COMMENTARY: Cheerfulness: A Conscious Act of Kindness 761.5

My mother died of cancer when I was 18. The disease was detected a year earlier during her pregnancy with her sixth child. On the day she delivered, both breasts were removed. During her illness, our household became increasingly gloomy. It’s hard to watch someone you love get sicker and sicker. But my mom was always a pleasure to be …

COMMENTARY: Surviving Grief and Tragedy – The Spark Within 760.4

Here’s the bad news: Virtue isn’t a golden ticket to a pain-free life. Bad things happen to good people as often as they happen to bad people. It seems unfair, but in the natural order of the world, suffering is random. To expect otherwise is to sentence oneself to despondency, disillusionment, bitterness, and anger. Here’s the good news: The magic power that …

WORTH READING: “For fourteen years, I have personally grown with Michael, learning to summon the moral courage to choose the road less traveled and to build my character day by day, decision by decision.” – Essay contest winner David Williams, high school teacher

In the fall, about 80 listeners to Michael Josephson’s radio commentaries submitted essays describing how his daily messages affected their lives. Ten finalists were selected, and a vote of readers of Michael’s newsletter and this blog selected the winners.  Here is the entry of one of the five winners, David Williams. I confess that I keep a secret list of influential people …

COMMENTARY: True Friends 757.3

So what are the qualities of a true friend? True friends are good companions, people you enjoy doing things with, but they are also people you just enjoy being with. In true friendships the activity is incidental – it doesn’t matter much what you are doing together as long as you are together. True friends are people you want to …

COMMENTARY: The Treasure of Old Friends 757.2

In my lifetime, I’ve had the good fortune of having a handful of good friends. Each of my four teenage daughters have many hundreds. At least that what they call every Facebook connection they collect like trophies. The list of those kinds of friends includes people they barely know, some they don’t know at all and even some people they …

CONGRATULATIONS! Announcing the Winners of the 2011 Commentary Essay Contest!

In the fall of 2011, the Josephson Institute of Ethics created a special contest to celebrate the end of Michael Josephson’s extraordinary run of more than 14 years  on KNX-AM1070 radio in Los Angeles. Listeners and newsletter readers were invited to write short essays on how his radio commentaries had make a positive impact on their lives. The prize: the …

COMMENTARY: Ask What Can You Do for Your Country

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy, invoked my generation to “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” We are fortunate to live in a free and democratic society where millions of civilians and soldiers serve their fellow citizens. Last Friday was Veteran’s Day and the weekend provided the nation …

COMMENTARY: The Cookie Thief 747.2

There’s a nice poem circulating on the Internet about a woman who bought some cookies and a book at an airport and sat down to read and nibble while waiting for her plane. She soon noticed a man sitting next to her, who casually took a cookie from the bag. Although shocked and seething, the woman remained silent as the …

Moving Beyond 9/11 740.1

I’ve been enlightened and uplifted by many articles and TV specials commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It’s important and appropriate that we pause to honor with reverence and gratitude the lives lost and mangled and the noble efforts of those who struggled mightily to rescue them. We should learn the lesson that life is fragile. We’re all …

Beyond Platitudes 721.1

How can one continue to advocate optimism in a world so filled with tragedy? How empty do platitudes about positive thinking feel to people in Alabama, Japan, or Haiti, whose lives were ravaged by tornadoes, tsunamis, and earthquakes? Or, for that matter, to folks whose lives have been turned upside down by illness, betrayal of an unfaithful spouse, or financial …

Posttraumatic Growth 714.2

I’ve been fascinated, awestruck, and intimidated by disturbingly vivid real-time images of the destructive force of shifting earth and massive waves of water. Technology has given us an unprecedented ability to experience every nuance of Mother Nature’s show of power. The visuals have an unreal science fiction quality that can cause us to distance ourselves from the tidal waves of …