What Will Matter http://whatwillmatter.com Thoughts on better parenting, teaching, management, and leadership Mon, 26 Jan 2015 06:26:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Michael Josephson is a noted radio commentator and the founder and president of the nonprofit Josephson Institute of Ethics and CHARACTER COUNTS!. Subscribers and regular visitors to his blog at WhatWillMatter.com will find written and audio versions of radio commentaries, plus quotations, observations, guest articles, videos, images, surveys, and recommendations. Michael Josephson no Michael Josephson snish@jiethics.org snish@jiethics.org (Michael Josephson) Josephson Institute Thoughts on better parenting, teaching, management, and leadership What Will Matter http://whatwillmatter.com/images/WWM-graphic-for-itunes_600x600.jpg http://whatwillmatter.com Los Angeles, California weekdays COMMENTARY 916.1: INFLATEGATE – Cheating in the NFL – to care or not to care, that is the question. http://whatwillmatter.com/cheating+in+the+NFL+%3Fp%3D24172 http://whatwillmatter.com/cheating+in+the+NFL+%3Fp%3D24172#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 07:29:05 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=24172 So, are you worked up about the boiling controversy over under-inflated footballs? Do you care that there seems to be cheating in the NFL. Big deal or trivial? It’s all is a matter of perspective. For example, several months ago ago, it was confirmed that the U.S., in the pursuit of terrorist information, has and […]

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COMMENTARY 915.5: The Treasure of Old Friends http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-808-5-the-treasure-of-old-friends/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-808-5-the-treasure-of-old-friends/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:30:25 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=19755 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’s 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, […]

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http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-808-5-the-treasure-of-old-friends/feed/ 6 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's what they call every Facebook connection they collect like trophies. 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's 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 don’t like. They also have lots of real friends – people they actually know and spend time with. They profess to “love” and “miss” quite a few and, though it defies the meaning of the word “best” they each have a rotating group of best friends often referred to a BFFs (best friends forever) or BFFLs (best friends for life). It’s pretty obvious to an old codger like me (using the word codger proves how old I am), that their use of the labels “friend” and “best friend” represents a diluted and naïve concept of the intensity and longevity of friendship. In relationships, “forever” is, outside of rare exceptions, a romantic illusion borne out of real but transitory emotions. From the perch provided by decades of experience, it’s pretty obvious that none or only a few of today’s BFFs will be in their lives for very long. This is not to say that these relationships aren’t important or that they don’t provide all kinds of needed comforts such as companionship, validation, support, fun, and caring counsel. But just as lasting and meaningful love is hard to find and sustain, true friendships are rare and, therefore, precious. Generally, the intensity and longevity of almost all friendships are tied to context, place and time. Except for friendships with relatives (if you’re fortunate to have any who really are your friends), friendships rarely make the transition from one major stage of our lives to another. And though we may feel affection for old friends who once played a central role in our lives, unless we have been in regular contact, many of the qualities that made the relationship so special (shared joys and grief in real time, common experiences, intimate knowledge of our thoughts and feelings) just aren’t there anymore. The insight of age is that even our best friendships usually morph into memories. Fortunately, the emotions that define these memories are easily re-awakened and enjoyed with even infrequent contact. Communicating with “old friends” can enrich our lives by  bringing our pasts into the present, reminding us of who we were and how we became what we are. The irony is that Facebook, which seems to promote a watered down version of friendship for my kids, also makes it possible for me to re-connect with a small army of far-flung folks who once played a major role in my life — and I’m glad for that. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. Michael Josephson no 1:33
COMMENTARY 915.4: Some of the Things I’ve Learned http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-807-4-some-of-the-things-ive-learned/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-807-4-some-of-the-things-ive-learned/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:30:51 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=19597 I hope the new year is off to a good start for you, and that you are confident that 2015 will be full of opportunities and challenges that will bring you pleasure and fulfillment. It’s traditional to start the New Year with resolutions designed to help us live healthier, happier, and more rewarding lives. But the […]

