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Post  Admin on Sun 07 Oct 2012, 8:17 pm

The Scorpion and Human Nature

By Josephson Institute of Character Counts (763.5)

Terry and his dad Glen were walking along the shore
and came upon a scorpion struggling in the tide,
trying to get back to the sand.

Glen tried to scoop the creature up, but the scorpion
stung him and fell back into the tide. Glen tried
again and was stung again.

Terry said, "Dad, leave him alone! He's not worth
saving."

But Glen tried one more time. This time he was
successful and threw it onto the sand.

Terry said, "Why waste time on an ornery critter who's
too stupid to know it's being helped?"

Glen answered, "Son, the scorpion stings by instinct.
It's his nature. I chose to help him because that's my
nature."

Glen was teaching his son a profound moral lesson
about being human. Like other species, we're born with
an instinct for survival and a disposition towards
selfishness. Yet, blessed by a sense of compassion and
the power to reason, we also have an instinct to think
and act beyond our self-interest.

Human nature is complex. It's as much in our nature to
be kind, loving, and generous as it is to be cruel,
selfish, and dishonest. We can nurture or ignore our
nobler instincts.

Some people act like scorpions. Trapped by negative
instincts and response patterns, they think it's their
nature and hide behind the belief, "That's the way I
am."

No one is born with good or bad character. We're born
with the capacity to have either, to choose our
ultimate nature.*

When we choose to be good, we are good.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

*Editor's note: We are, however, according to God's
Word, born with a sin nature which does need to be
controlled for healthy living. See Psalm 51:5 (NLT).

(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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Post  Admin on Sun 30 Sep 2012, 8:17 pm

About Leadership
By Josephson Institute, Michael Josephson of Character
Counts (765.2)

As the nasty rhetoric of the upcoming presidential
campaign sends the message that leadership must be
aggressive and confrontational, consider this parable
about leadership.

A student assigned to write an essay about an
effective leader wrote this story:

"I've been taking a bus to school for years. Most
passengers keep to themselves and no one ever talks to
anyone else.

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

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

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

"A month ago, Benny didn't get on the bus and we
haven't seen him since. Everyone began to ask about
Benny, and lots of people said he may have died. No
one knew what to do and the bus got awful quiet again.

"So last week, I started to act like Benny and say,
'Good morning!' to everyone and they cheered up again.
I guess I'm the leader now. I hope Benny comes back to
see what he started."

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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Post  Admin on Sun 16 Sep 2012, 11:10 am

Willful Blindness: Ignoring the Moral Issues
Before Us

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (763.3)

On a bitter cold night, a Russian countess was taken
to a play in a horse-drawn carriage. The driver asked
the Lady whether they could take shelter in a nearby
inn until the play was over as he was not feeling
well.

The Countess thought the question impertinent and
directed the two men to wait outside with the carriage
in case she wanted to leave early.

The performance and intermission lasted nearly three
hours. The play included a heart-rending scene about a
nobleman who refused to allow two of his servants, who
had fallen in love, to marry. In the end, both were
killed when they tried to run off to be together.

The Countess was moved to tears and she commented to a
friend that the cruelty of the nobleman in the play was
barbaric and inexcusable.

She was still sobbing when she exited the theater and
found a small crowd gathered around her carriage. She
demanded to know what was going on, and the footman
fearfully told her that the old driver froze to death
while they waited for her.

The Countess was furious demanding who would now drive
her home. So, how could a woman sensitive enough to cry
at the plight of fictional characters be so callous
about the comfort and health of her own servants?

It's called "willful blindness," a defense mechanism
allowing folks to see only what they want to see.

I saw a cartoon once that captured the essence of this
point: A half-dozen executives are sitting around a
conference table, and the chairman announces, "Miss
Harris will now hand out the moral blinders."

The key question is: What are we pretending not to
know? Are there things about nuclear power plants and
their ability to survive natural calamities we are
pretending not to know? Are some school administrators
willfully pretending not to know about irresponsible
teachers or abusive coaches?

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(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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Post  Admin on Sun 08 Jul 2012, 9:35 pm

Testing Your Integrity

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (674.1)

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?

