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Michael Josephson of Character Counts

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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Aug 2012, 10:58 am

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

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (678.3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I've learned that I am responsible for me.

I've learned to give everybody a second chance.

I've learned that teenagers will do dumb things.

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

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

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

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 05 Aug 2012, 7:49 pm

Good Ethics is More Than Good Business

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (759.2)

Ethics is a popular topic at corporate meetings today
because managers correctly see the benefits. Good
things tend to happen to companies that consistently
do the right thing, and bad things tend to happen to
those that even occasionally do the wrong thing. Being
ethical is playing the odds.

Ethical companies have a competitive edge because
people prefer to deal with firms they trust. They also
benefit from high credibility; being believed is an
enormous asset. In addition, ethical companies attract
and retain employees better because they have higher
morale. And finally, good ethics generate a good
reputation, good will, and loyalty. So it's true: Good
ethics is good business.

Still, I question the strategy that most companies use
to motivate employees to be ethical: stressing how
their ethical behavior will benefit the corporation.
The problem rationale is grounded in self-interest
rather than morality; it is essentially amoral. It has
nothing to do with ethics.

Doing the right thing to get something in return is an
investment, not a demonstration of character. Ethics
based on self-interest is situational; ethics based on
moral convictions is reliable. It's the difference
between acting ethically and being ethical.

Trying to motivate people to do the right thing by
stressing benefits rather than values and virtue turns
decision making into a cold cost-benefit analysis
rather than a reflection of what's right.

But if a company encourages employees to make
decisions based on the supposed advantages, why should
anyone put the firm's interests above his own? In the
absence of authentic moral conviction, why should
employees refrain from unethical or illegal conduct if
they think it will save their job or enhance their
compensation? Clearly, what's good for an enterprise
is not always good for its employees.

My point is, it's foolish and fruitless to expect most
employees to sacrifice their financial well-being for
the good of the company. On the other hand, many will
do so in the name of honor, as a matter of conscience,
and to earn the esteem and admiration of family and
friends.

Corporations have a much better chance of deterring
improper conduct by appealing to conscience and
principle rather than to risks and rewards.

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Jul 2012, 8:42 am

Emotional Resilience

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (743.1)

Despite romanticized myths about the gloriously
carefree teenage years, adolescence has always been an
emotional battlefield where young people must fight
their way through insecurity, depression and anger.

For many teens, classrooms, playgrounds and hallways
are hostile environments where name-calling, malicious
gossip, taunting, and physical bullying regularly
threaten their emotional and physical well-being

Technology has not made kids meaner but it has
provided them with new weapons to inflict more severe
and lasting damage on each other. And while greater
vigilance by schools and stiffer penalties for bullies
may reduce unkind behavior, somewhat more is needed to
protect young people from each other.

Hard as we may try, we can't insulate children from
all negative interactions with their peers, excessive
pressure to succeed, debilitating self-doubt, or
feelings of alienation. We can, however, help them
develop emotional resilience, the inner strength to
prevent or purge toxic feelings.

Emotional resilience consists of two major attributes:
mental toughness and realistic optimism. Mental
toughness is the ability to handle problems and
pressures without panic or surrender. It's the ability
to overcome negative emotions and to rebound from
disappointment, disruptive change, illness, or
misfortune without being overwhelmed or acting in
dysfunctional ways.

Through discussions, simulations and counseling, we
can teach kids how to discount or ignore hurtful
words, to lose without being defeated, to fail and not
become failures, and to deal with rejection without
becoming hopelessly dejected. We can also instill a
sense of realistic optimism. We can give them
confidence in their capacity to survive, knowing that
tough times are temporary. We can teach them Little
Orphan Annie's undaunted certainty that, no matter how
bleak it is today, "the sun will come out tomorrow."

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 22 Jul 2012, 10:58 pm

No One Is Too Poor To Give

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (678.4)

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) 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:20 am

Stars Above and Stars Within
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (756.4)

According to an article in "The Wall Street Journal,"
two-thirds of the world's population, including almost
everyone in the continental United States and Europe,
no longer see a starry sky where they live.

The reason: City lights prevent us from seeing much
more than a canopy of gray shadows. What a pity. In
rural or remote areas with little or no artificial
lights, about 2,000 stars can be seen on a clear
night, and the experience can be breathtaking.

