Thoughts on better parenting, teaching, management, and leadership

What Will Matter - poem by Michael Josephson
This blog gets its name from Michael's inspirational poem.
Learn more »
Stay connected and get our daily quotes and more:
Like and share the What Will Matter page on Facebook.

1) The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one. Russell Lynes.

2) People won’t remember everything you say or do but they always remember how you made them feel.- Maya Angelou

3) Feeling grateful and not expressing it is like buying a present, wrapping it and not giving it.

4) Kindness will do more to improve your life than cleverness.


01 Blue Bloods

“Just because its permissible doesn’t make it proper. Nor does the fact that it’s legal make it ethical.”

July 29, 2015 Commentaries

Small Pleasures. Watching an old episode of Blue Bloods and Tom Selleck as Commissioner Reagan pronounced very solemnly:He was quoting me! Tom is a friend and was a JI Board member for 15 years and we had many joint appearances. I just wish he added: “There’s a big difference between what you have a right […]

0 comments Read more »
01 natural order

In the natural order of the world, suffering is random.

July 29, 2015 Commentaries

Bad things happen to good people just about as often as they happen to bad people. We have not been given a shield protecting us from misfortune, but there is within all of us, waiting to be discovered, the strength to deal with adversity, to overcome it, and learn from it so we can still […]

0 comments Read more »
01 judge ourselves

Ideas without action are like cars without engines.

July 29, 2015 Commentaries

Ideas without action are like cars without engines. ” We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A different version I use a lot is: “We judge ourselves by our best attributes and most noble acts but we are judged […]

0 comments Read more »

COMMENTARY 942.3: Parents Are Teachers First

July 28, 2015 Parenting, Family

When John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, referred to the last game he “ever taught,” he was asked about this phrasing. He said simply that a coach is first and foremost a teacher who should not only improve his players’ athletic skills, but also help them become better people. And he was a superb teacher […]

0 comments Read more »
01 hang on


July 27, 2015 Commentaries

WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH.YOU HAVE TO HAVE H.O.P.E.. Hang On, Pain Ends. Remember, pain is unavoidable but it’s not permanent. The sun will come out tomorrow; it comes out every single day even when we can’t see it. You have the strength you need to get through this. The light at the end of the […]

0 comments Read more »
Iran anti america.jpeg

OBSERVATION: Our U.S. negotiators probably got the best deal they could but given the stakes in the currently proposed Iran agreement, no deal is better than a bad deal.

July 27, 2015 Commentaries

I don’t usually state political opinions on this blog but I have and will when i think an issue is particularly important and there seems to be an interest in my opinion. Thus, I am “coming out” on my view of the current Iran agreement proposal knowing it will anger or disappoint some of you. […]

0 comments Read more »

COMMENTARY 942.2: Trust Is More Important Than Truth

July 27, 2015 Parenting, Family

A study titled “Parenting by Lying” reveals that most parents lie to their children, even though they tell their kids lying is wrong. The parents surveyed said they didn’t feel guilty because their lies were intended to accomplish legitimate parental goals such as getting a child to stop crying or protecting a child from feeling […]

7 comments Read more »
01 judging

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

July 26, 2015 Commentaries
0 comments Read more »
01 personality

Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open. – Elmer G. Letterman

July 24, 2015 Commentaries
0 comments Read more »

COMMENTARY 942.1: The Parable of Brother Leo

July 24, 2015 Leadership

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

1 comment Read more »
Learning - mistakes stepping stones

QUOTE: Highly successful people often make more mistakes than those they surpass. They succeed because they learn from every mistake and turn them into stepping stones. — Michael Josephson

July 23, 2015 Quotes, Observations
0 comments Read more »

COMMENTARY 941.5 The Best Is Yet to Come … But Only if You Believe It

July 23, 2015 Quick Thoughts

If you are having a bad day . . . or week . . . or month . . . have a serious talk with yourself and decide what it will take to move on. Preoccupation with your problems, no matter how serious, compounds them and imprisons you in a dark dungeon. There is no […]