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) 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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Post  Admin on Sun 01 Jul 2012, 10:34 pm

I Know Now

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts
(387.4)(c)2004.

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

But enough lamenting. (Or is it whining?) I may not be
smarter, but I am wiser.

I know that everything changes--including me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know kindness is more important than cleverness.

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

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

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

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

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2004 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Jun 2012, 3:44 pm

CHARACTER COUNTS!
Kids Like to Win ... Adults Need to Win

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts

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

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

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

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2004 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Post  Admin on Sun 17 Jun 2012, 9:19 am

Moral Courage--The Engine of Integrity
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (751.3)

Mignon McLaughlin tells us, "People are made of flesh
and blood and a miracle fiber called courage."

Courage comes in two forms: physical courage and moral
courage. Physical courage is demonstrated by acts of
bravery where personal harm is risked to protect
others or preserve cherished principles. It's the kind
of courage that wins medals and monuments. Moral
courage may seem less grand but it is more important
because it's needed more often.

Moral courage is the engine of integrity. It is our
inner voice that coaxes, prods, and inspires us to
meet our responsibilities and live up to our
principles when doing so may cost us dearly.

It takes moral courage to be honest at the risk of
ridicule, rejection, or retaliation, or when doing so
may jeopardize our income or career. It takes courage
to own up to our mistakes when doing so may get us in
trouble or thwart our ambitions. It even takes courage
to stand tough with our kids when doing so may cost us
their affection. Like a personal coach, moral courage
pushes and prods us to be our best selves. It urges us
to get up when we'd rather stay in bed, go to work when
we'd rather go fishing, tell the truth when a lie would
make our life so much easier, keep a costly promise and
put the interest of others above our own.

The voice of moral courage is also our critical
companion during troubling times; it provides us with
the strength to cope with and overcome adversity and
persevere when we want to quit or just rest.

At unexpected and unwelcome times, we all will be
forced to deal with the loss of loved ones, personal
illnesses and injuries, betrayed friendships, and
personal failures. These are the trials and
tribulations of a normal life, but, without moral
courage, they can rob us of the will and confidence to
find new roads to happiness and fulfillment. Moral
courage is essential not only for a virtuous life, but
a happy one. Without courage, our fears and failures
confine us like a barbed wire fence.

The voice of moral courage is always there, but
sometimes it is drowned out by the drumbeat of our
fears and doubts. We need to learn to listen for the
voice. The more we call on it and listen to it and
trust it, the stronger it becomes.

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.

What Will Matter
By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (390.3)

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) 2004 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Post  Admin on Mon 11 Jun 2012, 12:21 pm

The Power of Kindness

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (751.5)

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 to "THINK OF AN IDEA FOR WORLD
CHANGE, AND PUT IT INTO ACTION." Trevor, the
12-year-old hero, comes up with an idea. If he does
something "real good" for three people and asks in
return that instead of them "paying him back," they
"pay it forward" by doing a good deed for three other
people, who are in turn asked to pay it forward, the
math quickly shows that he could change the world.

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

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(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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Post  Admin on Sun 20 May 2012, 10:25 am

What Will Matter

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (390.3)

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) 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.
Admin
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Post  Admin on Mon 14 May 2012, 10:17 pm

Let the Butterfly Struggle

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (746.1)

There's a parable about a new mother who discovered a
butterfly struggling mightily to escape its cocoon
through a tiny opening at the top. She became
concerned when the creature seemed to give up after
making no progress. Certain that the butterfly just
wouldn't make it out without help, she enlarged the
hole slightly.

On its next try, the butterfly wriggled out easily.
But the young women's joy turned to horror as she saw
its wings were shriveled and useless. Her
well-intentioned intervention turned out badly because
it interrupted a natural process. You see, forcing the
butterfly to squeeze though a small opening is
nature's way of assuring that blood from the
creature's body is pushed into the wings. By making it
easier, she deprived the butterfly of strong wings.

Childhood, too, is a sort of cocoon. If a healthy
adult is to emerge, parents must allow, even
encourage, their children to struggle, to make
mistakes and learn from them, and to pay a price for
their own bad judgments and conduct.

