MEMO From Michael: Happy CHARACTER COUNTS! Week!

CC! week 20th anniversary

I am in Washington, D.C., looking out my hotel window at the Washington Monument, which is undergoing renovation and shrouded in scaffolding. I’m here for a meeting of the Josephson Institute’s Board of Governors.

Two important things happened in Congress last night. Of course you know that both the Senate and House finally approved a budget (for a few months) and re-opened the federal government (is that a phrase you ever thought you’d hear?). Given the intransigence and brinkmanship of the last couple weeks, the votes were not that close, but there were still loud cries of recrimination and accusation.

On this same evening the Senate passed Resolution 272 “designating the week beginning October 20, 2013, as ‘National Character Counts Week.'” The bill, introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and cosponsored by a bipartisan group of six other senators, passed unanimously — a true display of nonpartisanship in an environment that has become more than a little contentious.

Of course, it’s not surprising that CHARACTER COUNTS! Week has widespread support. This has been the case every year since it started 20 years ago, with both the Senate and the White House officially endorsing it every year. (Look for the White House’s proclamation in the next few days. Read the full text of last year’s CC! Week endorsements here.)

It’s popular with people of widely different beliefs and political persuasions because it emphasizes basic ethical values that we all can agree on. These values have become known as the Six Pillars of Character — trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship — and they are at the core of all CHARACTER COUNTS! programs in schools and communities across the country, and around the world.

I hope you’ll join millions of others and do something to celebrate good character during the week of October 20-26. How? Check out our free resources — activity ideas, parenting tips, handouts, a printable poster and much more. All you have to do is register here.

I wish you a wonderful CHARACTER COUNTS! Week!

— Michael

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