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http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-807-4-some-of-the-things-ive-learned/feed/ 1 I hope the new year is off to a good start for you, and that you are confident that 2015 will be full of opportunities and challenges that will bring you pleasure and fulfillment. - It’s traditional to start the New Year with resolutions designed to h... I hope the new year is off to a good start for you, and that you are confident that 2015 will be full of opportunities and challenges that will bring you pleasure and fulfillment. It’s traditional to start the New Year with resolutions designed to help us live healthier, happier, and more rewarding lives. But the ritual of starting a new calendar also allows us to reflect on some of the important things we’ve learned over the years, the insights we want to pass on, and the things we’ve learned that make us not only smarter, but wiser. For instance, I’ve learned that I am still a work in process; that as long as I can think I can learn. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn but if I keep learning I will get better; and the better I get, the happier I will be. I’ve learned that trying to be a good person doesn’t get any easier and that being a good person often requires me to do the right thing even when it costs more than I want to pay. I’ve learned that kindness is more important than cleverness and that carrying grudges is foolish and self-defeating. I’ve learned that my dad was right when he told me, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and that tenacity is more important to success than talent. I’ve learned that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional and that I have a lot to say about my own happiness. I’ve learned that a life focused on fun and pleasure rarely leads to happiness or fulfillment. I’ve learned that in my personal relationships and in the workplace I’ve got to set limits because whatever I allow, I encourage. I’ve learned that the things I like to do least are often the things that need to be done most. I’ve learned that it’s easy to fall into self-righteousness and that neither the intensity of my feelings nor the certainty of my convictions is any assurance that I’m right. I’ve learned that unless I translate my thoughts into actions, my great ideas and good intentions are like unlit candles. I’ve learned that I cannot lie myself out of a problem and that the problems I ignore don’t go away, they just grow bigger. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. Michael Josephson no 1:43
COMMENTARY 915.3: Happiness Is More Than Fun and Pleasure http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-860-5-happiness-is-more-than-fun-and-pleasure/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-860-5-happiness-is-more-than-fun-and-pleasure/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:36:56 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=22910 Ask young people why they get high on drugs or alcohol or seek sex without intimacy or commitment and they’re likely to tell you it’s fun and they just want to be happy. It’s tempting to envy the life of fun-loving “party animals,” “playboys,” and “good-time girls” until one thinks about how they feel about themselves […]

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http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-860-5-happiness-is-more-than-fun-and-pleasure/feed/ 4 Ask young people why they get high on drugs or alcohol or seek sex without intimacy or commitment and they’re likely to tell you it’s fun and they just want to be happy. - It’s tempting to envy the life of fun-loving “party animals,” “playboys, Ask young people why they get high on drugs or alcohol or seek sex without intimacy or commitment and they’re likely to tell you it’s fun and they just want to be happy. It’s tempting to envy the life of fun-loving “party animals,” “playboys,” and “good-time girls” until one thinks about how they feel about themselves and their lives when they’re alone without the hyped-up stimulation they seem to thrive on. It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that if happiness is the destination, these folks are on the wrong road. The problem is, the intense sensation of fun or feelings of pleasure experienced by a substance-induced buzz or an exciting sexual encounter are quickly replaced with a consuming sense of emptiness that drives a need to start all over to fill the vessel again. Each time drinkers, drug users, or sex addicts discover that getting what they wanted isn’t making them happy, they fall into the despondency conveyed in the famous Peggy Lee song: “Is That All There Is?” People who make pleasure-seeking the focus of their lives are like drug addicts who need continually stronger and more dangerous doses to get high. Happiness is different than fun and pleasure. It’s a less intense, but more durable, feeling of well-being. It’s not a continuous state. A good life is usually seasoned with moments of joy and despair, play and work, success and failure. Happiness is a kind of emotional resting place of quiet satisfaction with one’s life. The art of living a happy life is not having more of what you want but getting better at enjoying what you have. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. Michael Josephson no 1:35
COMMENTARY 915.2: The Wisdom and Philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-811-2the-wisdom-and-philosophy-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-811-2the-wisdom-and-philosophy-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 10:30:04 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=19851 For a man who never reached the age of 40, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., left a powerful and important body of thought. He was a preacher and orator, so rather than writing in the form of books or treatises, Dr. King spoke to the world in sermons and speeches and a few articles. His […]

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COMMENTARY 915.1: Remembering the Civil Rights Movement http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-remembering-the-civil-rights-movement-758-1/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-remembering-the-civil-rights-movement-758-1/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:20:03 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=15213 I grew up in the 1960’s and remember the tumultuous times in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his historic mark on American society. Dr. King was always one of my heroes. So I was delighted a few years ago when I was asked to deliver an address about his legacy. I wasn’t ready, however, for […]