Of course, good parents should be ready to protect
their children from serious harm. But being
overprotective can itself cause serious harm.
Adversity is not always an enemy. It's often a teacher
that helps young people develop wings strengthened by
self-confidence and self-reliance.

Helen Keller once said, "Character cannot be developed
in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and
suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared,
ambition inspired, and success achieved."

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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Post  Admin on Sun 06 May 2012, 8:46 pm

I Choose to Live

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (744.2)

Michael was always upbeat. Some found his relentless
good moods annoying, but attempts to mock or belittle
his cheerfulness were just more fuel for his good
nature.

Once he explained to a friend how he did it. "Every
morning I look in the mirror and say good morning to
myself. I see a note on the mirror that says 'Choose,'
which reminds me I have a choice: I can I let my
worries and disappointments dominate my thoughts and
spread gloom wherever I go, or I can choose to be in a
good mood no matter what and spread sunshine. I've
learned that when I'm enthusiastic about life, I feel
better. Usually so do others.

Years later, Michael fell off a high tower and almost
died. When his old friend visited him, he was bandaged
and bruised but as cheerful as ever.

He told his friend that when he regained consciousness
and saw the doctors look at him as if he were dying, he
resorted to his old habit of making a choice. "I could
accept that my injuries were fatal, or I could choose
to live. I chose to live." His friend remarked surely
it wasn't that easy.

"Maybe not," Michael said. "But when they were
preparing me for surgery, a doctor asked if I was
allergic to anything. I said, 'Apparently I'm allergic
to gravity.' He laughed.

"When I said, 'Look, I choose to live. Can you make
that happen?,' he nodded and said, 'I'll do my best.'

"Maybe my positive attitude helped, maybe it didn't. I
choose to believe it did."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

*This parable is derived from a similar story told in
Chicken Soup for the Soul.

(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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Post  Admin on Sat 28 Apr 2012, 8:16 pm

We Are What We Think

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (746.4)

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 the sum of his
thoughts. He declared that the power to control our
thoughts (whether we use that power or not) is the
ability 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 negative beliefs and attitudes, we'll be
astonished at the rapid transformation it will produce
in our lives.

Our thoughts and actions can be either jailors of
negativity, 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 is especially
interesting. Yes, our destiny is determined by our
character, but our character is not determined by
destiny.

We can't always control when bad thoughts and negative
impulses enter our minds, but we can decide either to
nurture or to reject them.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Post  Admin on Sun 22 Apr 2012, 5:23 pm

Parenting and Play-Doh

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (716.5)

Peggy Adkins, a talented CHARACTER COUNTS! trainer,
tells the story of when she adopted a cat. Each of the
cat's original owners was interviewed, and when Peggy
finally got the animal, she had to sign a document
that listed 23 things to do and 17 things not to do to
raise a happy, healthy feline.

Over the next several months, she received phone calls
to confirm that her family was doing what they were
supposed to do and refraining from doing what they
weren't supposed to do.

As the mother of two adopted children, Peggy marveled
at the fact that she got better training and follow-up
about her cat than her children. Although raising
happy, healthy, decent children is vastly more
complicated and important than raising pets, there's
no manual for child-raising, not even a list of do's
and don'ts.

To make her point in her presentations, she uses
Play-Doh in different sizes and colors, pointing out
that, like children, no two pieces are alike and each
one can be molded into infinitely unique shapes.

"Indent it slightly with your finger," she
demonstrates. "Touch it with your fingernail. Press it
against your arm. Notice that every hair leaves a mark.
Now press it against the Sunday comics; it will mirror
the pictures. And if you roll it on a table, all kinds
of bits and particles become embedded in the substance,
almost impossible to remove.

"That's what makes parenting so important and
difficult. Everything kids touch makes an impression."

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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Post  Admin on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 7:14 pm

Can Gloomy Gus Become Cheerful Charlie?

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (743.5)

Bad stuff happens. People get sick, lose a loved one,
get fired, and make mistakes.

