Character Counts! Week

In personal relationships, in school, at the workplace – in life – who you are makes a difference. – Michael Josephson, founder, Character Counts! program

While I have been critical of President Trump on a variety of issues, I appreciate him taking the time to talk about an issue that’s important to us all. His Proclamation, as excerpted:

“Personal responsibility, integrity, and the other values which define our unique American spirit underpin our system of self-government and inspire us to continue working toward a more perfect Union. …

“…we recognize that character is a learned attribute acquired through consistent, purposeful action, not an inherent trait.  We must resolve to build lives and communities grounded in moral clarity in order to strengthen ourselves, our families, our communities, and our Nation. …

“Individuals of integrity and principle lift us all to greater heights, evincing the same core virtues in both the depths of adversity and the heights of success. …

“This week, as we continue to unite as one Nation to both defeat the virus and safely reopen our country, we are reminded of how far decency and compassion can go in helping others during times of great challenge and uncertainty.

“Every opportunity to show consideration for another person is also an opportunity to build habits of kindness and strengthen our character.  Our words and deeds leave imprints in our homes, schools, communities, and places of worship.  Throughout this week, we recommit to being more kind, loving, understanding, and virtuous.  Together, as one national family, we must serve others with giving and grateful hearts to ensure our Republic remains strong, vibrant, and a beacon of hope for future generations.

“Our words and deeds leave imprints in our homes, schools, communities, and places of worship. Throughout this week, we recommit to being more kind, loving, understanding, and virtuous. Together, as one national family, we must serve others with giving and grateful hearts to ensure our Republic remains strong, vibrant, and a beacon of hope for future generations.”

The Character Counts! was begun by ethicist and teacher, Michael Josephson of the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Marina del Ray, California.

In March 1995, I attended a training series at the Institute. Entitled Ethics Corps, its purpose was to school attendees through an intensive training course then go forth and teach others about the importance and application of ethics in schools, non-profits, corporations and other community organizations. What made the class particularly special was not only the interaction with other students but Josephson’s comprehensive curriculum surrounding six core ethical values, the same values and principles embodied in the Character Counts! program.

In the introduction, Josephson writes, “There are enduring, universal truths – principles of thought and conduct which distinguish right from wrong and define the essence of good character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.”

A national grassroots initiative, “Character Counts! has no ideological or political agenda other than the promotion of good character based upon common ground consensus ethical values which transcend cultural, religious and socio-economic differences. The initiative represents a long-term commitment to strengthen the moral fiber of the young and to combat violence, dishonesty and irresponsibility.

“Kids are 27 percent of our population,” Josephson writes, “but 100 percent of our future. Which way they go, depends on us.”

Michael Josephson’s ability, kindness and honor is without question. My guess is when he heard of Trump’s proclamation, he was pleased that the president took the time to get the message out regarding the importance character plays in all our lives. No criticism. No rebukes. Just gratitude for the exposure by a sitting president.

One of the critical tenets of the program is “A personal of character recognizes and resists temptations to do things that are inconsistent with core ethical principles.”

Something all of us need to remember (including me).

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