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Michael Josephson of Character Counts

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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 11:40 pm

Wisdom in 20 Words or Fewer: Part One

  By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (888.4) 

Since my children were small, I launched their day with
the invocation to "be good, have fun and learn." I hope
they remember that mantra, but when my daughter Samara
began her independent life as a college freshman 3,000
miles away, I thought a more detailed set of maxims was
needed. So I assembled a collection of concise (20
words or fewer) insights that I hope will guide,
protect, nourish and inspire her to reach her potential
for happiness and success.

Here are the first 10: 

You will be as happy as you are willing to be; choose
to be happy.

Have fun and enjoy your life, but never confuse fun or
pleasure with happiness.

Never let your happiness or sense of self-worth depend
on someone else's love or approval.

Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice.

How you deal with what happens to you is more important
than what happens to you.

Real friends make you feel good about yourself, but
encourage you to be even better.

It's not just what you say, do, or intend, but how you
make people feel that is most important.

Failure is not a fact; it's a perspective. Find the
lesson in every setback and you'll never fail.

It's never wrong to admit you were wrong; no one is
always right.

Don't let grudges or resentments ruin your life or your
day; let go, forget, and move on! 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2015 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 27 Dec 2014, 8:49 pm

The Road to Significance

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (886:4)

The most traditional way to measure the quality of
one's life is to evaluate success by listing accolades,
achievements, and acquisitions. After all, in its
simplest terms, success is getting what we want and
most people want wealth and status.

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

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

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

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

In addressing graduates, Albert Schweitzer said, "I
don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I
do know: The only ones among you who will be really
happy are those who have sought and found how to
serve."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 21 Dec 2014, 6:03 pm

The Truth About Trust 

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (886:1) 

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

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

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

Remember Herman Cain? This intelligent, dynamic man's
unexpected popularity as candidate for the Republican
presidential nomination was based largely on the image
he projected as a straight-talker.

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

Allegations alone can be damaging, but insincere,
implausible and unbelievable claims and explanations
only make things worse---much worse. When will
politicians (and the rest of us) learn this simple
maxim? When you are in a hole, stop digging.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 14 Dec 2014, 6:06 pm

Avoiding Temptations 

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (881:5)

When my daughter Samara was four, she pointed to a
delicate glass vase and asked, "What's that?"

"It's very special," I answered. "It was my mother's. I
would really feel bad if it ever got broken, so please
be careful to never, never touch it."

Without a moment's hesitation she said, "Then you
should never, never put it where I can reach it."

Her remark reminded me of an Oscar Wilde quote: "I can
resist anything but temptation." Samara understood the
power of the temptation and shifted the responsibility
to me. If I wanted the vase safe, keep it out of her
path. And, of course, she was right. We would both be
happier if I didn't tempt her.

After all, it is easier to avoid than resist
temptations. Even people of character can succumb to
temptations at weak moments. If you're on a diet, don't
let them bring out the dessert tray. If you're on a
tight budget, don't even window shop for things you
can't afford. And if you're committed to celibacy or
fidelity, don't get near situations where your resolve
could be tested.

The 19th century English novelist Margaret Oliphant
said, "As a general rule, temptations come when they
are sought." If we're honest with ourselves, we would
have to admit that many of the morally precarious
situations we've found ourselves in were not entirely
unwelcome. It's reckless to invite temptation to sit
beside us and believe that we will have the strength to
say no at the right time.

  This is Michael Josephson reminding you that
character counts.

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

Post  Admin on Mon 08 Dec 2014, 10:26 am

Do a Little More

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (877:3)

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
without worry of interference from onlookers.

The long array of billion dollar scandals rocking
corporate America, for example, 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 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 single 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 the doing
nothing and trying to do everything. One thing's
certain, though, the world will be better if we'd all
do a little more.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Nov 2014, 1:21 pm

Eight Laws of Leadership 

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (266:2) 

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

Former Air Force General William Cohen has written a
fine book called 'The Stuff of Heroes' where he
identifies eight laws of leadership. 

