Thoughts on better parenting, teaching, management, and leadership

What Will Matter - poem by Michael Josephson
This blog gets its name from Michael's inspirational poem.
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1 12 Truths About Lying


February 13, 2015 Commentaries

1. Honesty may not always pay, but lying always costs. 2. Trust is a tower, built stone by stone, lies take stones from the bottom. 3. There is no security in secrecy; every undiscovered lie is a live landmine. 4. Lies breed a bodyguard of new lies to protect themselves. 5. Lies look very different […]

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Credibility - Brian Williams

When credibility is important (and it always is), there are no little lies. – Michael Josephson

February 13, 2015 Character

No one should take any joy in seeing the undoing of a man’s  life by the bad judgment of telling what seems to be little lies. Most people, even good people, lie at least occasionally. Sometimes, as in Brian Williams case, it is a seemingly harmless embellishment or exaggeration of a story (“I caught a […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 919.1: Confessions of a Lincoln Groupie

COMMENTARY 919.1: Confessions of a Lincoln Groupie

February 13, 2015 Commentaries

I am an Abraham Lincoln groupie. He is my biggest hero. I have a huge collection of books and Lincoln memorabilia, my daughter, Abrielle, was named after him as was one of our family dogs. And by blind chance, my son Justin was born on his birthday. I often visit the Lincoln Memorial and stand […]

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How Six Years as President Changed Abraham Lincoln (physically)

February 12, 2015 Commentaries

(1) 1859 (the year of campaigning)  (2) 1863   (3) 1865 – last portrait              

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Lincoln Memorial

Favorite Quotes of Abraham Lincoln, A Favorite Hero

February 12, 2015 Quotes, Observations

Favorite Quotes of Abraham Lincoln Whatever you are, be a good one. Let’s have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it. Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. I destroy my enemies when […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 918.5: I Just Talk to People

COMMENTARY 918.5: I Just Talk to People

February 12, 2015 Attitude

Marta was a hard-working single mother. When her minister sermonized about “living a life that matters,” she worried that working to raise her kids and going to church wasn’t enough. So, on the bus to work she made a list of other jobs she could do and volunteer work she could try. Sylvia, an elderly […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 918.4: How Much Do You Want It to Be?

COMMENTARY 918.4: How Much Do You Want It to Be?

February 11, 2015 Commentaries

The founder of a company needed to choose his successor. He studied resumes and talked to references, but he decided to ask only one question during the final interview: “How much is 2 + 2?” Ann, the first candidate, worried that there was a trick but she answered straightforwardly. “There’s only one correct answer: it’s […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 918.3: Finding the Healthy Balance

COMMENTARY 918.3: Finding the Healthy Balance

February 10, 2015 Commentaries

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 […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 918.2: The Journey Through Adolescence

COMMENTARY 918.2: The Journey Through Adolescence

February 9, 2015 Commentaries

One of the toughest jobs in the world is being a teenager. Everything is in transition. Everything is intense — even apathy. Kids on the brink of adulthood have to cope with inconsistencies and conflicts. The desire to be special and different clashes with the need to belong and fit in. The desire for independence […]

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COMMENTARY: 918.1: Motive, Tact, Tone, and Timing

February 6, 2015 Commentaries

Trustworthiness is essential to good relationships, and honesty is essential to trustworthiness. Being honest isn’t simply telling the truth, though. It’s also being sincere and forthright. Thus, it’s just as dishonest to deceive someone by half-truths or silence as it is to lie. But what if honesty requires us to volunteer information that could be […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 917.5: Happiness Is a Choice

COMMENTARY 917.5: Happiness Is a Choice

February 5, 2015 Choices

In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy asks Charlie Brown, “Why do you think we were put on earth?” Charlie answers, “To make others happy.” Lucy replies, “I don’t think I’m making anyone happy,” and then adds, “but nobody’s making me very happy either. Somebody’s not doing his job!” People like Lucy are so sure happiness is […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 917.4: Good Relationships Make a Good Life

COMMENTARY 917.4: Good Relationships Make a Good Life

February 4, 2015 Commentaries

If we interviewed 100 happy people, I think the most prominent common denominator would be good relationships. Despite the widespread promotion of materialism and vanity in our culture, wealth and beauty are not enough to produce happiness. In fact, they’re not even necessary. What’s more, bad relationships — at work, at home, or among friends […]

