at 2:00 a.m., her mom was waiting for her,
enraged that Sarah had violated her promise but
relieved she was safe.

"Breaking your word was bad enough," her mom said, "but
how could you be so cruel and selfish not to call and
say you were safe? I was worried sick." Sarah finished
off an evening of bad choices with another: "You forced
me into agreeing. The curfew was unfair. As to your
worrying, that was your choice. I was perfectly safe.
Just tell me the punishment and let me go to bed."

This is ugly.

Sarah's first mistake was to think she had a right to
break her promise because she was "forced" into it.
Mom's proposition was "Deal or no deal?" Sarah made a
deal and, like it or not, she was morally bound to keep
her word.

Her second mistake was to think she could buy off the
moral duty to keep her promise simply by accepting
punishment. Her mom's trust wasn't mended because Sarah
paid a penalty. Ultimately, the issue was not about
curfews and parties; it was about trust and
credibility. Her lack of remorse and accountability
only made things worse, critically damaging her
relationship with her mom.

Her third mistake was to think, despite her refusal to
accept responsibility for inflicting mental anguish on
her mom, that she wasn't responsible. She was. If she
bothered to think about it, Sarah knew her conduct
would cause gut-wrenching worry, every bit as painful
as a punch to the stomach. A person is ethically
accountable for the predictable consequences of their
actions.

In a nutshell, Sarah did not act with character. She
was untrustworthy, irresponsible, disrespectful and
unkind. It will take her a long time to build the
healthy bonds of trust that both she and her mom want
and need.

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Oct 2016, 10:51 pm

Learning From Pigeons

  by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (459.2)

During an experiment, pigeons were put in cages with
one green and one red button. In one cage, if the birds
pecked the green button, they got food every time. In
the other, the green button yielded food erratically
and the pigeons had to persist to get enough of it. In
both cases, pecking the red button did nothing. Both
sets of birds thrived, learning what they had to do to
survive and ignoring the red button that yielded no
food. But when the birds that were used to getting a
reward every time were put in the cage that fed them
only occasionally, they failed to adapt. They hit their
heads against the cage and pecked wildly at everything
in sight.

There are two worthwhile lessons from this study:
First, the pigeons quickly learned from experience to
avoid the red button because it was unproductive. There
are lots of people who would lead smoother and happier
lives if they just stopped pushing red buttons that
never give them what they want.

Second, even birds that have it too easy get spoiled
and develop an entitlement mentality that prevents them
from adapting to situations where they can solve their
problems if they just work harder. Some people are like
that, too. They don't deal well with new circumstances,
especially those that require persistence.

Part of being responsible is learning from experience
to appreciate the benefits of tenacity and the wisdom
of avoiding useless, harmful and self-defeating
patterns of behavior. 

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 20 Oct 2016, 7:52 pm

. Can I Borrow $100?

Tim was disappointed that his father didn't attend the
last soccer game of the season, but he wasn't
surprised. Tim was a mature 10-year-old and he
understood that lots of clients depended on his dad,
who had to work most nights and weekends. Still, it
made him sad, especially since this year he won the
league's most valuable player award.

One evening Tim got up the nerve to interrupt his
father's work to ask him how much lawyers actually make
per hour. His father was annoyed and gruffly answered,
"Well, they pay me $300 an hour."

Tim gulped and said, "Wow, that's a lot. Would you lend
me $100?"

"Of course not," his father barked. "Please, let me
work."

Later, the father felt guilty and went to Tim's room
where he found him sobbing. "Son," he said, "I'm sorry.
If you need money of course I'll lend it to you. But
can I ask why?"

Tim said, "Daddy, I know your time is really worth a
lot and with the $200 I already have, I'll have enough.
Can I buy an hour so you can come to the awards banquet
on Friday?"

It hit his father like a punch to the heart when he
realized his son needed him even more than his clients
did and that he needed to be there for his son more
than he needed money or career accolades. He hugged his
son and said, "I'm so proud of you, nothing could keep
me away."

Lots of parents are stretched to their limit trying to
balance business demands and family needs. It's always
a matter of priorities. But if we don't arrange our
lives to be there for our children, they will regret
it--and after it's too late, so will we.

