00 Balance

COMMENTARY 971.3: FINDING A HEALTHY BALANCE: To live and enjoy a good life, find a healthy balance between wanting more and appreciating enough. Realize that what you have is worthy of gratitude and appreciation, even as you strive for more.

It’s both a strength and weakness of human nature that we’re never satisfied for long. Whatever we have, wherever we are, most of us want more and better. When focused on money or power, our insatiability can turn into happiness-crushing greed, avarice, and obsessive ambition. But in many other areas of our life, our desire for more and better can …

00 Legal loopholes

COMMENTARY 970.3: Loopholes and Slippery Slopes

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 …

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SCHOOL’S OUT…AND WE HAVE NO IDEA WHEN THEY WILL OPEN AGAIN.

SCHOOL’S OUT… …AND WE HAVE NO IDEA WHEN THEY WILL OPEN AGAIN.    Sadly, I think the LA superintendent gave terrorists their greatest victory since 9/11. It’s likely terrorists had nothing to do with the threat that caused the superintendent to instill a new level of fear in more than a half million students and the millions of adults who love them. The …

a MJ photo

A Personal Note from Michael

As I celebrate my 73rd revolution around the sun (December 10) I am immensely grateful, not only to still be alive, but because the Josephson Institute and its CHARACTER COUNTS!  program have emerged from our most challenging year ever poised to reach new levels of impact on the character of our kids and the ethical quality of the country. There …

COMMENTARY 959.4: Thanking Your Parents on Thanksgiving

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I hope you will think about your parents with your most gentle and generous thoughts and be thankful. Even if you didn’t have ideal parents or a perfect home life, if either or both of your parents are still with you, make an effort to experience and express genuine gratitude. It’s natural to take for granted what …

COMMENTARY 958.1: The Intimidating Power of Integrity

A teacher once wrote telling me that a parent with a great deal of clout at her school asked her to change attendance records to make her child’s record look better. The teacher said she thought long and hard about the request but eventually refused, knowing it would make the parent angry. I commended her moral courage. I wish it …

COMMENTARY 956.4: Control Your Choices and Control Your Life

Our choices reveal our character, but more importantly they shape our character. Thus, the more aware we become of the choices we make every single day — choices about our attitudes, words, actions and reactions — the more power we have over our own destiny. Senator Bob Bennett of Utah said, “Your life is the sum result of all the …

COMMENTARY 955.1: Nice Guys Finish First: Good Ethics Is Good Business

“Nice guys finish last.” This maxim originated with a fiercely competitive baseball manager named Leo Durocher who shamelessly advocated ruthlessness, cheating, and dirty play. It is also used to explain why sweet, thoughtful men lose out to self-centered jerks in the world of dating. Lots of people believe the philosophy applies in business as well. The rationale: nice is the same …

COMMENTARY 954.5: 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 952.4: 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 …

COMMENTARY 952.3: 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 951.5: 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 …

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CC! Founder, Michael Josephson, in South Korea to Discuss Character Education

CC! Founder Michael Josephsonis in South Korea this week meeting with education officials to discuss nation’s new plans to introduce character education into schools. One of the challenges South Korea faces is the nation’s addiction to the internet and how that is impacting the kids. http://www.abc.net.au/…/south-korean-children-seek-…/6769766  

COMMENTARY 949.4: “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 948.2: Competition in the Arts

Competition often brings out the best performance but it doesn’t always bring out the best in people. Even in the arts, actors, singers, dancers, and musicians must survive and thrive in a competitive community as rude and rough as any. Ambitious parents often introduce toxic gamesmanship and back-biting attitudes very early as their children are judged and ranked by the …

COMMENTARY 947.2: Emotional Resilience

Despite romanticized myths about the gloriously carefree teenage years, adolescence has always been an emotional battlefield where young people must fight their way through insecurity, depression and anger. For many teens, classrooms, playgrounds and hallways are hostile environments where name-calling, malicious gossip, taunting, and physical bullying regularly threaten their emotional and physical well-being Technology has not made kids meaner but …

COMMENTARY 946.2: The Ultimate Solution to Bullying in Schools: A Student-Led Culture of Kindness

Olivia Gardner was a sixth grader in Northern California when her life began to unravel. It started when she suffered an epileptic seizure in front of her classmates. Immediately, the name-calling began. The hallway insults and ridicule — “freak,” “retard,” “weirdo” — escalated into cyber-bullying when a few particularly nasty students set up an “Olivia Haters” website. One student dragged …

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Life is short. Smile as often as you can – then keep smiling.

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Mother Teresa. CHARACTER COUNTS! (www.charactercounts.org) focuses on creating a positive school climate where children are both physically and emotionally safe, where they feel they are accepted and valued and where they feel they belong. One of the most effective ways …

Everyday Ethics: What You Do in the Grocery Store (944.1)

You can tell a lot about people’s character by how they act at the grocery store. I remember being in a crowded store when there was a shortage of shopping carts. A prosperous-looking fellow was pushing a cart when another man stopped him. “Excuse me,” the second man said, “but this is my cart.” The first guy looked really annoyed. …

School Principal: The Most Difficult CEO Job in the Nation (943.4)

Schools all over the nation are struggling to modify their strategies to meet the Common Core demands regarding critical thinking and problem solving. They must also find ways to teach 21st Century workplace skills, enhance students’ social and emotional development, and, of course, build their character so they become responsible and productive citizens. Oh, they must also be sure to create an …

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CHARACTER: When it comes to character, why can’t everyone be more like me?

Everyone I talk to agrees: this country (company, agency or school) needs more people with good old-fashioned character. You know, the kind of people who place ethics above expediency and integrity over personal advantage, people you can count on to do the right thing even if it may cost them more than they want to pay. The problem is it’s …

Success & Failure Made Simple

SUCCESS AND FAILURE MADE SIMPLE by Michael Josephson

SUCCESS AND FAILURE MADE SIMPLE     What is Success?  Few questions have been asked more often by more people. The concept of success and the concept often thought to be its opposite, failure are central to the human quest for meaning and for happiness. Most of us very much want to be successful in our professions, successful in our …

COMMENTARY 943.1: Justin’s Introduction to Candor

When my son Justin was in high school, I went to an open house to meet his teachers. I was taken aback when one teacher casually mentioned that she had disciplined my son for cheating on a homework assignment. I asked my son why he hadn’t told me about this incident. “You didn’t ask,” he said. To say the least, …

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Teachers affect all eternity. You never know where their influence stops.

Teachers affect all eternity. You never know where their influence stops.” – Henry Adams. The day to day tribulations of teaching, especially in often overcrowded and under-resourced public schools, can be so consuming that both the teachers and students forget the monumentally important impact they have on children. Often the impact goes unnoticed but it occurs. A great teacher teaches …

COMMENTARY 942.3: Parents Are Teachers First

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 whose lasting influence is reflected …

Perseverance - greatest quotations

PERSEVERANCE & PERSISTENCE: Greatest Quotations on Perseverance and Persistence compiled by Michael Josephson

 We are glad you visited us to find this selection quotes on mothers and motherhood. The Josephson Institute is a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing the ethical quality of individual and personal decision making.  I hope you’ll browse our other entries and subscribe to our What Will Matter blog at www.whatwillmatter.com (it’s free) and/or our What Will Matter Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/WhatWillMatter?ref=hl. …

COMMENTARY 941.2: Advice About Teens

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), young teens are often arrogant …

COMMENTARY 941.1: Box Full of Love

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 would be a homeless orphan.” …