Though these events are facts that become a permanent
part of our history, the quality of our lives is not
determined by the number or nature of our bad
experiences, but how we interpret and react to them.
Most of us have a default position in our response to
painful and disappointing experiences that is either
positive-oriented or negative-oriented.

Pessimists explain adverse events to themselves in
ways that perpetuate negative feelings about the past
and generate fear and anxiety about the future.

Optimists see positive aspects of most situations and
they expect people to be good and things to work out.
The good news is that negative thinking is not a
permanent attribute; it's just a bad habit.

Here are three strategies to transform Gloomy Gus into
Cheerful Charlie, or at least move Gus from negative to
neutral: diversion, distraction and disputation.

Diversion consists of consciously re-directing your
thoughts every time negative explanations and
predictions emerge: "She hates me, it's my fault, I
can't win." Don't allow yourself to dwell on feelings
of hopelessness or helplessness. Negativity may come
uninvited, but you don't have to let it stay. Think
about good things, your successes and all you have to
be grateful for.

Distraction involves actions that take your mind off
whatever is making you sad or anxious. Read a book,
play a game, watch a movie, surf the Net. Don't let
negative thoughts take root.

The most potent strategy, however, is disputation. Put
your pessimism on trial. Aggressively challenge
negative explanations and assumptions. Convince the
jury in your mind that pessimism is a lie and argue
for positive interpretations.

Try it. It really works.

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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Post  Admin on Sat 07 Apr 2012, 5:31 pm

A Parable About Leadership

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (739.5)

As the nasty rhetoric of the upcoming presidential
campaign sends the message that leadership must be
aggressive and confrontive, consider this parable
about leadership.

A student assigned to write an essay about an
effective leader wrote this story:

"I've been taking a bus to school for years. Most
passengers keep to themselves and no one ever talks to
anyone else.

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

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

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

"A month ago, Benny didn't get on the bus and we
haven't seen him since. Everyone began to ask about
Benny and lots of people said he may have died. No one
knew what to do and the bus got awful quiet again.

"So last week, I started to act like Benny and say,
'Good morning!' to everyone and they cheered up again.
I guess I'm the leader now. I hope Benny comes back to
see what he started."

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.

Hell: What Will It Be Like and Who Will Be There?

A sample of Daily Encounter by Dick Innes

Warning: Danger Ahead! What if you noticed that a
bridge had collapsed--a bridge that was around a bend
on a high speed highway, the danger of which was out
of sight to oncoming traffic--and you were the first
to notice it? Would you call/phone 911 (emergency)
immediately to send for urgent help? And would you do
everything you could to warn oncoming motorists of the
danger ahead? Or would you reason that it wasn't your
responsibility to do this, and turn around and be on
your way? How cruel, irresponsible, and murderous that
would be!

So what if hell is real and I do absolutely nothing to
warn people of the impending doom ahead? I would not
only be a false witness, I would be an insensitive,
uncaring, unloving self-centered person and,
consequently, would be contributing to the damning of
untold numbers to hell.

When writing on subjects such as hell--considered by
many today as being out of step with the times--I have
been accused of frightening people and told that I
needed to be like Jesus and always be positive. They
forget that Jesus blasted the false teachers of his
day and repeatedly warned people about the impending
dangers of hell, and the tragic consequences ahead for
all who fail to heed God's warnings about the future
life.

So, Is Hell Real?

The only reliable source to answer this question is
God's Word, the Bible, and his Word confirms the
reality of hell repeatedly.1 For one of many instances
his Word says, "And the sea gave up the dead which were
in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which
were in them: and they were judged every man according
to their works. And death and hell were cast into the
lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever
was not found written in the book of life [God's book]
was cast into the lake of fire."1

Where Is Hell?

As the Bible doesn't tell us the physical location of
heaven, neither does it tell us the physical location
of hell. What the Bible does teach, however, is that
hell is a literal place of torment of eternal
duration. And of this we can be certain, as heaven is
where God is, hell is where God and his loving
presence aren't, and where Satan, the devil, and his
evil demons are.

What Is Hell Like?