Here are his rules:

  First, Maintain Absolute Integrity.
  Second, Know Your Stuff.
  Third, Declare Your Expectations.
  Fourth, Show Uncommon Commitment.
  Fifth, Expect Positive Results.
  Sixth, Take Care of Your People.
  Seventh, Put Duty Before Self.
  Eighth, Get Out in Front.

His laws embrace important competencies like knowledge,
communication skills, commitment, optimism, caring, and
a powerful sense of duty; but General Cohen recognizes
that the foundation of the successful leader is
character, including complete trustworthiness, honor
and courage. The best leaders draw on these moral
qualities to influence others through inspiration,
persuasion, trust and loyalty. They do the right thing
despite the costs and risks, and do it not because it
will yield approval or advantage, but simply because it
is the right thing.

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Getting Started

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (877:1)

Chris's parents were proud of him when he graduated
from college. But it's been six months, and he hasn't
gotten a job yet. In fact, he hasn't looked seriously.
He has no idea what he wants to do, and he's thinking
of grad school.

He's living at home with his parents and things are
getting tense, especially with his father, who accuses
Chris of being lazy and afraid to enter the real world.

Chris thinks his dad is being totally unreasonable.
After all, he's only young once and he needs some
"space." During a recent argument, Chris said, "I'm not
you, Dad. I have my own way of doing things. I want a
job I enjoy."

His dad replied, "That's a nice idea, but in the end
they call it 'work' because it's about making a
productive living--not having fun."

There are many youngsters like Chris who are having
trouble getting started with a serious job and becoming
self-reliant. Some, like Peter Pan, just don't want to
grow up. Some are afraid of making a wrong decision or
of being rejected. Others are victims of what
psychologists call "magical thinking." They believe
that when the time is right, everything will fall into
place. So they wait for opportunity to come knocking,
or until they feel inspired or excited about their next
step.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. What's crucial
is to begin. Things happen and opportunities appear
most often when we're moving, not standing still.

Momentum is vital. Basic physics says it's easier to
alter the course of a moving object than to start
movement initially. In the end, it's not really about
finding yourself. It's about making yourself.

The first steps are the hardest, but the key to success
in anything is getting started.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 28 Sep 2014, 9:38 pm

The Illusion of Success

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (876:5) 

Reach for the stars. Pursue goals beyond your grasp.
These are good life strategies. We never know how much
we can accomplish until we try.

But what happens when we're told we must reach the
stars or suffer consequences?

A common workplace strategy to spur employee
achievement is to set aggressive productivity
objectives that, like mechanical rabbits that lead
racing greyhounds, are usually beyond reach. Benignly
called "stretch goals" by those who set them, the idea
is to generate maximum effort. A salesperson who's
expected to increase sales by 10 ten-percent may only
achieve a six-percent gain, but that's still pretty
good.

But there's a downside to this clever management
technique. For one thing, it generates unhealthy stress
and low morale when employees catch on to the game and
resent being manipulated like racing dogs. For another,
unrealistic stretch goals overemphasize short-term
performance and encourage employees to conceal, ignore,
and defer problems. Finally, some employees will simply
cheat to make the numbers.

Organizational audits conducted by Josephson Institute
reveal that a high percentage of employees who are
pressured to achieve ever-escalating numerical goals
manipulate numbers and distort reports. A significant
number outright lie.

Pressure is no excuse for cheating, but it's a frequent
cause. Those who play the stretch-goal game are
accountable for the predictable side effects of
relentlessly pursuing numbers, especially if they don't
place even greater emphasis on honesty and integrity.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 14 Sep 2014, 9:31 pm

Do Bad People Think They're Good?

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (873:5)

When she was six, my daughter Carissa asked, "Do dumb
people think they're smart?" Answering her own
question, she added, "They probably do because they're
dumb."

This made me think: "Do bad people think they're good?"