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. This story
is derived and adapted from one that has been
circulated on the Internet without attribution. The
original source is unknown.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 06 Oct 2016, 6:03 pm

The Doctrine of Relative Filth 

  By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (451.1)

In the early nineties I was asked to spend a full day
talking about ethics with the entire California Senate.
I was their punishment. Three senators were convicted
the previous year and voters passed an ethics
initiative including a requirement that legislators
receive education on principles of ethics. 

This was a high-profile, high-prestige program and I
didn't want to be naïve about the political realities
and rationalizations in Sacramento, so I spent days
interviewing senators and staffers.

During one interview a very senior staffer confided,
"We need this program. People really lie a lot up
here." I wondered, should I act surprised? "Lying in
the state's capitol? I'm shocked!" But before I could
respond the staffer added, "I hardly ever lie." 

"Gee," I thought, "do you hardly ever take bribes?"

Though his statement about lying sounded like a
confession, he wasn't embarrassed at all. In fact, he
was proud. "Hardly ever lying" made him morally
superior. In a culture where lying is common, the
occasional liar feels like a saint. In the land of the
blind, the one-eyed man is king. 

I've heard variations of this justification--"I'm not
so bad as long as others are worse"--so many times I've
given it a name: The Doctrine of Relative Filth.

It's a rationalization used by cheating athletes and
coaches, dishonest businessmen, and others who minimize
their moral shortcomings by comparing themselves to
others who have even lower standards. 

What a pathetic defense! People of character aren't
satisfied being better than someone else. They strive
to be the best they can be. 

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Fri 30 Sep 2016, 7:59 pm

. One Way to Change Your Life--Change Your
Expectations

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (967.1) 

Einstein said it's a form of insanity to keep doing the
same thing over and over and expect a different result.
So, if you want something different, do something
different, or change your expectations, or both.

In my own life, I've found that adjusting my
expectations has made a big difference in my ability to
enjoy my life.

Unmet expectations are frequent and potent sources of
disappointment and resentment--both of which generate
unhappiness. For a long time, however, I resisted the
idea of changing my expectations because it seemed as
if I was just lowering my standards so I could become
more accepting of failure, mediocrity or a lack of
follow-through.

Recently, I discovered I could comfortably adjust my
perspective about expectations in a way that has
dramatically reduced frustration without compromising
my integrity.

I came to realize I have two very different sorts of
expectations.

The first relates to my aspirational standards--what I
want and hope for from myself, and what I often think
I'm entitled to from others. In this sense of the word
I think it is reasonable and proper to expect the
people I deal with to be wise, prudent and genuinely
grateful. Or, in another venue, I expect my teenage
children to really want to spend time with me.

The second type of expectation is a prediction, not a
standard. It is a reflection of what I realistically
think will happen--how I truly expect people to act.

When I impose my aspirational expectations on others I
am bound to be disappointed and often my
judgmentalnesss is resented by those who have
disappointed me. On the other hand, when I look at
events through the lens of realistic expectations in
the context of the way things really are rather than
how I want them to be, it is more likely that I will be
pleasantly surprised than frustrated.

I've come to realize that expecting people to meet my
hopes and desires is not only unfair, it's unrealistic.
Human nature is such that expecting all people to be
wise, prudent and grateful all the time is foolish, and
when I put myself in the position of a teenager and
realize how much more important it was to me to spend
time with my friends than with my parents I realize my
"expectations" had no basis in reality or common sense.

I find I still hope for the best, but expect much less.

So when the adults in my life are uninformed, careless
or ungrateful, or my children seem neglectful, it just
doesn't annoy me as much.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 10 Sep 2016, 5:14 pm

Angels of Mercy

  by Michael Josephson, Character Counts (420.1) 

A few years ago, Dave, a dear friend, went through a
terrible throat surgery and long hospitalization.
Though he's a professional motivational speaker who
frequently talks about the power of positive thinking,
he told me he was surprised to really see how much his
attitude affected the amount of mental anguish and
physical pain he experienced. Even more, he was
surprised how much his attitude was affected by the
attitudes of the health care workers he saw each day. 

"You could just feel the difference between the few who
genuinely cared about you as a person and those who
thought of you as one of their daily burdens," Dave
said. Unfortunately, the majority of men and women who
came in and out of his room were coldly indifferent.
They treated him as a medical problem rather than as a
person suffering from a medical problem and he found
the experience demoralizing, depressing and deeply
disrespectful. 

