Character Counts


Responsibility is the quality of being able to distinguish between right and wrong, to think and act sensibly, and to be accountable for one’s behavior.

Responsibility also includes being trustworthy, dependable, and reliable.

Steven Covey presents a different way of looking at character traits—that is, relating them to a habit or action. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey states that Responsibility is the principle behind the habit of being proactive. "Be Proactive," is the first chapter in his book, and he describes it this way. While the word “proactive” is commonly used in management, it's a word you won't find in most dictionaries. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We should make our feelings come under the control of our values or character qualities. We have the Responsibility to make things happen. The word "response-ability" indicates the ability to choose a response. Highly proactive people recognize their Responsibility. They do not blame circumstances,conditions or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feelings.

These thoughts support the points that character education specialist,Thomas Likona, says are critical:

• KNOW the good--understand the character quality and intellectually agree that it is important.

• DESIRE the good—emotionally desire to adopt the quality.

• DO the good--apply the character quality in daily living.

This newsletter may help you to KNOW the good character quality, DESIRE and accept the quality, and turn it into a habit so you can DO the good character quality.

“I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” John D. Rockefeller Jr.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
Abraham Lincoln

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.” Helen Keller.

These and other great ideas can be found on the city of Mission Viejo’s website at or

Kathy Yen,
Character Ed Chairman