I wouldn't be surprised if most do. In fact, I think
all of us are ethical in our own eyes. The human
tendency to rationalize, to justify our conduct in our
own minds, provides a powerful anesthetic to our
conscience.

Think of all the athletes, politicians, religious
leaders, and business executives who've been caught in
wrongdoing and who feel more like victims than
villains.

Self-interest has a powerful tendency to disable our
objectivity and befuddle our commitment to live up to
moral principles.

The higher the stakes, the more likely it is that we'll
persuade ourselves that what we want to do, or what
we've already done, is justified. When our financial or
physical security is at stake, even the best of us are
vulnerable to reason-crippling self-delusion that
allows us to defend our positions with self-righteous
ferocity--as if the mere intensity of our convictions
makes them more valid.

One way to fortify our integrity is to be on the
lookout for our tendency to rationalize and to remember
that we don't have a moral right to get what we want.
Necessity isn't a fact; it's an interpretation.

Living an ethical life isn't easy. It requires us to do
the right thing even when it costs more than we want to
pay.

Perhaps the best antidote to rationalization sickness
is to rigorously and faithfully follow the Golden Rule:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Mon 08 Sep 2014, 12:13 am

Curing Victimitis

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (873:2) 

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,
victims lead unsatisfied lives in the end.

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

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

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Tue 02 Sep 2014, 11:00 pm

Loopholes and Slippery Slopes

By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (863:5)

As a former law professor, I know all about loopholes.

I trained students to find omissions and ambiguities in
wording--a perfectly legal way to evade the clear
intent of laws and agreements. After all, that's what
lawyers are paid to do. And, despite commonly expressed
disdain when lawyers do this, that's precisely what
most clients want and expect when they hire a lawyer.

Because long-standing traditions, the rules of
professional conduct, and the marketplace support the
search for and exploitation of loopholes, I don't
condemn either lawyers or clients who seek the
advantages of this less-than-noble and socially
corrosive practice. But I have come to believe that
strategies to evade the spirit of laws and promises put
our integrity on a slippery slope.

Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said,
"There is a big difference between what we have a right
to do and what is right to do." People of character
often do less than the law allows and more than the law
requires.

Further down the integrity slope is the common practice
of misrepresenting or mischaracterizing facts, lying
about true intentions, or falsely denying one's
knowledge or recollection of something. Whatever moral
ambiguity may cloak the use of legal loopholes, these
practices are fundamentally dishonest and dishonorable.

For example, a common ploy encouraged by politicians
and used by political contributors to evade limits on
campaign contributions is to donate funds in the name
of minor children. Falsely representing that the
children actually exercised control and independent
judgment isn't a clever loophole, it's a fraud.

The same is true for executives who back-date
documents, workers who falsely claim to be sick, and
parents who lie about their address to get a child into
a better school or about a child's age to qualify for a
discount. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 24 Aug 2014, 6:40 pm

Slow Dance

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (827:1) 

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.

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

Post  Admin on Mon 18 Aug 2014, 10:10 pm

Don't Let the Bad Guys Win

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (866:4)

During a seminar on ethics in the workplace,
participants spoke about a wide array of unethical
conduct they'd recently witnessed. They talked about
high-level employees who lied on internal reports or
blatantly took credit for the work of others and the
intimidation or abuse of subordinates. These were
clear-cut violations of organizational policy. Yet, in
most cases the perpetrator escaped any serious
sanction.

Executives, who have the responsibility to uphold
organizational standards, seem to find an endless array
of excuses to look the other way. And so the culture of
many private and public institutions reflects a
don't-rock-the-boat, avoid-confrontation-at-any-cost
philosophy that undermines institutional integrity and
morale.

When managers systematically allow employees to get
away with forbidden behavior, they make a mockery of
organizational policies and ethical rhetoric. What's
worse, they cultivate seeds of inefficiency and
corruption and demoralize employees who would willingly
live up to higher standards of personal conduct. Every
time we let a bad guy win, we weaken the resolve of
dozens of ordinary folks who need to know that playing
by the rules is not just for suckers.