Many doctors and nurses seemed annoyed by his presence
and his problems. They would often talk about his
condition in front of him as if he weren't there. Most
failed to demonstrate the slightest concern with the
effect their callous words and demeanor might have on
their patient. Dave found this attitude outright toxic.


In contrast, the few workers who went out of their way
to lift his spirits and brighten his day with simple
but sincere expressions of concern and encouragement
weren't just good medical professionals. They were good
people. These "angels of mercy" who bring their hearts
to their work, knowing that mental sunshine and flowers
can be as important as drugs, deserve our love and
admiration. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 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 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 8:47 pm

Angels of Mercy

  by Michael Josephson, Character Counts (420.1) 

A few years ago, Dave, a dear friend, went through a
terrible throat surgery and long hospitalization.
Though he's a professional motivational speaker who
frequently talks about the power of positive thinking,
he told me he was surprised to really see how much his
attitude affected the amount of mental anguish and
physical pain he experienced. Even more, he was
surprised how much his attitude was affected by the
attitudes of the health care workers he saw each day. 

"You could just feel the difference between the few who
genuinely cared about you as a person and those who
thought of you as one of their daily burdens," Dave
said. Unfortunately, the majority of men and women who
came in and out of his room were coldly indifferent.
They treated him as a medical problem rather than as a
person suffering from a medical problem and he found
the experience demoralizing, depressing and deeply
disrespectful. 

Many doctors and nurses seemed annoyed by his presence
and his problems. They would often talk about his
condition in front of him as if he weren't there. Most
failed to demonstrate the slightest concern with the
effect their callous words and demeanor might have on
their patient. Dave found this attitude outright toxic.


In contrast, the few workers who went out of their way
to lift his spirits and brighten his day with simple
but sincere expressions of concern and encouragement
weren't just good medical professionals. They were good
people. These "angels of mercy" who bring their hearts
to their work, knowing that mental sunshine and flowers
can be as important as drugs, deserve our love and
admiration. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 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 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 27 Aug 2016, 10:09 pm

-- Robert Lewis Stevenson 
 How and When to Convey Hard Truths -- Motive, Tact,
Tone and Timing

  by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (971.1)

Trustworthiness is essential to good relationships, and
honesty is essential to trustworthiness. Being honest
isn't simply telling the truth, though. It's also being
sincere and forthright. Thus, it's just as dishonest to
deceive someone by half-truths or silence as it is to
lie.

But what if honesty requires us to volunteer
information that could be damaging or hurtful?

For example, should you say something when a coworker
begins to dress or act in a way that's generating
ridicule and damaging his or her credibility? What if
you discover your friend's husband is having an affair?
Do you tell your brother bad things you know about a
woman he's getting involved with?

It's easy to rationalize silence in such volatile
situations because it's less dangerous for you. Telling
hard truths, however well-intended, can seriously
damage relationships. On the other hand, silence can be
viewed as a betrayal of trust if it's later discovered
that you withheld information.

When considering conveying a hard truth, and the
principles of honesty and kindness can be in conflict,
there's no single right thing to do. In such moments,
be respectful and heed these four critical guidelines:

1. Motive. Be sure and pure about your reasons. Your
intentions must be honorable and constructive; have the
well-being of the other person, or at least the
organization, at heart. If you are conveying a hard
truth to punish or humiliate the other person, or
simply to speak your mind it is not about truth, it's
about meeting a personal need or desire, don't
rationalize.

2. Tact. Choose and prepare your words carefully. Your
wording matters a great deal. If you know the
information could be potentially devastating, rehearse
to lessen the chance that you'll be misinterpreted or
that the person will not perceive your caring and hear
your message.

3. Tone. When speaking, avoid self-righteousness or
accusations.

4. Timing. Context is crucial. Pick a place and time
that will lend itself to a frank interchange. Be sure
the setting is appropriate to allow the person to
absorb and consider the information. Avoid impulsive
statements likely to be construed as an attack.

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 22 Aug 2016, 5:44 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.

© 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 14 Aug 2016, 4:08 pm

Listening: A Vital Dimension of Respect 

  by Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (962.4) 

We demonstrate the virtue of respect for others by
being courteous and civil and treating everyone in a
manner that acknowledges and honors basic human
dignity.

An important but often neglected aspect of respect is
listening to what others say. Respectful listening is
more than hearing. It requires us to consider what's
being said. That's hard when we've heard it before,
aren't interested, or don't think much of the person
talking. It's even worse when we act like we're
listening but are just waiting for our turn to speak.