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http://whatwillmatter.com/2014/01/commentary-remembering-the-civil-rights-movement-758-1/feed/ 4 I grew up in the 1960's and remember the tumultuous times in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his historic mark on American society. Dr. King was always one of my heroes. So I was delighted a few years ago when I was asked to deliver an address ... I grew up in the 1960's and remember the tumultuous times in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his historic mark on American society. Dr. King was always one of my heroes. So I was delighted a few years ago when I was asked to deliver an address about his legacy. I wasn't ready, however, for the range and depth of emotions evoked during my research. Reading old news articles and viewing black and white photos of the problem of racial discrimination and the struggle against it made me realize how much I had forgotten or repressed about my country's awful legacy of slavery, bigotry, and government-sanctioned segregation. Time had dulled my memory of heart-wrenching and conscience-burning images of lynchings, murdered civil rights workers, church bombings, cross burnings, screaming mobs, white-hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan, police attacking demonstrators with dogs and, of course, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. It's been just over 50 years since Governor George Wallace of Alabama declared, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" And though the time when there were neighborhoods where African Americans were barred, hotels where they couldn't stay, restaurants where they couldn't eat, and drinking fountains they couldn’t use is becoming a distant memory, the fact that this level of social injustice existed at all should both shame and caution us. The book and movie The Help is an eloquent and moving reminder of the pervasiveness of prejudice and its withering effect on the human spirit. I hope parents and teachers will use the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday as an impetus to paint a vivid picture for children that conveys not just the facts, but the feelings of outrage and injustice that fueled Dr. King’s courageous leadership, and motivated tens of thousands of black and white people to follow him on marches, boycotts, and sit-ins. Without this context, one cannot truly appreciate the importance of Dr. King's contributions to American life and the distance we’ve come because of him. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. Michael Josephson no 2:26
COMMENTARY 914.5: The Seven Cs of Character http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-808-4-the-seven-cs-of-character/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-808-4-the-seven-cs-of-character/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:30:12 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=19600 As you consider your goals for the New Year, I hope you’ll think about working on your character. No, you’re not too old and I don’t mean to imply you’re a bad person. As I’ve said often, “you don’t have to be sick to get better.” In fact, it’s a lot easier to make a […]

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COMMENTARY 914.4: So, What Makes Us Happy? http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-783-4-so-what-makes-us-happy/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-783-4-so-what-makes-us-happy/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:06:14 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=18108 There is an ever-growing body of knowledge about the nature and causes of happiness. For one thing, it’s clear that happiness is a feeling, not a circumstance. Happiness is more than just fun or pleasure. It’s a more durable sense of well being. Our happiness depends not on what happens to us, but what happens […]

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http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-783-4-so-what-makes-us-happy/feed/ 3 There is an ever-growing body of knowledge about the nature and causes of happiness. - For one thing, it’s clear that happiness is a feeling, not a circumstance. Happiness is more than just fun or pleasure. It’s a more durable sense of well being. - There is an ever-growing body of knowledge about the nature and causes of happiness. For one thing, it’s clear that happiness is a feeling, not a circumstance. Happiness is more than just fun or pleasure. It’s a more durable sense of well being. Our happiness depends not on what happens to us, but what happens in us. In other words, it’s the way we choose to think about our lives. Abe Lincoln said, “People are generally about as happy as they’re willing to be.” A Buddhist proverb tells us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. So, what are the most common attributes of happy people? Well, it’s not money, fame, or good looks. It’s not even intelligence or talent. No, the two most important factors are gratitude and rewarding personal relationships. The formula is simple: count your blessings and enjoy your family and friends. Sadly, simple is not always easy. People whose natural instincts produce a gloomy outlook and pessimism need to re-train their minds. It’s one thing to say happiness is not getting what you want but wanting what you get; it’s quite another to really be satisfied with what we have. For many people, it takes discipline and practice to think positively. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing one’s perspective, choosing to see and appreciate the silver lining, the half full glass. In other cases, what’s required is refusing to dwell on pain, disappointment, or envy, and instead force one’s mind toward good thoughts, including all the things we should be grateful for. Interestingly, the ability to maintain a positive attitude is also important in forming and sustaining meaningful relationships – seeing and bringing out the best. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. Michael Josephson no 1:39
COMMENTARY 914.3: Don’t Miss the Chance http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-797-2-dont-miss-the-chance/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-797-2-dont-miss-the-chance/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=18594 A listener got me thinking about the challenge of dealing with aging parents who become more and more needy and the conflicts one is bound to feel. It motivated me to write this poem: Don’t Miss the Chance They said I was lucky my mom lived near, But she was pretty old and it wasn’t […]

