Memo From Michael: Take a Stand on Gay Rights

One thing I’ve learned in the 813 weeks I’ve been writing and posting these commentaries is that some people who love you (or at least say they do) can turn on a dime if you disagree with them on something fundamentally important to them. So I confess I think twice (or more) before I publish a commentary I know will …

Memo From Michael: Thoughts on Turning 70

I am approaching this last month of 2012 with optimism but a special eagerness to enter a completely new year, a blank canvas on which I hope to paint a grand mural of another year’s worth of challenges and successes. I confess that I have some trepidation approaching my 70th birthday (December 10) – that really, really sounds old to …

COMMENTARY 777.3: Keep Your Fork

When a pessimist is told there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s likely to assume it’s an onrushing train. According to journalist Sydney Harris, “A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he’s prematurely disappointed in the future.” Pessimism and cynicism are fashionable these days, but it’s the people who see and …

COMMENTARY 777.2: Memorial Day, A Day of Remembrance

It’s not just an excuse for a three-day weekend or a day for barbeque and beer. Memorial Day is a time for Americans to connect with our national history and core values by honoring those who gave their lives fighting for this country. It’s said that this special day to salute fallen Americans was born during the Civil War in …

COMMENTARY 777.1: Day of Gratitude

Our nation was conceived by idealistic and courageous political leaders, but it was preserved by the immense and immeasurable sacrifice of millions of soldiers who fought and died to transform the democratic principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence into a country we proudly call the United States of America.

COMMENTARY 776.5: Coaching for Character

I’ve spent lots of time with some of the world’s most successful coaches. I discovered that many of them think about character a lot, especially traits that are important to winning – like self-discipline, perseverance, resiliency, and courage. They pay less attention to virtues like honesty, integrity, responsibility, compassion, respect, and fairness – aspects of character that make a good …

COMMENTARY 776.3: I’m Better Than That

Ron, a nine-year-old boy, was being raised by his mother who didn’t know how to cope with his uncontrollable temper. She knew he was angry that his father had abandoned him, and she tried professional counseling, but nothing seemed to work. So she sent Ron to spend the summer on his grandparents’ farm. When he came home, he was a …

COMMENTARY 776.2: Eighteen Random Life Rules

I love maxims, those concise capsules of worldly wisdom. I collect them and write them and, of course, love to share them. Here are 18 random rules of life worth posting on your mirror or, better yet, using as dinner-time discussion starters. Find the lesson in every failure and you’ll never fail. The likelihood that you’re right is not increased …

COMMENTARY 775.1: Mothers — Saints or Scapegoats?

What class of people has been more glorified or vilified than Mothers? On the one hand, we are frequently confronted with an idealized image of the sainted, angel mother, often with white hair and hands callused from work. She is the embodiment of the most beneficent human qualities: nurturing, loving, devoted and wise. And she  is the favorite subject of …

COMMENTARY 774.5: 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, …

COMMENTARY 774.3: Accountability in the Workplace

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time consulting with large companies concerned with strengthening their ethical culture. Although I’m sure the leaders I work with care about ethics and virtue for their own sake, I know the driving force to seek outside assistance is self-interest. The risk of reputation-damaging and resource-draining charges resulting from improper conduct is so high …

COMMENTARY 774.2: He Made You

As Lily Tomlin said, “No matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up.” Our economy has been shattered by widespread corporate fraud; kids lie, steal, and cheat at unprecedented rates; and their parents beat up each other or referees at youth sports events or supply alcohol to fuel organized hazing. Our confidence in the integrity of journalistic institutions, the …

COMMENTARY 774.1: Acting on Principle and Good Intentions

I once heard a story about an emergency medical technician I’ll call Jake who was summoned to help an unconscious woman. When he arrived, she had no pulse. From her color and dilated eyes, he could tell she’d suffered serious brain damage. Still, he did his job exceptionally well, trying over and over to restart her heart. She finally regained …

COMMENTARY 773.5 & STTA #6: The Master Carpenter and His Crumbling Integrity

Hi, this is Michael Josephson with something to think about. Joe was a master carpenter who worked for Martin, a very successful builder of fine homes for 40 years. When he told Martin he wanted to retire, Martin thanked him graciously and gave him a $10,000 check for Joe’s years of service. Martin owned a magnificent lot with a spectacular …