The fact is, most of us don't listen well, certainly
not all the time, and especially with those closest to
us. Kids are especially adept at tuning out their
parents, but parents are equally skilled at ignoring or
dismissing as foolish or irrelevant what kids have to
say.

The disrespect of not listening is most apparent when
others ignore or patronize us (rolling their eyes in a
show of impatience or contempt or faking interest with
a vacant stare or wandering eyes).

We all want to know that what we say and think matters.
But if we want others to care about what we say, we
need to care about what they say. Like all the
important virtues, we teach respect best by
demonstrating it. So listen up! It'll make people feel
better, and you may learn something.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 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

Slow Dance 

  by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (789.2)

I once heard the chairman and CEO of a huge public
company tell a roomful of ambitious, hardworking,
dedicated executives that if he had to do it all over
again, he would have spent more time with his family.
That's not news, but to Type-A personalities, it's
easier said than done.

David L. Weatherford's poem "Slow Dance" sends the
message in a particularly compelling way:

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round
Or listened to rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight
Or gazed at the sun fading into the night?
You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
Time is short, the music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, "How are you?" do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores running through your head?
You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
Time is short, the music won't last.

Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow,"
And in your haste not seen his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die,
'Cause you never had time to call and say hi?
You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
Time is short, the music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It's like an unopened gift thrown away.
Life is not a race, so take it slower,
Hear the music before your song is over. 

The question isn't whether this makes sense to you.
It's what are you going to do about it, and when are
you going to start? 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 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.


Benny: The Man on the Bus 

Michael Josephson of Character Counts (447.3)

This is a parable about leadership.

A teacher assigned her 12th-graders to pick a leader
and write an essay. Most kids wrote about famous
people, but a student named Julius titled his paper,
"Benny: The Man on the Bus."

"I've been taking a public bus to school for years," he
wrote. "Most passengers were going to work and almost
no one ever talked to anyone else.

"About a year ago, an elderly man got on the bus and
said loudly to the driver, 'Good morning!' Most people
looked up annoyed and the bus driver just grunted. The
next day the man got on at the same stop and again he
said loudly, 'Good morning!' to the driver. By the
fifth day, the driver greeted the man with a cheerful
'Good morning!' and Benny said loudly, 'My name is
Benny. What's yours?' The driver said his name was
Ralph. 

"That was the first time any of us heard the driver's
name and soon people began to talk to each other and
say hello to Ralph and Benny. After about a month,
Benny extended his cheerful 'Good morning!' to the
whole bus. Within a few days his 'Good morning!' was
returned by a whole bunch of 'Good mornings' and the
entire bus seemed to be friendlier. 

"If a leader is someone who makes something happen,
Benny was our leader in friendliness.

"A month ago, Benny didn't get on the bus. Some of us
thought he died and no one knew what to do. The bus got
awful quiet again.

"So I started to act like Benny and say, 'Good
morning!' to everyone and they cheered up again. I
guess I'm now the leader."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2016 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 

There Are No Senseless Acts of Kindness

by Michael Josephson of Character Counts (448.2)

I've mentioned before that, despite my great admiration
for people who are instinctively and consistently kind,
kindness does not come naturally to me. Yet the older I
get, the more I agree with Abraham Heschel, who said,
"When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I
am old, I admire kind people." Henry James was more
emphatic when he said, "Three things in human life are
important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be
kind. And the third is to be kind."

In 1994, Dr. Chuck Wall, a professor of human relations
and management at Bakersfield College in California,
came up with a concept that turned into an influential
movement. Weary of hearing about "senseless acts of
violence," he began to teach and talk about "random and
senseless acts of kindness." The idea was simple: the
best response to a world coarsened by selfishness and
cruelty was individual acts of kindness. 

In 1999, Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote a novel called Pay
It Forward (later turned into a movie) that builds on
Dr. Wall's initial inspiration. It starts with a
teacher's assignment to "Think of an Idea for World
Change, and Put It Into Action." Trevor, the
12-year-old hero, comes up with an idea. If he does
something "real good" for three people and asks in
return that instead of them "paying him back," they
"pay it forward" by doing a good deed for three other
people, who are in turn asked to pay it forward, the
math quickly shows that he could change the world.