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COMMENTARY 917.3: Loopholes and Slippery Slopes

February 3, 2015 Commentaries

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

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Dartmouth accuses 64 of cheating in sports ethics class

February 3, 2015 Honesty

The cheating involved some students using a handheld device known as a clicker to answer questions for classmates who were absent. Many of the students were athletes and have been suspended for a semester, according to the newspaper. The incident is the latest in a string of academic scandals to hit selective colleges. Harvard University investigated […]

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3 Things I Hated About Superbowl XLIX

February 2, 2015 Commentaries

1.  I did not see a second of it as I was en route from L.A to Des Moines thru Dallas. But I read the entire play by play when I got to my room allowing me the second thing to hate: self-righteous, after the fact, critics of a play call. 2.  Yes, I hate […]

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COMMENTARY 917.2: A Government Program That Is Working

February 2, 2015 Commentaries

I was pleasantly surprised that my visit to detention camps for juvenile girls run by the Los Angeles Probation Department turned out to be encouraging and uplifting. Instead of finding a cadre of angry and hostile girls in a punitive prison setting, I saw clean classrooms attended by very

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The Glory of Sports and the Taint of Over-Competitive Coaches Who Cheat

February 1, 2015 Integrity

Here is  an excerpt from a commentary by Michael Arace, a sports columnist in the The Columbus Dispatch • Sunday February 1, 2015: “Meet Michael Josephson, former law professor, whose odd work it is to lecture government bureaucracies, corporations, military leaders and nonprofit organizations about building a sustainable ethical culture. He also has dedicated the […]

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COMMENTARY 917.1: I Owe It to My Family

January 30, 2015 Commentaries

An angry woman once approached me after a speech to tell me off. “It’s easy for you to talk about my responsibility to speak out or object to waste or wrongdoing,” she said, “but I’m a single mother and my highest duty is to keep my job. If that means occasionally looking the other way, […]

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COMMENTARY 916.5: The Disease of Low Expectations

January 29, 2015 Commentaries

The serious damage done to our economy, social institutions, and personal relationships by widespread cheating and dishonesty is bad enough. But widespread acceptance of such behavior as inevitable threatens to make our future a lot worse. In effect, our culture is being infected by a disease: the disease of low expectations. The disease is manifested […]

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Poster: Nothing that makes someone feel bad is good.

January 28, 2015 Commentaries
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COMMENTARY 916.4: How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Money?

January 28, 2015 Commentaries

Disdain for money is a common theme among moralists and philosophers. But money’s not the problem. It’s what people do to get it and what they do with it when they get it. In Fiddler on the Roof, a poor man sings of his daydreams of the wonderful life he’d have if he were a […]

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Freindship teddy bears_46242442

COMMENTARY 916.3: Changing Lives Through Love

January 27, 2015 Caring, Compassion

Imagine being put in charge of a residential camp for delinquent teenage girls confined because they are considered dangerous. Many have serious mental health issues, impulse control problems, and an awful lot of anger. One of the last terms you’d apply to any of these girls is lovable. So when Pauline Starks and her colleague […]

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COMMENTARY 916.2: Finding God in the Park

January 26, 2015 Caring, Compassion

Abe was fiercely independent, even at age 85, but after a mild stroke his son insisted he move in with him. Abe missed going to the park near his old apartment, and one Saturday he set out to find it. When he became disoriented, he asked a young boy named Timmy where the park was. […]

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COMMENTARY 916.1: INFLATEGATE – Cheating in the NFL – to care or not to care, that is the question.

January 23, 2015 Commentaries

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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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 915.5: The Treasure of Old Friends

COMMENTARY 915.5: The Treasure of Old Friends

January 22, 2015 Commentaries

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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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 915.4: Some of the Things I’ve Learned

COMMENTARY 915.4: Some of the Things I’ve Learned

January 21, 2015 Commentaries

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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COMMENTARY 915.3: Happiness Is More Than Fun and Pleasure

January 20, 2015 Commentaries

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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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 915.2: The Wisdom and Philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

COMMENTARY 915.2: The Wisdom and Philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 19, 2015 Commentaries

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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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 915.1: Remembering the Civil Rights Movement

COMMENTARY 915.1: Remembering the Civil Rights Movement

January 16, 2015 Commentaries

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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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 914.5: The Seven Cs of Character

COMMENTARY 914.5: The Seven Cs of Character

January 15, 2015 Commentaries

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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