"The punishment of the wicked dead in hell is
described throughout Scripture as 'eternal fire,'2
'unquenchable fire,'3 'shame and everlasting
contempt,'4 a place where 'the fire is not quenched,'5
a place of 'torment' and 'fire,'6 'everlasting
destruction,'7 a place where 'the smoke of torment
rises forever and ever,'8 and a 'lake of burning
sulfur' where the wicked are 'tormented day and night
forever and ever.'9 The punishment of the wicked in
hell is as never ending as the bliss of the righteous
in heaven. Jesus Himself indicates that punishment in
hell is just as everlasting as life in heaven. 10, 11

Who Will Be in Hell?

Many claim, "If God is a God of love, how could he
ever send anyone to hell?" We need to be clear about
hell in that it was created, not for mankind, but for
Satan, the devil, and his horde of evil demons. In a
real sense it isn't God who sends people to hell. If
we refuse or fail to accept God's pardon for all our
sins, we send ourselves to hell because there is
nowhere else to go after death. The only choices are
either God's heaven or the devil's hell. Keep in mind
that God has provided a way of escape, but it is the
responsibility of each individual to accept God's way
of escape.

Keep in mind that God is a God of absolute holiness,
and no sin or evil can ever survive in his presence
any more than a moth can survive in a flame. As
sinners, in God's presence we would be consumed. God
is also a God of perfect justice and, as such, all
sin--the breaking of God's laws--must be judged, the
penalty of which, and the natural consequences
thereof, is spiritual death, which is not the
cessation of life, but being dead to God and eternally
separated from him. If God were not a God of infinite
holiness and perfect justice, he would not be God.

The great news, however, is that God is also a God of
infinite love, and out of his eternal love for
mankind, he gave his only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ,
to die in our place on a cruel Roman Cross to pay the
just penalty for all our sins. That is, God has made a
way of escape from the devastation of hell for everyone
who accepts his free pardon and his gift of eternal
life. 12

So the people in hell are those who have refused or
failed to accept God's full and free pardon. And while
all who are forgiven will spend forever in heaven with
God and his incredible blessings, all who have failed
to acknowledge their sinfulness and accepted God's
pardon will have to accept God's judgment and penalty
for their sins for themselves--which is spiritual
death--and spend eternity in hell with Satan and his
horde of evil spirits.

The critical issue is: in which direction are you
headed? Have you accepted God's forgiveness and are on
your pathway to heaven--or are you headed towards hell
and eternal punishment? To be absolutely certain that
you are on your way to heaven, all you need to do is
to confess your sinfulness to God and accept Jesus as
your Savior and God's pardon. It is as simple as that.

For help here is a suggested prayer: "Dear God, I
admit that I am a sinner and have fallen far short of
your standard. I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son
and that he died on the cross in my place to pay the
penalty of death on my behalf for all my sins. Today,
I invite you, Jesus Christ, to come into my heart and
life as my personal Lord and Savior. Please forgive me
for all my sins and grant to me your gift of eternal
life to be with you for all eternity in heaven. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus' name, amen."

If you prayed this prayer and truly meant it, please
let us know by going to www.actsweb.org/decision.php
and we will send you online articles without charge to
help you in your Christian life.

NOTE: For further help read "God's Invitation" at:
http://tinyurl.com/gods-invitation, or "How to Be Sure
You're a Real Christian" at:
http://tinyurl.com/real-christian, and/or "Passport
for Heaven" at: http://tinyurl.com/passport-heaven.
Whatever you do, don't leave earth without your
passport for heaven. It's available to all who ask for
it, and it comes without charge.

1. Revelation 20:13-15 (KJV). 2. Matthew 25:41. 3.
Matthew 3:12. 4. Daniel 12:2. 5. Mark 9:44-49. 6. Luke
16:23-24. 7. 2 Thessalonians 1:9. 8. Revelation
14:10-11. 9. Revelation 20:10. 10. Matthew 25:46. 11.
From gotQuestions.org,
www.gotquestions.org/hell-real-eternal.html. 12. See
John 3:16.