How many organizations are mired in the quicksand of
hypocrisy because they are led by executives who are
too timid or ambitious to demand honorable behavior?
Good organizations need good people, men and women of
principle who can resist the seductions of short-term
political expediency and overcome fears of litigation
or unpopularity.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Wed 13 Aug 2014, 2:17 pm

Gifts from the Heart are Gifts of the Heart

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (866:2) 

According to legend, a young man roaming the desert
came across a spring of delicious crystal-clear water.
The water was so sweet, he filled his leather canteen
so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had
been his teacher.

After a four-day journey, he presented the water to the
old man, who took a deep drink, smiled warmly, and
thanked his student lavishly for the sweet water. The
young man returned to his village with a happy heart.

Later, the teacher let another student taste the water.
He spat it out, saying it was awful. It apparently had
become stale because of the old leather container. The
student challenged his teacher: "Master, the water was
foul. Why did you pretend to like it?"

The teacher replied, "You only tasted the water. I
tasted the gift. The water was simply the container for
an act of loving kindness and nothing could be sweeter.
Heartfelt gifts deserve the return gift of gratitude."

I think we understand this lesson best when we receive
innocent gifts of love from young children. Whether
it's a ceramic tray or a macaroni bracelet, the natural
and proper response is appreciation and expressed
thankfulness because we love the idea within the gift.

Gratitude doesn't always come naturally. Unfortunately,
most children and many adults value only the thing
given rather than the feeling embodied in it. We should
remind ourselves and teach our children about the
beauty and purity of feelings and expressions of
gratitude. After all, gifts from the heart are really
gifts of the heart. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 03 Aug 2014, 3:44 pm

TEAM: Teach, Enforce, Advocate, Model

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS

TEACH: Tell children that their character counts--that
their success and happiness will depend on who they are
inside, not what they have or how they look. Tell them
that people of character know the difference between
right and wrong because they guide their thoughts and
actions by six basic rules of living (the Six Pillars
of Character): trustworthiness, respect,
responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship.
Explain the meaning of these words. Use examples from
your own life, history, and the news.

ENFORCE: Instill the Six Pillars of Character by
rewarding good behavior (usually, praise is enough) and
by discouraging all instances of bad behavior by
imposing (or, in some cases, allowing others to impose)
fair, consistent consequences that prove you are
serious about character. Demonstrate courage and
firmness of will by enforcing the core values when it
is difficult or costly to do so.

ADVOCATE: Continuously encourage children to live up to
the Six Pillars of Character in all their thoughts and
actions. Be an advocate for character. Don't be neutral
about the importance of character nor casual about
improper conduct. Be clear and uncompromising that you
want and expect your children to be trustworthy,
respectful, responsible, fair, caring, and good
citizens.

MODEL: Be careful and self-conscious about setting a
good example in everything you say and do. Hold
yourself to the highest standards of character by
honoring the Six Pillars of Character at all times. You
may be a good model now, but remember, you don't have
to be sick to get better. Everything you do and don't
do, sends a message about your values. Be sure your
messages reinforce your lessons about doing the right
thing even when it is hard to do so. When you slip (and
most of us do), act the way you want your children to
behave when they act improperly--be accountable,
apologize sincerely, and resolve to do better. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 03 Aug 2014, 3:43 pm

TEAM: Teach, Enforce, Advocate, Model
  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS
TEACH: Tell children that their character counts--that
their success and happiness will depend on who they are
inside, not what they have or how they look. Tell them
that people of character know the difference between
right and wrong because they guide their thoughts and
actions by six basic rules of living (the Six Pillars
of Character): trustworthiness, respect,
responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship.
Explain the meaning of these words. Use examples from
your own life, history, and the news.