2 comments Read more »
Persistence - postage stamp

PERSISTENCE AND PERSEVERANCE: 100 Plus Best Ever Quotes compiled by Michael Josephson

July 23, 2015 Quotes, Observations

PERSISTENCE AND PERSEVERANCE: 100 Plus Best Ever Quotes compiled by Michael Josephson You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. ~ Maya Angelou […]

0 comments Read more »

COMMENTARY 941.4: The Best Dad

July 22, 2015 Parenting, Family

Years ago I heard a story of a dad named Paul who gave his young son a small chalkboard to practice writing on. One evening his son called out from the bedroom, “Dad, how do you spell best?” Paul answered him. Moments later, the boy hollered, “How do you spell kid?” Finally he asked, “How […]

0 comments Read more »
01 lily tomlin

If you are tempted to justify unseemly and unethical behavior because “life is a rat race”, remember – even if you win, you’re still a rat.

July 21, 2015 Commentaries

(Michael Josephson based on observation of Lily Tomlin)

0 comments Read more »

COMMENTARY 941.3: The Blue Stone and the White Lie

July 21, 2015 Honesty

This story is about a truth-versus-caring ethical dilemma I once had. I think I did the right thing but I keep wondering if there was a better way. I was putting my two-year-old to bed when Abrielle, who was four, came screaming down the hall in a panic. Samara, the five-and-a-half-year-old, was right behind her […]

10 comments Read more »

COMMENTARY 941.2: Advice About Teens

July 20, 2015 Parenting, Family

Here are three suggestions for the parents of young teens, all learned through my own mistakes: First, remember, with emerging demands for independence, worries about peer acceptance, pressures of school and extra-curricular activities and a continuous search for self-identity, adolescents are on a physical and emotional roller coaster. Like every generation before them (including yours), […]

2 comments Read more »
01 kindness in kids

QUOTE: No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure. Emma Goldman

July 19, 2015 Commentaries
1 comment Read more »
01 compared to what

QUOTE: When I hear somebody sigh that ”Life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, ”Compared to what?” ~ Sidney J. Harris

July 18, 2015 Commentaries
1 comment Read more »

COMMENTARY 941.1: Box Full of Love

July 17, 2015 Caring, Compassion

Todd was a sadly quiet eleven-year-old struggling to adjust to the death of his mother. His father left long ago and he was living with an aunt who made it known that she resented the responsibility. On several occasions, Sheryl, the boy’s teacher, heard the aunt tell Todd, “If it weren’t for my generosity you […]

5 comments Read more »
01 crumble

.QUOTE: Trust is like a paper, once it’s crumbled it can’t be perfect.

July 16, 2015 Commentaries

0 comments Read more »

COMMENTARY 940.5: Do I Have to Tell Everything?

July 16, 2015 Choices

Can a job applicant properly withhold information about a criminal record or being fired in a previous job? Can a woman who has just started dating properly say nothing about a previous marriage or abortion? These are problems of candor: When does an ethical person have a duty to reveal negative information about his past? […]

2 comments Read more »
Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 940.4: Mental Sunshine and Flowers

COMMENTARY 940.4: Mental Sunshine and Flowers

July 15, 2015 Caring, Compassion

Dave had to undergo painful throat surgery. Since he’s not a young man and makes his living as a professional speaker, the experience was frightening and traumatic. He told me his surgeon was skilled and the hospital workers were competent, but the cold indifference of the parade of nurses and doctors who came in and […]

4 comments Read more »
Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 940.3: Using All Your Strength

COMMENTARY 940.3: Using All Your Strength

July 14, 2015 Choices

A young boy was walking with his father along a country road. When they came across a very large tree branch the boy asked, “Do you think I could move that branch?” His father answered, “If you use all your strength, I’m sure you can.” So the boy tried mightily to lift, pull and push […]

3 comments Read more »
Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 940.2: The Struggle Between Wants and Shoulds

COMMENTARY 940.2: The Struggle Between Wants and Shoulds

July 13, 2015 Commentaries

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 […]

6 comments Read more »