For more information on Daily Encounter, click on:
http://tinyurl.com/3f8m75


8. Start Your Day -- Monday to Friday

With "Daily Encounter," a week-day inspirational from
ACTS International that, according to E-Word Today,
"Daily Encounter is one of the Internet's most popular
weekday inspirationals for spiritual help." See samples
at: www.actsweb.org/encounter. Over 400,000 worldwide
subscribers! That's sending 100+ million Daily
Encounters each year. An amazing God-given opportunity
and potential.

You can check out Daily Encounter at
http://www.actsweb.org/encounter.
Copyright (c) 2012 by ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Sat 31 Mar 2012, 2:07 pm

A Parable About Leadership

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (739.5)

As the nasty rhetoric of the upcoming presidential
campaign sends the message that leadership must be
aggressive and confrontive, consider this parable
about leadership.

A student assigned to write an essay about an
effective leader wrote this story:

"I've been taking a bus to school for years. Most
passengers keep to themselves and no one ever talks to
anyone else.

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

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

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

"A month ago, Benny didn't get on the bus and we
haven't seen him since. Everyone began to ask about
Benny and lots of people said he may have died. No one
knew what to do and the bus got awful quiet again.

"So last week, I started to act like Benny and say,
'Good morning!' to everyone and they cheered up again.
I guess I'm the leader now. I hope Benny comes back to
see what he started."

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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Post  Admin on Sun 25 Mar 2012, 8:28 pm

Sweet Adversity

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (673.5)

No one wants pain, troubles, or hardship, but it's
inevitable that we'll have plenty of each. And they
won't come at times of our choosing or in manageable
doses. Adversity is never welcome, but it's not
necessarily our enemy. As a blade is sharpened by
friction with a harder stone, our character and the
quality of our lives can be shaped and strengthened
through struggle and striving. Shakespeare said,
"Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad,
ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his
head."

Adversity's precious jewel is cut by the chisels of
confidence and competence, forged in a process of
confronting and overcoming difficulties. As Nietzsche
said, "What does not destroy me makes me stronger."

The following poem by an unknown author reminds us
that what we need isn't always what we want:

I asked for Strength and God gave me Difficulties to
make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom and God gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity and God gave me Brain and
Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage and God gave me Danger to
overcome.
I asked for Love and God gave me Troubled People to
help.
I asked for Favor and God gave me Opportunities.
I got nothing I wanted,
But I received everything I needed.

The road to achievement and fulfillment is dotted with
hazards and tragedies that can wound us, frighten us,
and slow us down. But afflictions and misfortunes can
stop us only if we surrender.

If we exercise courage, patience, and perseverance, we
can overcome any adversity, bearing pains we cannot
relieve and solving problems we cannot avoid.

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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Post  Admin on Sun 11 Mar 2012, 9:50 pm

Every Good Decision Starts with a Stop

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (733.3)

More often than we like, most of us face choices that
can have a serious and lasting impact on our lives. Do
we go along with the crowd? Do we tell someone off,
quit a job, or end a relationship? Unfortunately,
these decisions are not preceded by a drum roll
warning us that the stakes are high. Even worse, we
often don't have a lot of time to figure out what to
do. It's no surprise that most bad decisions--the ones
that mess up our lives--are made impulsively or without
sufficient reflection.

Ancient proverbs tell us to "count to ten when you're
angry" or "think ahead." But anger and lack of
preplanning are only two factors that can impede
excellent decision making. Fatigue, fear, frustration,
stress, impatience, and emotions also create obstacles
to wise choices.

Just as we learned to look both ways before we cross
the street, we can learn to analyze every important
decision-making situation to allow us to arrive at
conclusions that are both effective and ethical.

Each decision, therefore, should start with a stop--a
forced moment of reflection to help us clarify our
goal, evaluate the completeness and credibility of our
information, and devise an alternate strategy, if
necessary, to achieve the best possible result.
Stopping also allows us to muster our moral willpower
to overcome temptations and emotions that could lead
to a rash, foolish, or ill-considered decision.

While it's great to have a day or two to sleep on a
problem, or even a few hours, many situations don't
afford us that luxury. But a pause of even a few
seconds can often be enough.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you to think ahead
because character counts.

