Raising A Couple of Characters

Even though I call my kids little heathens (I use the term in the sense that they act uncivilized around here half the time), I do try to build character in them and teach them how to be good christians and citizens.

One difference I like about 4-H from the days when I was a 4-Her is the implementation of the Character Counts pillars: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. The pillars are guides to help kids and adults alike, to practice making ethical choices.

I had unknowingly already been parenting with the Character Counts pillars and have tried to put them into practice with my own personal life before I learned about Character Counts and the six pillars. I like that 4-H educates, promotes and emphasizes the importance of living in a way that follows the Character Counts pillars.

The pillars were developed by the Josephson Institute: A nonprofit outfit founded by a guy by the name of Michael Josephson. To help kids remember the pillars, colors and the use of mnemonics have been assigned to each pillar as a way to remember the different pillars:

 Trustworthiness is blue; think true blue.

Respect is yellow; think of the golden rule.

Responsibility is green; think of responsibility for finances or a garden.

Fairness is orange; think of equal sections of an orange.

Caring is red; think of a heart.

Respect is purple; think of respecting the state.

These are basic principles and simple ways to teach our kids good ethics but it doesn’t hurt for adults to make a habit of practicing them in their lives as well.

About ranchwifeslant

Amy writes a humor column based on rural living and ranch life from the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. She and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth generation cow/calf operation near Pringle; the Elk Capital of South Dakota.
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2 Responses to Raising A Couple of Characters

  1. Hi Amy,
    Here’s a little history about the origins of the six pillars and approx. 25 other ethicists that helped create the framework – http://charactercounts.org/overview/aspen.html.

    Thank you for helping spread the word.

    Best wishes,


    • ranchwifeslant says:

      Thanks Dan, for sharing your added information for readers about the Character Counts program.

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