Whether acts of kindness are random or spontaneous as
advocated by Dr. Wall or premeditated as proposed by
Ms. Hyde, acts of kindness are certainly not senseless.
To the contrary, they're the best possible proof of
good sense. Every single person can send forth ripples
of kindness and compassion simply by being nice. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2016 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 26 Jul 2016, 12:25 pm

The Sultan's Test

  By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (442.4) 

According to legend, an old Sultan, known as a wise and
just leader, was to choose his successor from among his
nine sons. He gave the sons each a single seed and
directed them to plant and nurture it. "In one year,"
he said, "I will judge the results of your efforts and
choose the next Sultan."

At the end of the year, the Sultan examined each pot
and found eight healthy plants and one barren pot
presented by his youngest son. He asked what happened
and the son replied, "Despite my greatest efforts I
could not make my seed grow. I think I was chosen to
serve rather than lead."

"My son," the Sultan said, "you have been chosen to
serve, but you shall do so as the next Sultan. You
alone among your brothers are a man of honor." He then
revealed that all the seeds he had given were dead, and
he banished his other eight sons for dishonoring his
name.

Every temptation to cheat is a test of integrity, but,
like the eight banished sons, we usually don't see it
that way. Instead, we often see life's challenges as a
test of cleverness, a test of what we can get away
with.

Character is revealed by how we behave when we think no
one is looking. But people of character know that
someone is always looking.

In this case, the cheating sons yielded no reward for
their cheating. This is not always the case. Cheaters
sometimes do prosper--for a while.

But in the end, it's like a bargain with the devil.
Just ask the dozens of brilliant executives from Enron,
Adelphia, Rite-Aid, Dynegy, WorldCom, ImClone and Tyco
who lived lives of enormous luxury and enjoyed the envy
and admiration of millions -- until they were found
out. Now they face complete disgrace and years of
prison.

Didn't they know it was all a test? 

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 

If You Were Arrested for Kindness 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (946.5) 

If you were arrested for kindness, would there be
enough evidence to convict you?

Some people cheer up a room by entering it, others by
leaving it.

What do you bring to your interactions with workmates,
friends, and family? Is it encouragement, optimism, or
kind words? Or is it pessimism, criticism, or cynicism?

People often forget what we say and usually what we do,
but as Maya Angelou said, "They always remember how we
made them feel."

Here are some other wise words about kindness:

"Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind
word is never thrown away." -- Sir Arthur Helps

"You will regret many things in life, but you will
never regret being too kind or too fair." -- Brian
Tracy

"Don't wait for people to be kind. Show them how." --
Anonymous

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the
grandest intention." -- Oscar Wilde

"That best portion of a good man's life: his little,
nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."
-- William Wordsworth

"Kindness is loving people more than they deserve." --
Joseph Joubert

"We are made kind by being kind." -- Eric Hoffer

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right
place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid
the wrong thing at the tempting moment." -- Benjamin
Franklin

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know
how soon it will be too late." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Wed 06 Jul 2016, 12:23 pm

A Sad, Sad Ending

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (469.5)

Although I wasn't a fan of Ken Lay, convicted former
founder and chairman of Enron, I was deeply saddened to
learn of his sudden death [some time ago]. It was a
tragic ending to the long fall from grace to disgrace.

Ken Lay was not a thoroughgoing villain. This son of a
minister from a small town in Missouri had many great
qualities that helped him become an American business
icon before he became a symbol of greed, corruption and
self-denial. He was smart (he had a Ph.D. in
economics), industrious and, according to people who
knew him, charming and charitable.

During the bulk of his business life he received
accolades and admiration as the embodiment of the
rags-to-riches possibilities of free enterprise.

It all began to unravel [some] years ago and, ever
since, his life was more hell than heaven, marked by
accusations, vilification and ridicule.

He was convicted ... and faced living the rest of his
life in prison. Although he died before being
sentenced, he lived to see the Ken Lay YMCA in Fort
Bend County, Texas, remove his name.

His death is a bookend to scores of ruined lives that
started with the suicide of Lay's friend, the former
vice chairman of Enron, J. Clifford Baxter. Baxter shot
himself in his Mercedes shortly after the scandal
broke. His note to his wife sums up the terrible cost
of shame: 

"Carol, I am so sorry for this. I feel I just can't
go on. I have always tried to do the right thing but
where there was once great pride now it's gone. I
love you and the children so much. I just can't be
any good to you or myself. The pain is overwhelming.
Please try to forgive me. Cliff" 

In the end, both men died of self-inflicted wounds, but
whether just or not, no one should rejoice at such a
sad, sad ending.

