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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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 921.1: Testing Your Integrity

COMMENTARY 921.1: Testing Your Integrity

February 27, 2015 Commentaries

In the past year, did you keep the money if a cashier gave you too much change? Did you lie to your boss, a customer, or a significant other? Did you use the Internet for personal reasons at work? Did you distort or conceal facts on a resumé or in a job interview? Did you […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 920.5: Don’t Let the Bad Guys Win

COMMENTARY 920.5: Don’t Let the Bad Guys Win

February 26, 2015 Commentaries

During a seminar on ethics in the workplace, participants spoke about a wide array of unethical conduct they’d recently witnessed. They talked about high-level employees who lied on internal reports or blatantly took credit for the work of others and the intimidation or abuse of subordinates. These were clear-cut violations of organizational policy. Yet, in […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 920.4: The Pressure to Cheat

COMMENTARY 920.4: The Pressure to Cheat

February 25, 2015 Commentaries

What’s causing the growing hole in our moral ozone? Why are cheating and lying so common in schools, on the sports field, and in business and politics? Apparently it’s a thing called pressure. Kids are under pressure to get into college, athletes and coaches are under pressure to win, and, according to a survey by […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 920.3: Gifts From the Heart Are Gifts of the Heart

COMMENTARY 920.3: Gifts From the Heart Are Gifts of the Heart

February 24, 2015 Attitude

According to legend, a young man roaming the desert came across a spring of delicious crystal-clear water. The water was so sweet he filled his leather canteen so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher. After a four-day journey, he presented the water to the old man, who […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 920.2: Digging and Filling Holes

COMMENTARY 920.2: Digging and Filling Holes

February 23, 2015 Character

Charlie, a road crew supervisor for highway landscapers, came upon a pair of workers from one of his crews seemingly hard at work. He watched one fellow dig a hole while his partner waited a few minutes and then filled the hole. After a few repetitions Charlie demanded an explanation. The hole-filler was offended: “We’ve […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 920.1: The Power of Words

COMMENTARY 920.1: The Power of Words

February 20, 2015 Bullying

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Really? Insults, teasing, gossip, and verbal abuse can inflict deeper and more enduring pain than guns and knives. Ask anyone who as a kid was fat, skinny, short, tall, flat-chested, big-busted, acne-faced, uncoordinated, slow-witted, or exceptionally smart. In schoolrooms and playgrounds across […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 919.5: The Self-Portrait Called Character

COMMENTARY 919.5: The Self-Portrait Called Character

February 19, 2015 Commentaries

While I was on a radio call-in show talking about cheating, a listener I’ll call Stan mocked my concern. He cheated to get into college, he said. He cheated in college to get a job. And now he occasionally cheats on his job to get ahead. In fact, he concluded, cheating is such an important […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 919.4: I’m Only a One-Star

COMMENTARY 919.4: I’m Only a One-Star

February 18, 2015 Choices

Years ago I was talking to a group of Army generals about the way politicians often treat the defense budget as an all-purpose public works fund to help bring money into their districts. One general admitted, “Yes, if the chairman of the Appropriations Committee comes from a place that makes trucks, we’re probably going to […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 919.3: Two Sets of Proud Parents

COMMENTARY 919.3: Two Sets of Proud Parents

February 17, 2015 Caring, Compassion

I received an email with a story worth sharing. Only the names have been changed to preserve privacy. Doug is the proud and loving father of Emma, a high school junior who takes a leadership class responsible for putting on dances and other student events. All student body officers must take the class, but a […]

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Thumbnail image for COMMENTARY 919.2: The Presidents Day Un-Celebration — Honoring Not Just the Great, But All U.S. Presidents

COMMENTARY 919.2: The Presidents Day Un-Celebration — Honoring Not Just the Great, But All U.S. Presidents

February 16, 2015 Commentaries

If you’re not going to school or work today, it’s because it’s a national holiday. The country used to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln separately, but in 1971 Richard Nixon and Congress, in order to create a perpetual three-day weekend, merged the two holidays into a brand new one called Presidents […]

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1 12 Truths About Lying

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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cheating

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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super-bowl-xlix

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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MichaelJosephson-NBC4LA_2014-12

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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