Whether we credit God or physics, how can we avoid the
conclusion that our cosmos is governed by forces that
dwarf anything our simple species can muster? How can
we not feel like transitory snowflakes in a universe
that measures time in billions of years and space in
trillions of miles?

At the same time, a star-filled sky can be both
empowering and inspiring. It can cause us to ponder
the meaning and purpose of our lives, and it has
ignited the imagination of poets, philosophers,
theologians, and scientists for centuries. It's bad
enough that the technology of contemporary
civilization prevents us from seeing the
extraterrestrial stars. It's worse when we allow the
shallow values and frenetic pace of modern society to
prevent us from seeing and following the aspirations
and principles that are our own internal guiding
stars.

Every day we're challenged to rise above petty office
politics, senseless family conflicts, negative
emotions, and unbridled ego so that we can live our
lives large and be worthy of our place in the
universe. We may not be able to see the stars by
looking up, but if we close our eyes and look inward,
we can find and follow the best within us.

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 28 May 2011, 5:06 pm

How Do You Live Your Dash?

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (697.2)

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

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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 21 Mar 2011, 3:50 pm

Blessing or Curse?

"At a Nazi death camp during WWII a Jewish prisoner noticed another praying. 'What are you praying for?' he asked. 'I'm praising God.' The first prisoner was astounded. 'You're praising God? In this hell of sadistic murderers? How could you praise God when we have all been cursed?' The man said, 'I'm praising God that we are not sadistic murderers.'"

Source: Michael Josephson's Character Counts.

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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 08 Jan 2011, 5:36 pm

The John Wooden Pledge

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (674.2)

The tidal wave of praise and tributes commemorating Coach John Wooden's passing makes it hard to add something new. My effort is the following pledge derived from his "Pyramid of Success" and some of his favorite maxims. I invite you to take the pledge and pass it on to others.

I pledge to improve and safeguard my character and to myself be true, being faithful to my convictions in all I say and do.

I will strive to do what's right and let my conscience be my guide, knowing my worth is measured by what I am inside.

I'll take on each day enthusiastically and give every task my all.

I will not whine, complain, or make excuses, even if I fall.

I will live my life with purpose, thinking ahead and having a plan.

I will never allow what I can't do interfere with what I can.

I will find opportunity in adversity and do things right the first time through and never be afraid to change or try something new.

I will be patient, poised, and confident, working toward each goal, being sure to govern my emotions and demonstrating self-control.

I will count my blessings daily and be grateful for what I possess, getting joy from moderation and avoiding all excess.

I will work hard and take initiative in order to excel, and I'll make big things happen by doing the little things well.

I will pursue victory with honor, not letting praise or criticism change how I act, and I'll strive to be worthy of pride and emulation, in reputation and in fact.

I will be sincere, honest, and loyal, worthy of other's trust.

I will be respectful and responsible, doing what I must.

I will always act with fairness and show others how much I care, and I'll be a good citizen and always do my share.

I will live my life with dignity, passion, and fun, and make each day my masterpiece when all is said and done.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

*Derived by Michael Josephson of the Josephson Institute of Ethics from the writings and philosophy of Coach John Wooden.

(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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 26 Dec 2010, 4:44 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) 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 18 Dec 2010, 3:40 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) 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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Dec 2010, 7:47 pm


As a Man Thinketh

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (672.3)
In the early 1900s, a little-known philosopher named James Allen wrote a powerful essay called "As a Man Thinketh" in which he argued that we are what we think, that a person's character is simply the sum of his thoughts. He went further to declare that our power to control our thoughts (whether we use it or not) is the power to mold our character and shape our destiny.
This is a profound insight, making us personally responsible not only for our conduct but for our circumstances.
He wrote, "As a plant springs from the seed, our actions, character, and even our circumstances spring from our thoughts." As long as we believe we're the creatures of outside conditions, we will fail to become the rightful masters of our lives. But if we do the hard work of reflecting continually to identify and modify our negative beliefs and attitudes, we'll be astonished at the rapid transformation it will produce in the material conditions of our lives.
Our thoughts and actions can be either jailors, imprisoning us in degrading circumstances, or angels of freedom, liberating us to achieve our noble potential.
The relationship between attitudes and circumstances is now well recognized, captured in aphorisms like "Change your attitudes and you change your life" and "It's not your aptitude but your attitude that determines your altitude."
But it's Allen's connection between thoughts and character that's especially interesting. Yes, our destiny is determined by our character, but our character is not determined by our destiny.
We can't always control when bad thoughts and negative impulses enter our minds, but we can decide to either nurture or reject them.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
(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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 20 Nov 2010, 1:14 pm