ENFORCE: Instill the Six Pillars of Character by
rewarding good behavior (usually, praise is enough) and
by discouraging all instances of bad behavior by
imposing (or, in some cases, allowing others to impose)
fair, consistent consequences that prove you are
serious about character. Demonstrate courage and
firmness of will by enforcing the core values when it
is difficult or costly to do so.

ADVOCATE: Continuously encourage children to live up to
the Six Pillars of Character in all their thoughts and
actions. Be an advocate for character. Don't be neutral
about the importance of character nor casual about
improper conduct. Be clear and uncompromising that you
want and expect your children to be trustworthy,
respectful, responsible, fair, caring, and good
citizens.

MODEL: Be careful and self-conscious about setting a
good example in everything you say and do. Hold
yourself to the highest standards of character by
honoring the Six Pillars of Character at all times. You
may be a good model now, but remember, you don't have
to be sick to get better. Everything you do and don't
do, sends a message about your values. Be sure your
messages reinforce your lessons about doing the right
thing even when it is hard to do so. When you slip (and
most of us do), act the way you want your children to
behave when they act improperly--be accountable,
apologize sincerely, and resolve to do better. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 03 Aug 2014, 3:35 pm

Changing Lives Through Love

By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (863:3) 

Imagine being put in charge of a residential camp for
delinquent teenage girls confined because they are
considered dangerous. Many have serious mental health
issues, impulse control problems, and an awful lot of
anger.

One of the last terms you'd apply to any of these girls
is lovable.

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

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

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

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

TEAM: Teach, Enforce, Advocate, Model

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS

TEACH: Tell children that their character counts--that
their success and happiness will depend on who they are
inside, not what they have or how they look. Tell them
that people of character know the difference between
right and wrong because they guide their thoughts and
actions by six basic rules of living (the Six Pillars
of Character): trustworthiness, respect,
responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship.
Explain the meaning of these words. Use examples from
your own life, history, and the news.

ENFORCE: Instill the Six Pillars of Character by
rewarding good behavior (usually, praise is enough) and
by discouraging all instances of bad behavior by
imposing (or, in some cases, allowing others to impose)
fair, consistent consequences that prove you are
serious about character. Demonstrate courage and
firmness of will by enforcing the core values when it
is difficult or costly to do so.

ADVOCATE: Continuously encourage children to live up to
the Six Pillars of Character in all their thoughts and
actions. Be an advocate for character. Don't be neutral
about the importance of character nor casual about
improper conduct. Be clear and uncompromising that you
want and expect your children to be trustworthy,
respectful, responsible, fair, caring, and good
citizens.

MODEL: Be careful and self-conscious about setting a
good example in everything you say and do. Hold
yourself to the highest standards of character by
honoring the Six Pillars of Character at all times. You
may be a good model now, but remember, you don't have
to be sick to get better. Everything you do and don't
do, sends a message about your values. Be sure your
messages reinforce your lessons about doing the right
thing even when it is hard to do so. When you slip (and
most of us do), act the way you want your children to
behave when they act improperly--be accountable,
apologize sincerely, and resolve to do better. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 03 Aug 2014, 3:31 pm

Testing Your Integrity

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (866:5) 

In the past year, did you keep the money if a cashier
gave you too much change? Did you lie to your boss, a
customer, or a significant other? Did you use the
Internet for personal reasons at work? Did you distort
or conceal facts on a resumé or in a job interview? Did
you inflate an expense or insurance claim? Did you make
unauthorized copies of software or music?

Have you ever lied about your child's age to save
money, or provided your youngster with a false excuse
for missing school? If it was the only way to get your
child into a better school, would you lie about your
address?

We've posted an integrity assessment here so you can
see how you measure up with respect to questions like
these.

A lack of integrity in any of the everyday matters
above may be just a moral misdemeanor compared to the
felonious sorts of fraud and corruption that have
shredded the economic foundation of our country.
Nonetheless, they demonstrate an unwillingness to walk
the talk when it comes to honesty.