(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Post  Admin on Sun 04 Mar 2012, 8:43 pm

What Did You Expect Him To Do?

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (738.3)

One of the highlights of my life as a dad--and having
five kids, I've had quite a few--occurred on a
Saturday afternoon when I was taking my then
13-year-old son Justin and his friend Aaron to a
movie. As we entered the theater, I noticed the ticket
seller had undercharged me, so I asked the boys to wait
a moment while I returned the money.

This did not please the boys, who were anxious to get
choice seats.

Nevertheless, I endured hostile glares from people in
line and even an annoyed reaction from the cashier,
who corrected the mistake.

When I returned, Aaron, who was exasperated because
the prime seats had been taken, asked, "Why did you
have to do that? It was her mistake, not yours."

I was about to launch into a lecture on integrity when
my son, who was also irritated, looked at his friend
and said, "What did you expect him to do?"

Many years later, this memory is an uplifting reminder
of the impact we have on the character of our kids.
Hearing from my son that he expected me to be honest
and knew I expected the same of him was like a pat on
the back saying I'd done okay as a father.

My son, still one of the most honest people I know,
realized that honesty is neither a convenience nor a
choice. To a person who values integrity, it's a
habit.

When it comes to parenting, it's hard to know what's
working and what isn't, but one of the best rewards
for attentive parenting is seeing something good in
our children and knowing we played a part.

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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Post  Admin on Sat 25 Feb 2012, 8:47 pm

Looking back on your life, what would you change if
you could?

In the classic 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life," the
main character, a small-town bank officer played by
Jimmy Stewart, is about to commit suicide when an
angel shows him how different the lives of people in
Bedford Falls would be if he hadn't been born. The
movie is a favorite because it affirms how each of us
touches others' lives and shapes the future in
unexpected and often marvelous ways.

More modern films like "Back to the Future," "Sliding
Doors," and "Frequency" are built on a similar
premise: If you change the past, you change the
future--often in dramatic and unpredictable ways. If
you change one thing, you change everything. Given the
potential impact of every decision you make, it's wise
to think ahead. Although few things turn out exactly
as we plan, the better we understand how our choices
start a chain reaction of events, the more likely we
are to get what we want.

The enormous complexity of cause and effect leads to
another conclusion: It's futile to look back at our
lives with "what if" scenarios. What's done is done.
Although changing our past would change our present,
it would do so in ways that are so unpredictable that
we could never know whether it would be for better or
worse.

Accept and celebrate the fact that what you are today
is a direct result of everything that's happened to
you. It's pointless to wish things were different.
Remember, if you change one thing, you change
everything.

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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Post  Admin on Mon 20 Feb 2012, 12:14 pm

Coach Wooden the Philosopher

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (734.3)

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, was 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) 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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Post  Admin on Sun 12 Feb 2012, 6:49 pm

A Short-Haired Role Model

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (733.4),
July 27, 2911

A popular way to encourage charitable donations is to
invoke people to "give till it hurts." Mrs. Rosario
Rivera, an elementary school teacher in Puerto Rico,
takes a very different approach, urging her students
to "give until it feels good."

Mrs. Rivera teaches English at the José Ramón
Rodriguez Elementary School in the town of Coamo in
Puerto Rico. Her school is one of the 205 schools
piloting the CHARACTER COUNTS! program (called Tus
Valores Cuentan in Puerto Rico).

To stimulate her students' sense of charity and
empathy, she showed her class a movie about a young
boy dying of cancer. A few weeks later she told her
students she had received a letter from the American
Cancer Society seeking donations for cancer research.
She put an empty can on her desk and encouraged her
students to donate all their leftover change for the
next few weeks. The class raised $32.

But that wasn't enough. Mrs. Rosario had long,
beautiful hair all the way to her waist. It was a
source of pride and pleasure, so when she told her
students she was going to cut off her hair and donate
it to the Locks of Love Foundation so cancer patients
could have wigs with real hair, her students were
astonished. I suspect some were doubtful that she
would follow through--until she came to class with
short hair and showed her students a shipping box
filled with a very long braid. She told them how good
it made her feel to give away something that was so
important to her to help children.

