Character Counts

A few years ago, my husband mentioned a radio program that he came across and enjoyed listening to. The speaker was Michael Josephson, the Founder of The Josephson Institute. In my husband’s brief description, he used the words “character” and “values.” That was enough for me to take a closer look.


“Ethics. Everywhere. All the time.” This is what greets you when you enter their website. WOW. “Youth ethics. Sports ethics. Business ethics. Public Service ethics. Policing ethics.” And, “We’re working to create a world where decisions and behavior are guided by ethics.”

HOW REFRESHING. When our news is dominated almost completely by a focus on the bad acts of people and tragedies, here is a focus on individual moral principles leading to the greater good. I’m interested.

The Josephson Institute is a non-profit organization that conducts educational programs for public officials, school administrators, military and police officers, journalists, senior corporate and non-profit executives, judges and lawyers. Their programs focus on business ethics, public administration, policing, character education and sportsmanship.

Character Counts

As a mother, I was particularly interested in their programs for youth. Character Counts is their national program, taught in thousands of schools and affecting millions of children. It is based on a framework of basic values called “The Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.” I wish my children had this program in their school. Although we try to teach these values at home, emphasis from outside is immeasurably beneficial.


Center For Sport’s Ethics

The Josephson Institute’s Center for Sports Ethics developed and teaches a program for teachers, coaches and parents to ensure a positive experience for kids in sports. It is made up of 16 sportsmanship principles that they encourage sports program to adhere to, including the values of integrity, perseverance, sacrifice, respect and responsibility. This is another program I wish my children had been exposed to. Those lessons learned through sports seems more important than the sports activities themselves.


I am grateful that I came across the work being done by Michael Josephson and the Josephson Institute. I subscribe to their weekly newsletter via email, “What Will Matter.” This week’s topic: “The Truth About Trust and Lies,”  with the first line, “Honesty may not always pay, but lying always costs.” Yes. Thank you. I can’t wait to read it.

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