CHARACTER COUNTS! is the nation’s most widely used framework for character development.  It is centered on basic values called the Six Pillars of Character.  CHARACTER COUNTS! was founded by the Josephson Institute in 1992.   It has since spread throughout the world as a valuable tool to teach character to youth and adults.

 About the Six Pillars

The Six Pillars of Character from CHARACTER COUNTS! are ethical values that are easy to understand, easy to teach, and are critical to showing good character.


  • Be honest.  Don’t deceive, cheat or steal.
  • Be reliable.  Do what you say you’ll do.
  • Have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Build a good reputation.
  • Be loyal.  Stand by your family, friends and country.



  • Treat others with respect.  Follow the Golden Rule.
  • Be tolerant of differences.
  • Use good manners, not bad language.
  • Be considerate of the feelings of others.
  • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone.
  • Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.



  • Do what you are supposed to do.
  • Persevere.  Keep on trying.
  • Always do your best.
  • Use self-control.  Be self-disciplined.
  • Think before you act.  Consider the consequences.



  • Play by the rules.
  • Take turns and share.
  • Be open-minded.  Listen to others.
  • Don’t take advantage of others.
  • Don’t blame others carelessly.



  • Be kind.
  • Be compassionate and show you care.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Forgive others.
  • Help people in need.



  • Do your share to make your community better.
  • Cooperate.
  • Stay informed.  Vote.
  • Be a good neighbor.
  • Obey laws and rules.  Respect authority.
  • Protect the environment.  Recycle.


Click here to download a PDF about the Six Pillars 

If you would like to learn more, please contact us at 515-271-1910.

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