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http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-797-2-dont-miss-the-chance/feed/ 1 A listener got me thinking about the challenge of dealing with aging parents who become more and more needy and the conflicts one is bound to feel. It motivated me to write this poem: - Don’t Miss the Chance - They said I was lucky my mom lived near, A listener got me thinking about the challenge of dealing with aging parents who become more and more needy and the conflicts one is bound to feel. It motivated me to write this poem: Don’t Miss the Chance They said I was lucky my mom lived near, But she was pretty old and it wasn’t so clear. Sure, I was grateful for all she did for me, But I was so very busy. I had no time free. I had my job, my kids, my own life to live. There really was nothing left for me to give. I couldn’t visit often, but I did help out. I gave money, did chores, and ran her about. But truth be told, I didn’t like it that much. The conversation was dull, and she was frail to touch. She complained a lot and I just felt worse. I didn’t have time to be handyman or nurse. I could have done more – of course I could – But she loved me and she understood. I know she did because she told me so. She wanted me to be happy – and I pretended not to know That she was lonely, uncomfortable, and scared of dying. I closed my eyes to how hard she was trying To be brave, independent, and not needy at all. She assured me she’d be fine even after her fall. But now she’s gone and I miss her so, And I’m so sorry I pretended not to know How much a call, a card, or a hug brightened her day Or how easy it was to chase her blues away. I’m ashamed I felt burdened, pressured, and put out. She deserved more than I gave her, without a doubt. So if your mom or dad is still with you, Don’t lose the chance – do all you can do. Make time, not excuses. Go the extra mile. Because your chance to do so lasts only a while. This is Michael Josephson, reminding you that character counts. Michael Josephson no 1:37
COMMENTARY 914.2: Doctoring With a Heart http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-796-1-doctoring-with-a-heart/ http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-796-1-doctoring-with-a-heart/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 11:00:22 +0000 http://whatwillmatter.com/?p=18580 When you visit a medical specialist, an emergency room, or a patient in the hospital, are you ever struck by a sense that many doctors are so focused on the scientific aspects of diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury that they ignore, maybe even become annoyed by, things like pain, fear, or anxiety? In […]

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http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/12/commentary-796-1-doctoring-with-a-heart/feed/ 3 When you visit a medical specialist, an emergency room, or a patient in the hospital, are you ever struck by a sense that many doctors are so focused on the scientific aspects of diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury that they ignore, When you visit a medical specialist, an emergency room, or a patient in the hospital, are you ever struck by a sense that many doctors are so focused on the scientific aspects of diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury that they ignore, maybe even become annoyed by, things like pain, fear, or anxiety? In her book Medicine as Ministry, Dr. Margaret Mohrmann, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia, proposes a dramatically different perspective. If accepted, it could drastically change the nature of medical training and treatment. She contends that doctors tend to view their roles and responsibilities too narrowly. The ultimate object of medicine, she says, is not just to diagnose and cure disease, but to alleviate suffering. In other words, doctors should see themselves as healers, not merely scientists. “The practice of the ministry of medicine,” she adds, “is the practice of paying attention.” Being attentive means sensing, treating seriously, and responding appropriately to the myriad feelings that inevitably accompany illness and injury. In her view, the most needed remedy for the kinds of suffering doctors face daily is not more or better painkilling drugs, but more genuine caring. She says doctors should listen more even if it makes them weep. She believes true compassion and empathy are healing agents for pain and anxiety. Genuine gestures of concern – from a comforting squeeze of the hand to a follow-up phone call or visit – can be as important as prescriptions and surgical procedures. I think she’s right. It takes a kind of moral courage for a doctor to keep an open heart. But what a huge difference it would make. This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. Michael Josephson no 1:32