That's what it means to be a good role model.

So, are you surprised that several girls in her class
declared their intention to follow her example?

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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Post  Admin on Sat 04 Feb 2012, 10:50 pm

CHARACTER COUNTS
Permitting Cheating Promotes Cheating

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (731.5)

Reports of widespread cheating by schools in
Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and other
districts--highlighted by the huge scandal in Atlanta
involving 178 teachers and principals--should be
alarming.

If our educators don't have the moral courage and
integrity to resist pressures to cheat, what hope do
we have that they will successfully instill these
virtues in their students?

According to Josephson Institute's 2010 Report Card on
the Ethics of American Youth based on a survey of more
than 40,000 high school students, 59% admitted
cheating on an exam at least once within the past
year.

Though the cheating rate has been about 60% for more
than a decade, very few schools have made a concerted
effort to address the problem. What's more, parents
haven't put any pressure on schools to do so. Perhaps
no one thinks it's a problem.

It's seemingly impossible to summon any interest, let
alone outrage, about the fact that student performance
is regularly and rampantly inflated, that the typical
high school culture permits and thereby promotes
cheating, or that extensive cheating prevents learning
(why study when you can cheat?).

The stakes are higher than they seem when we consider
the impact of this generation's entering the workforce
to become our future nurses and nuclear inspectors,
corporate executives and cops, paramedics and
politicians.

Cheating is a habit-forming coping mechanism, and
unless we take steps to reverse the trend, you can bet
that we will see and suffer from more economy-damaging
frauds and credibility-destroying scandals in the
coming years.

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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Post  Admin on Sat 28 Jan 2012, 7:32 pm

The Struggle Between Wants and Shoulds

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (731.2)

As a full-time ethicist--can you believe there is such
a thing? --I spend most of my time talking about right
and wrong with parents and politicians, kids and
corporate managers, journalists and generals.

One thing I've learned is that ethics--being a good
person and doing the right thing--is easier said than
done. Ethics, or the lack of it, is everywhere. It's
in the news, in schools, in the workplace, in sports,
in parenting--you name it.

Ethics would be easy to adhere to if we never wanted
to do things we know are wrong. Unfortunately, if
you're like me, there's a constant struggle between
what I want to do (my desires) and what I should do
(my ethical duties).

I want to avoid taxes, pay lower insurance premiums,
and have the freedom to go through the "10 Items or
Less" line with 14 items. Business executives want
larger profits, politicians want more power, lawyers
want to win.

Too often, our wants overcome our ambitions toward
honor and virtue. We lie occasionally or cheat a
little. As a result, there's a hole in our moral
ozone, and it's getting bigger. It's going to take
moral courage and real character to repair that hole.

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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Post  Admin on Sat 21 Jan 2012, 2:52 pm

If You Love Competition, You Never Lose

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (715.5)

Suppose you're an Olympic athlete and you hear that
the only person who has a chance to beat you is ill
and may have to withdraw. Are you overjoyed at your
good luck or disappointed that you will not be able to
compete against the very best?

If you really love and understand sports, you ought to
be disappointed. John Naber, winner of four gold medals
in swimming, says that a true sportsman wants to
compete against his best competitor on his best day.
Yes, that makes winning more difficult and less
likely, but it also makes the event more exciting and
a victory more meaningful. Being declared the winner
is not real victory; being the best is.

If you play tennis or any other sport, what's more
fun: to play against someone you easily dominate or
against someone who forces you to be your best and
makes every point an exciting challenge? You see, the
point of sports is to have fun trying to win and
loving the game enough that you can have fun whether
you win or not.

Athletic competition is not a form of war. The people
you compete against are also the people you play with.
They are not your enemies. The word "competition" comes
from the Latin root competere, which means to strive
together, not against each other. Be thankful for
quality competitors who push you to your limit. You'll
find sports more healthy and enjoyable when you respect
and even like your opponents rather than hate them.

When you compete with someone as good or better than
you, you may not always win, but you never lose.

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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