The Yuppie Lifestyle and Satisfaction
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (669.4)

Eliot said, "Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They do not mean to do harm...they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
How do we feel important? Often, it's by trying to obtain an image of success created by a culture that prizes getting ahead in terms of money and career. Think how much more integrity there would be if we understood how futile it is to pursue the empty vessel of prosperity.
In The Death of Ethics in America, Cal Thomas quotes a letter written to The Washington Post in the mid-1980s: "I've lived both lives, Yuppie and non-Yuppie," the person wrote. "In the first, I was married to a professional woman, and on our dual incomes we Club Med-ed, sports car-raced, alpine-skied, and Kennedy-Centered our 14-year marriage into oblivion. I'm now 42, remarried to a woman who gave up her professional career to provide full-time care for our one and five-year-old daughters, and living in Gaithersburg, Maryland--on one salary.

"Trips to Australia and Europe, Saturday night dining at Nathan's, and Wolf Trap concerts are distant memories. Vacations are now taken in our nine-year-old used pop-up camper, and dining out means 'Hooray! Daddy's bringing home a pizza.' We've just started into the second round of one hundred readings of Pat the Bunny for our one-year-old. Satisfaction level in my first life measured about 2 on the 10 scale. Measured now, satisfaction is about 9.5."
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
(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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I Owe It to My Family

Post  Admin on Sat 13 Nov 2010, 12:33 pm

I Owe It to My Family
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (668.4)
An angry woman once approached me after a speech to tell me off. "It's easy for you to talk about my responsibility to speak out or object to waste or wrongdoing," she said, "but I'm a single mother and my highest duty is to keep my job. If that means occasionally looking the other way, so be it. You have no business trying to make me feel guilty for putting my family first."
As the father of five, her criticism hit hard, and it took me a while to sort it through. I think we have to be careful about using our families as an excuse for choices that diminish our integrity. Financial security is surely important, but so is the moral example we set for our children and the foundation we give them to build their lives on.
Suppose you're faced with a difficult choice at work where you think you may be fired if you do what's right. Which is the better gift to your family: 1) to compromise your principles and send the message that you can't always afford to be ethical, or 2) to show that you can always afford ethics, that whatever happens you can make it, and that in this family, character matters and no job is worth dishonor?
Sometimes the dues we pay to maintain integrity are high, but the ultimate cost of moral compromise is much higher. In fact, the more an act of honor costs, the more it's worth. Every example of moral courage contributes to a lasting legacy that our children can and will be proud of all their lives. Don't give that up for the short-term benefits of security.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
(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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 07 Nov 2010, 2:14 pm

Coach Wooden, the Philosopher
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (665.2)
According to Henry David Thoreau, a philosopher is a person who seeks to understand and solve the most serious problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. A true philosopher, Thoreau added, is so committed to wisdom that he seeks to live wisely and so lives a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.
By this definition, John Wooden, my favorite coach and teacher, is every inch a great American philosopher. Here are just a few of his powerful insights:
On Perfection: "Perfection is an impossibility, but striving for perfection is not. Do the best you can. That is what counts."
On Management: "You'll get better cooperation and results if you are sincerely interested in people's families and interests, not simply in how they do their job."
On Learning: "Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow."
On Success: "You must be interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way."
On Trust: "You will be hurt occasionally if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough."
On Joy: "Mix idealism with realism and add hard work. This will often bring much more than you could ever hope for."
On Winning: "If you prepare properly, you may be outscored but you will never lose. You always win when you make the full effort to do the best of which you're capable."
You can read more in Be Quick--But Don't Hurry with Andrew Hill and Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court with Steve Jamison.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
(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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 09 Oct 2010, 1:10 pm