Most of us stray from our highest ethical ambitions
from time to time, but we do so selectively, convincing
ourselves that we're justified and that occasional
departures from ethical principles are inconsequential
when it comes to our character.

Most of us judge ourselves by our best actions and
intentions, but children who watch everything we do may
be learning from our worst.

No one expects you to be perfect, but you might find it
informative to take the test and see if you stray from
the straight and narrow path of your own ideals too far
or too often.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Wed 16 Jul 2014, 8:36 pm

Noah's Term Paper 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (404.5)

Noah really needed an A on a term paper. His friend
Jason told him that lots of kids "recycled" papers they
didn't write and offered to give him a paper his older
brother had gotten an A on three years ago. When Noah
asked him for advice, his father hoped his son wouldn't
cheat, but he didn't want to be judgmental. So he said,
"Son, it's your life. I can't tell you what you should
do. It's a personal decision." 

I think that's shabby parenting. Noah's dad declined to
provide moral guidance and lost an opportunity to
strengthen Noah's values and his own credibility as a
reference point. Kids need parents to bolster their
moral will power to resist temptations. His reluctance
to intervene and influence is an abdication of
responsibility. 

What's more, his noncommittal response is not an
expression of moral neutrality, but a statement that
conveys the moral judgment that honesty and integrity
are optional. 

True, this is a personal decision. Noah has the power.
He can choose to be honest or dishonest, ethical or
unethical--it's his call. But the real question is one
of propriety: he didn't ask his dad, "What can I do?"
but "What should I do?" This is a question about
ethics, and it can't be dodged or evaded. 

If we want our children to build good values and a
strong character based on virtue, we have to be willing
to teach and advocate those virtues. Sometimes that
means saying, "That's wrong!"

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2005-2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted
with permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 06 Jul 2014, 5:17 pm

One Way to Change Your Life--Change Your
Expectations 

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (860:3)

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.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sat 28 Jun 2014, 10:10 pm

Accountability in the Workplace 

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (836:5)

Lately I've been spending a lot of time consulting with
large companies concerned with strengthening their
ethical culture.

Although I'm sure the leaders I work with care about
ethics and virtue for their own sake, I know the
driving force to seek outside assistance is
self-interest. The risk of reputation--damaging and
resource--draining charges resulting from improper
conduct is so high that it's a matter of prudence and
responsible stewardship to stress ethical values and
moral principles. 

Yet changing or strengthening an organization's culture
is no simple task. We start with a questionnaire to
identify vulnerabilities--attitudes and behaviors that
could jeopardize the company. 

The most common vulnerability we find is a management
style that represses frank and open discussions about
ethical concerns and discourages revelation of bad
news. 

Invariably, we discover that at least one in five
employees admit they lied to their superior about
something significant within the past year, and at
least one-third concealed or distorted negative
information to avoid harmful career repercussions.
Often, half or more employees say they remain silent
rather than risk their boss's anger, abuse, or
disapproval. Thus, many questionable or improper
actions go unreported and uncorrected--each one a
scandal waiting to happen. 

The antidote is explicit and credible corporate
policies that promote accountability by making it clear
that repressive management styles will not be tolerated
and that every employee is encouraged and expected to
muster the moral courage to report unwelcome facts and
to voice dissenting opinions. 

Meaningful improvement in business ethical culture
requires persistent and pervasive efforts to create an
environment that values and protects honesty, personal
responsibility, and corporate integrity. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

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

Post  Admin on Mon 09 Jun 2014, 7:39 pm

. Don't Brag, but Be Proud

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (853:5) 

Today, after winning a big game it's common for
athletes and fans to chant, "We're number one," in a
classless display of self-praise that comes off as
conceit and disrespectful taunting. I sometimes feel
that way about materials praising America. Still,
national pride is important. Reminders about the high
principles on which this nation was based are essential
to keep our idealism alive.