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 19 Jun 2016, 10:57 pm

The Parable of Brother Leo

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (942.1) 

An old legend tells of a monastery in France well-known
throughout Europe because of the extraordinary
leadership of a man known only as Brother Leo. Several
monks began a pilgrimage to visit Brother Leo to learn
from him. Almost immediately the monks began to bicker
over who should do various chores.

On the third day they met another monk who was also
going to the monastery and he joined their party. This
monk never complained or shirked a duty, and whenever
the others fought over a chore, he would gracefully
volunteer and simply do it himself. By the last day the
other monks were following his example, and they worked
together smoothly.

When they reached the monastery and asked to see
Brother Leo, the man who greeted them laughed: "But our
brother is among you!" And he pointed to the fellow who
had joined them late in the trip.

Today, many people seek leadership positions not so
much for what they can do for others, but for what the
position can do for them: status, connections, perks or
future advantage. As a result, they do service
primarily as an investment, a way to build an
impressive resume.

The parable about Brother Leo teaches another model of
leadership, where leaders are preoccupied with serving
rather than being followed, with giving rather than
getting, and doing rather than demanding. It's a form
of leadership based on example, not command. It's
called servant leadership.

Can you imagine how much better things would be if more
politicians, educators and business executives saw
themselves as servant leaders?

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 13 Jun 2016, 9:20 pm

A Person of Character

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (937.5) 

Let's face it, it's not easy to become a person of
character. It takes a good heart, but it also requires
wisdom to know right from wrong and the discipline to
do right even when it's costly, inconvenient or
difficult.

Becoming a person of character is a lifelong quest to
be better.

A person of character values honesty and integrity and
pays whatever price is needed to be worthy of trust,
earning the pride of family and friends and
self-respect.

A person of character plays fair even when others don't
and values no achievement unless it was attained with
honor.

A person of character has strong convictions, yet
avoids self-righteousness.

A person of character believes in the inherent dignity
of all people and treats everyone with respect, even
those whose ideas and ideologies evoke strong
disagreement.

A person of character deals with criticism
constructively and is self-confident enough to take
good advice, admit and learn from mistakes, feel and
express genuine remorse and apologize graciously.

A person of character knows what's important,
sacrifices the now for later, is in control of
attitudes and actions, overcomes negative impulses and
makes the best of every situation.

A person of character willingly faces fears and tackles
unpleasant tasks.

A person of character is consistently and
self-consciously kind and empathetic, giving generously
without concern for reward.

A person of character feels and expresses gratitude
freely and frequently.

A person of character is not defeated by failure or
dissuaded by disappointment.

A person of character seeks true happiness in living a
life of purpose and meaning, placing a higher value on
significance than success. 

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/ 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 09 Jun 2016, 9:20 pm

. Sharpen Your Ax

By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (937.4) 

Ben was a new lumberjack who swung his ax with great
power. He could fell a tree in 20 strokes, and in the
first few days he produced twice as much lumber as
anyone else. By week's end, he was working even harder,
but his lead was dwindling.

One friend told him he had to swing harder. Another
said he had to work longer. Neither idea worked.
Finally, an old fellow asked Ben how often he sharpened
his ax. Ben said he had no time; there was too much to
do.

The lesson of this parable contains the remedy to
ineffectiveness in today's workplace.

Dedicated executives may work enormous hours not
realizing how much their failure to sharpen their ax by
taking time off reduces their effectiveness. As one
exceeds the limits of intellectual and physical
stamina, both the quantity and quality of work suffer.
Fatigue affects judgment and mental acuity, and soon
the time and energy needed to fix errors offsets the
extra time devoted to the task.

Organizations fail to sharpen their ax when they give
short shrift to screening job applicants and training
new hires. Burdened with heavy workloads, managers
consumed by a sense of urgency to fill open positions
succumb to the "warm body" fallacy--the false idea that
anyone is better than no one.

You need three things in a good employee: competence,
commitment, and character. Shortcomings in any area
will be costly, consuming time and resources and
damaging morale. Sharpening your ax in this setting
means being more diligent in background checks, more
selective in hiring, more serious in training, and more
demanding during probation.

Without the right tools, hard work isn't enough.

For Commentaries go to:
http://whatwillmatter.com/category/commentary/

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2016 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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