COMMENTARY: The Values Our Kids Learn From Others

Blessed with the opportunities and obligations of raising four young daughters, my wife Anne and I are profoundly aware of the importance of instilling good values that will help them become capable, honorable and happy adults. I think we’re doing a pretty good job, but we know that isn’t enough. Frankly, we’re worried about the values and character of your …

COMMENTARY: Moral Courage — The Engine of Integrity

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 …

COMMENTARY: The Power of Kindness

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 …

COMMENTARY: The Peculiar Concept of “Ethics Laws”

Cynicism about the ethics of elected officials may be at an all-time high, continually fueled by new stories of outright corruption or bad judgment. At every level of government there are politicians who can’t seem to recognize or resist conflicts of interest, inappropriate gifts, improper use of the power or property entrusted to them, or the discrediting impact of shameful …

Lying hangover

COMMENTARY: The Truth About Trust and Lies

Honesty may not always pay, but lying always costs. Reputation, trust and credibility are assets no organization can afford to lose and the surest way to lose them is to lie. Building trust is like building a tower, stone by stone. But no matter how high or strong the tower seems, if you remove a stone from the bottom the …

COMMENTARY: A Dad Sending His Daughter Off to College

I want to share a slightly edited portion of a letter my friend Scott Raecker wrote to his daughter Emily on sending her off to college: My Dear Emily, My life changed the day we found out that you were on your way. From that moment forward, you have been on my mind and heart – every day. I vividly …

COMMENTARY: Give and Receive as if It’s the Thought That Counts

According to legend, a desert wanderer discovered a spring of cool, crystal-clear water. It tasted so good, he filled a leather container with the precious liquid so he could bring it to the king. After a long journey, he presented his gift to the king, who drank it with great pleasure and lavishly thanked the wanderer, who went away with …

COMMENTARY: Great Pitcher or Great Hitter? It’s a Matter of Perspective

Does attitude really mean that much? Can you really change the way you experience the world by changing your perspective? Consider this story: When Ron gave his seven-year-old son Nick a ball and bat, Nick wanted to play immediately. Ron said, “Son, baseball is a serious game. You have to practice hard before you can play it.”  The boy went outside …

COMMENTARY: The Ultimate Gift

Jimmy was nine when his mom told him his little sister was sick and would die if she didn’t get a blood transfusion – and Jimmy was one of the only people in the world who had the rare blood type needed. She asked if he would be willing to let the doctors give some of his blood to his …

COMMENTARY: Parenting Modern Kids in a Modern World

A hit number in the 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie was a classic parent’s lament starting with, “I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today! Why can’t they be like we were?” The answer, of course, is they’re just like we were, but many of us aren’t like our parents were. Sometimes that’s good, often it’s not. Every generation of kids coping …

New York City Skyline - World Trade Center

9-11 – THE DUTY TO REMEMBER AND TEACH

Nine-Eleven. Two Numbers which took on new meaning on September 11, 2001. Since then, these numbers together have become a phrase that will forever be a prominent turning point event in American history.There is a natural tendency to repress painful lessons and the grief we experienced, yet we must not forget or fail to educate our children about what we …

Historic moments - we remember

NINE-ELEVEN IMAGES

The second plane crashes into the World Trade Center.   . Survivors leave the World Trade Center Site. . . New York City Skyline - World Trade Center .
Historic moments - 9-11  raising the flag

NINE-ELEVEN VIDEOS

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW8puRqE4Sc[/embedyt] [embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZwqMS4wnu8[/embedyt]    

Historic moments - childs reflection candles

COMMENTARY: Moving Beyond 9/11

I’ve become increasingly ambivalent about the way we commemorate the dark days and months that began on September 11th, 2001. Each year the memories and all the feelings they evoke are less vivid. Thus, the news articles, commentaries and TV specials about the 9/11 attacks serve as important reminders, not only of the immeasurable loss of life and the permanent …

COMMENTARY: Be What You Want to Be

“What will you be when you grow up?” It’s a serious question. As kids, we knew we were going to be something and that to be something was to be someone. Even as our ambitions changed, we knew what we were going to be was important and our choice. When I entered UCLA Law School in 1964, I wanted to …

MJ - Coach Wooden interviewed by MJ

COMMENTARY: Coach Wooden the Philosopher

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 …

COMMENTARY: The Power of One

Reading about the 31-year-old “rogue trader” arrested in London for unauthorized transactions that cost the Swiss Bank UBS $2 billion caused me to think about the power of one person. I’m not talking about great heroes and villains who changed the course of history, but smaller acts by ordinary people. There are lots of angles to thinking about the power …

COMMENTARY: A Lifetime of Setting and Changing Goals

I believe in setting goals. I also believe in changing goals. As a fourth grader, I was a guest on the TV show Kids Say the Darndest Things and I said, “I want to be a lawyer because my mother says I talk so much I might as well get paid for it.” I entered law school in the idealistic 1960s, …

COMMENTARY: It’s Your Job to Enjoy Your Job

Labor Day is, first and foremost, a day off from work to do something you enjoy, or to catch up on domestic tasks awaiting your attention. It’s also an ideal time to think about the role that work plays in your life. For some, work is a necessary evil. It’s doing what they have to do to make a decent …

Labor Day: The Key Is Balance

Labor Day comes just a week before the anniversary of 9/11. One legacy for those of us who have vivid memories of seeing the massive twin towers collapse into a plume of dust is a strong ever-present sense of vulnerability, offset by recognition that life is a gift that must be savored and appreciated in its smallest increments from days …

COMMENTARY: Changing Lives

Long ago when I was a law professor, I was at a conference and a man I didn’t recognize greeted me warmly. He said he wanted to thank me for changing his life. I was embarrassed as I listened to him tell me that he had met me after a speech I had given at his law school. He said …

COMMENTARY: The Twists and Turns of Life

Years ago, Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben introduced the New Year rituals of Rosh Hashanah by holding up a long, coiled ram’s horn. Pointing out the twists and turns, he used the shofar as a metaphor for life. “No one’s life,” he said, “is straight and predictable.” Twists, dips and bends, as well as ups and downs are inevitable. How we …

COMMENTARY: “You’re Only Cheating Yourself”

It’s in the news all the time – kids are cheating in school in new ways and at unprecedented rates. One of the reasons is the way schools and parents deal with or ignore the underlying issues of integrity and character. For instance, to discourage kids from cheating, adults commonly say, “You’re only cheating yourself.” Of course cheating damages credibility …

COMMENTARY: This Is My Dad, Sam Burke”

Ann’s father, Sam Burke, was in the last stages of cancer, and his needs had gone beyond what she could provide at home. She was distraught at the thought of placing him in a convalescent home. The check-in process confirmed her worst fears. Administrators, nurses, and doctors who seemed bothered, bored, or burned out quickly transformed Sam Burke into just …

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“People of character do the right thing even if no one else does, not because they think it will change the world, but because they refuse to be changed by the world.”

“People of character do the right thing even if no one else does, not because they think it will change the world, but because they refuse to be changed by the world.” -Michael Josephson People who value their character above their comfort do not lead an easier life; they lead a better life. They pay a price when they choose …

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Making Your Parents Proud

“I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.” – Sidney Poitier