Forgiving Without Condoning or Forgetting
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (663.3)
I suspect all of us have been hurt in deep and lasting ways by the words or acts of another. It's normal in such situations to feel hostility toward, be angry with, and make negative judgments about the person who hurt us. If we continue to think we're right to be offended, the tendency is to carry the hurt and resentment in the form of a grudge. Usually this causes far more unhappiness for us than the person we're mad at.
Some religions speak of forgiveness as a moral duty, others simply as a worthy virtue. Still others impose certain preconditions on the wrongdoer before he or she is entitled to be forgiven. Whatever your religious views, it's clear to psychologists that the ability to forgive is closely correlated to happiness and mental health.
Some people refuse to even entertain the idea of forgiveness because they don't think the person they resent deserves to be forgiven. Others don't want to appear to condone or excuse the conduct, and they certainly don't want to reconcile with the person.
The essence of forgiveness is a voluntary decision to abandon the resentment, to let go of the anger, and to move on. It doesn't require or imply condoning, excusing, or forgetting. Nor does it require that the forgiver re-establish a relationship with the wrongdoer.
According to Dr. Ben Dean, the capacity to forgive is related to the character strength of empathy. People who can empathize with an offender and see things from that perspective are better able to forgive. He also says that the older we get, the more forgiving we're likely to become.
Hmmm. We usually get wiser, too. So maybe it's wise to forgive.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
(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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 02 Oct 2010, 7:55 am

The Power of Responsibility
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (663.1)
It's been said that the line between childhood and adulthood is crossed when we move from saying, "It got lost" to "I lost it." Indeed, being accountable and understanding and accepting the role our choices play in the things that happen are crucial signs of emotional and moral maturity. That's why responsibility is one of the main pillars of good character.
Many people have been seduced by the Peter Pan philosophy of refusing to grow up and avoiding the burdens implied in being accountable. Yes, responsibility sometimes requires us to do things that are unpleasant or even frightening. It asks us to carry our own weight, prepare and set goals, and exercise the discipline to reach our aspirations. But the benefits of accepting responsibility far outweigh the short-lived advantages of refusing to do so. No one makes his or her life better by avoiding responsibility. In fact, irresponsibility is a form of self-imposed servitude--to circumstances and to other people.
Responsibility is about our ability to respond to circumstances and to choose the attitudes, actions, and reactions that shape our lives. It is a concept of power that puts us in the driver's seat.
The grand panorama of the potential of our lives can only be appreciated when we begin to be accountable and self-reliant. Responsible people not only depend on themselves but show others that they can be depended on. This breeds trust, and trust is a key that opens many doors.
If you want more control over your life and the pleasures, prerogatives, and power of freedom and independence, all you have to do is be responsible.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
(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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Wed 22 Sep 2010, 5:46 pm

6. Teaching Our Children to Make Good Decisions
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (662.1)
Two young men in Florida removed a stop sign and brought it back to their fraternity house as a trophy. Shortly afterward, a fatal accident occurred at the sign-less intersection. The students were convicted of manslaughter.
In Tennessee, two teenagers were in a high-rise building. One dared the other to slide down a trash chute. His friend did so--right into an automatic trash compactor. The one who egged him into the fatal accident was traumatized, possibly for life.
Four college fraternity students in California were charged with manslaughter when a pledge they were hazing died after they forced him to drink gallons of water.
What makes these stories all the more tragic is that we're not talking about bad kids. We're talking about fundamentally decent kids who made really bad choices.
The recurring nightmare of caring parents is that, during the course of growing up, their children will seriously damage themselves by unwise decisions. An endless array of bad consequences can result from reckless conduct to impress friends, thrill seeking, or giving in to the temptation of drugs, alcohol, or sex. And when kids get involved with irresponsible, manipulative, cruel, selfish, or simply stupid people who call themselves friends, there's no telling what dumb things they will do.
All youngsters will make foolish mistakes, as we did. Still, we can equip them with reasoning tools that can help them see and avoid really big, bad choices.
We can improve their decision-making skills by talking to them often about the importance of acting rationally, even when everyone around them seems overtaken by impulse. We can tell them stories to help them evaluate situations and anticipate potential consequences.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
(c) 2009 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 12 Sep 2010, 1:42 pm

That's Just the Way I Am

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (661.1)

"That's just the way I am." When we hear this, someone's usually telling us to "Get off my back" or "Accept me as I am."

Often it's a response to us criticizing them. It could be about the person's chronic lateness, thoughtlessness, broken promises, physical or verbal abuse, or infidelity. Whatever it is, we're asked to let it go.

In the end, this is a ploy to get us to lower our expectations, based on the dubious idea that bad habits are an intrinsic part of character, and therefore beyond our control. We're expected to believe it's foolish and futile to expect others to change.

Lots of things, of course, are beyond our control: short stature, big bones, receding hairline. Fortunately, character is different. That's completely within our control. The poor and the rich, the slow and the smart, the plain and the pretty all have an equal opportunity to become people of character.