A listener once sent me an essay commenting on a report
that someone in Pakistan had offered a reward to anyone
who killed an American. To tell potential assassins
what to look for, the unidentified author wrote that
it's hard to identify Americans because they are of
every nationality and religion. In fact, he said,
"There are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan.
The only difference is that in America they are free to
worship as each of them chooses. An American is also
free to believe in no religion. For that, he will
answer only to God, not to the government or to armed
thugs claiming to speak for the government and for
God."

This is a legacy of freedom we have a right to be proud
of. We also can be proud that despite high rhetoric, no
other country gives as much or as often to aid the poor
and oppressed, including those in Afghanistan.

We shouldn't boast or brag or claim superiority. After
all, what we do is often in our self-interest. But we
should embrace for all to see the ideals that lead us
to what Lincoln called "our better angels."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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

Post  Admin on Sat 07 Jun 2014, 10:53 pm

Winning Isn't Everything but It's a Lot

  Michael Josephson in Character Counts 266.1

If you want to raise the blood pressure and lose the
respect of people serious about sports, belittle their
passion by telling them, "It's just a game." Then
smugly point out, "It's not whether you win or lose
that matters most. It's how you play the game."

To those who devote substantial portions of their lives
to sports as athletes, coaches or administrators, these
clichés are naive and offensive. In the world they live
in, winners are respected and highly paid while losers
get eliminated or unemployed. In fact, even youth
coaches rate winning so highly that they think a child
would rather sit on the bench of a winning team than
play for a losing team. Surveys show they are dead
wrong. Kids like to win, but it's the adults who need
to win.

Winning isn't everything, but it's a lot. It's the
grand reward for effort, the golden ring that motivates
sacrifice and justifies hard work. Yet too many adults
overestimate the importance of victory and
underestimate all the fun and learning that can take
place in passionate pursuit of victory.

I always wanted to win but as a high school basketball
player who played three years for a mediocre C-team, I
know that one can enjoy the game immensely and develop
important life skills without winning.

If we teach our children to love the process more than
the result, to find pleasure in competition and play,
not merely victory, we give them a lifetime gift of
renewable pleasure.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

© 2002 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 31 May 2014, 10:31 pm

The Power of Kindness

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (848:1)

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 adapted into a movie) that builds on
Dr. Wall's initial inspiration. It starts with a
teacher's assignment: "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.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 11 May 2014, 7:17 pm

The Power of Kindness

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (848:1)

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 adapted into a movie) that builds on
Dr. Wall's initial inspiration. It starts with a
teacher's assignment: "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.

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

Post  Admin on Sun 04 May 2014, 9:59 pm

Needing Approval More Than Advice 

  By Michael Josephson, CHARACTER COUNTS (848:5) 

No matter what Gary did, it was never enough to please
his father. When he got seven A's and three B's, his
dad asked about the B's. When he described the
wonderful girl he'd fallen in love with, he got a
lecture cautioning that she may be different than he
thought.

He thought he had a great relationship with his son so
he was stunned and hurt when Gary turned down an offer
to work at his firm and instead took a much lesser job
in another town. He tried to talk Gary into staying,
explaining the advantages of being close to the family
and the pitfalls of moving. Finally, Gary exploded,
"Dad, I'm moving to get away from you! I love you, but
I can't stand the way you tear down everything I do."

Gary braced himself for a counterattack, but for the
first time in his life he saw his dad's mask of
confidence dissolve into vulnerability. With tears in
his eyes, his dad stammered, "All I ever wanted was to
make you better and help you reach your potential and
avoid risks. It's what I do. It's why my business is so
successful. Do you want me to ignore my experience and
just be a cheerleader?"

"Dad, our relationship isn't about productivity," Gary
explained. "You're my dad. Sometimes I need praise more
than a push, and approval more than advice. Constantly
trying to make me better just makes me feel worse. It's
not enough that you love me. I need you to appreciate
me."

That's an important lesson. In personal relationships,
there may be benefits to the relentless pursuit of
better, but the cost may be too high.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

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