Sure, character can be influenced by heredity and environment, but it's determined by choice. No disposition, circumstance, or experience is so powerful that it forever fixes our character. Our character is never finished. It's constantly shaped and sculpted by the choices we make to nurture or ignore our more noble instincts and to surrender to, or overcome, negative impulses and corrupting temptations.

When it comes to what we demand of ourselves or others, we should never lower our standards. Character is a function of choice. Weaknesses and bad habits are not excuses not to get better.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
c) 2009 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 Sep 2010, 3:08 pm

Rules About Trust

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (648.5)

I've talked about it lots of times before: The high cost of lying and deception by politicians and police, corporate executives and clergy, and journalists, accountants, and educators has weakened every major social institution.

As each of these professions wages its separate battle to remove the cloud of suspicion and cynicism that hovers over it, there are certain truths about trust that must be understood and dealt with.

First, there's no shortcut to building trust. In fact, rebuilding trust on the rubble of lost credibility is much harder. The antidote is nothing less than scrupulous and consistent honesty--especially when the truth is costly.

Second, where trust is important, there are no small lies. In some ways, lies, however trivial they may seem, are like germs. Without the antibody of trust, they cause infections that can kill credibility.

Third, the lethal quality of lies lasts long after they're told. Even lies told years ago can have an immediate poisonous effect on trust when they're discovered. Think of all the prominent people who've been undone by the discovery of falsehoods on old resumes.

Fourth, while honesty and forthrightness may not always pay dividends, dishonesty and concealment always cost. In some settings, nothing good may come of admitting wrongdoing, but it can get a lot worse if you don't.

Fifth, lies breed other lies. It's harder to tell just one lie than to have just one potato chip. Once you start lying, it takes an ever-growing bodyguard of new falsehoods to protect the old ones.

Finally, don't be seduced by the "fight fire with fire" excuse or all you'll end up with are the ashes of your integrity. Self-justifications aside, you can't lie to a liar or cheat a cheater without becoming a liar or cheater.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

(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: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 6:32 pm

What's a Modern Parent to Do?
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (656.4)
A hit number in the 1960 play "Bye Bye Birdie" began with a classic parent's lament: "I don't know what's wrong with these kids today. Why can't they be like we were?"
The answer, of course, is they're just like we were. Sometimes that's good, often it's not. Every generation of kids coping with raging hormones and a need to express independence and individuality will use language, wear clothes, listen to music, and dance in ways that may offend their parents. Many will engage in conduct that their parents think is wrong or unwise.
Should modern parents just relax and let kids do their thing, confident that no lasting harm will come of it? I don't think so.
Sure, we should recognize the inherent limitations of parenting and the futility and impropriety of trying to control every phase of our children's lives, but that doesn't justify passive or permissive parenting. Although we can't control our kids, we can influence them. And when necessary, we can confine their options by saying no and backing it up with whatever tools we have.
Parents may disagree on where to draw the line when it comes to sloppy or sexy clothing, Internet use, loud music with crude lyrics, and body piercing and tattoos, but lines must be drawn somewhere and enforced. This is particularly important regarding issues about alcohol, drugs, and sex. Kids need and deserve guidance and boundaries.
Our children won't necessarily accept our views of right and wrong, but if we state them clearly and continually, they're more likely to consider them.
What do you think?
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
(c) 2009 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 22 Aug 2010, 5:08 pm

What Will Matter

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (655.2)

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.

It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.

It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.

Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

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

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got(,) but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success, but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance, but of choice. Choose to live a life that matters.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

(c) 2009 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

Ed. NOTE: Above all, what will matter most at the end of life's journey is that you are prepared to meet your Maker face to face. Click on: http://tinyurl.com/passport-heaven for your "Passport for Heaven." Don't leave earth without it.
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Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Fri 07 Nov 2008, 5:03 pm

Curing Victimitis
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (571.2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

* (Editor's note: The opening poem is widely attributed to Frank Outlaw on the Web, but we've found no confirmation that this is the correct source. Popular quotation books including Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Roget's International Thesaurus of Quotations, and The Harper Book of Quotations don't include it or any reference to Frank Outlaw. In 2003, we received an e-mail message from a reader who claimed to have penned the verse and sent it in 1998 to members of an e-mail group of people living with lupus. Another e-mailer, however, noted that he first came upon the poem in 1996 at a workshop in the UK.)


© 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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