Character—the Sum of Virtues

By Dr. Michael G. Maness



This following is a part of the following

Character Counts—Freemasonry USA’s National Treasure
and Source of Our Founding Fathers’ Original Intent

The book version is now condensed.



Appendix 2.
Character—the Sum of Virtues


Freemasonry is all about Character Counting, to God and to each other. Freemasonry is less about Religious Righteousness and more about helping, more about growth than judgment, more about truth than about finding fault, more about tolerance than difference, and more about agreement than finding points of disagreement. And so I add this piece, which was developed for my ethics book, Would You Lie to Save a Life: the Quest for God’s Will This Side of Heaven: a Theology on the Ethics of Love.[1]

Today, character can mean a lot of things, but for the most part it means the total collection of virtues or vices that make up a person.[2] We intuitively know the difference between the person with the bad or good character, between the good citizen and the criminal (even the sane and insane, mature and immature, moral and immoral). Likewise we know that birds of a feather flock together: people with like character tend to associate together. And with that, we know that unique personalities and even unique temperaments are found among those with similar character where such is a near synonym for reputation.

Character building is not new, but has a long history. As seen in the bibliography, there was a great interest before and after WWI, and character building has taken off in the last twenty years. Character building has been important to every culture we know anything about. In the U.S., the Josephson Institute of Ethics has led the way, and its Character Counts programs have been started in many schools across the country.[3] 

In these mostly secular venues, often mirroring the religious, the meaning of character building always refers to the building of a good character, and without exception the building of a good character includes the development of each a selection of various virtues.

These character building enterprises and initiatives strengthened and refined the definition of character. A person who has a strong character has mastered several virtues and good habits and noble social skills. We shall look at a few of these collections of virtues after we distinguish between character and temperament.

Outside the religious worlds, even preceding the secular work on character building, a large amount of work has been done in psychology on distinguishing temperaments. One the most popular and well-developed is Isabel Briggs Myers’s Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Every one should take the Myers-Briggs, if even just for fun. There are many, and these help us understand each other, respect differences, and help us to communicate with each other. The Myers-Briggs asks several hundred questions, and places the person in one of four quadrants, with each quadrant having four sub-groups. There is hardly a person who has taken that survey who has not been amazed at their own description after the survey results.[4] 

Based upon the MBTI, David Keirsey has brought this to life in his Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence.[5] He has take the classical four dimensions of character, meshed them with the MBTI, and interpreted them into our contemporary settings.

char_1. Keirsey’s Four Major Personality Types

Rationals: engineers (architects like Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, and inventors like Walt Disney and Camille Paglia) and coordinators (masterminds like Dwight Eisenhower and Ayn Rand, and field marshals like Bill Gates and Margaret Thatcher)

Idealists: advocates (healers like Albert Schweitzer and Anne Lingbergh, and champions like Bill Moyers and Molly Brown) and mentors (counselors like Mohandas Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt, and teachers like Mikhael Gorbachev and Margaret Mead)

Artisans: entertainers (composers like Johnny Carson and Barbra Streisand, and performers like Elvis Presley and Elisabeth Taylor), and operators (crafters like Clint Eastwood and Amelia Earhart, and promoters like Franklin Roosevelt and Madonna)

Guardians: administrators (inspectors like Harry Truman and Elizabeth II, and supervisors like Colin Powell and Elizabeth I) and conservators (protectors like Jimmy Stewart and Mother Teresa, and providers like George Washington and Martha Stewart)

Along with the insightful contributions of the MBTI, Keirsey and others helped us accept the natural differences between temperament: you could say Keirsey has helped us understand the application of unconditional Love. Under a sensitive section in Please Understand Me called “Different Drummers” Keirsey dramatizes:

If I do not want what you want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong.

Or if I believe other than you, at least pause before you correct my view.

Or if my emotion is less than yours, or more, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel more strongly or weakly.

Or yet if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, let me be.

I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up changing me into a copy of you.

I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring, your friend, or your colleague. If you will allow me any of my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, then you open yourself, so that some day these ways of mine might not seem so wrong, and might finally appear to you as right—for me. To put up with me is the first step to understanding me. Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. And in understanding me you might come to prize my differences from you, and, far from seeking to change me, preserve and even nurture those differences.[6] 

Hear the courageous plea for caring empathy resident in these statements. One does not need to agree with the ethics or actions of the person in order to respect their differences, and in Christian ethics there is certainly a difference between ethically neutral temperaments and unethical behavior. Truly, it is a no-brainer that we find all kinds of temperaments in all levels of morality and immorality. As true—certainly—Jesus found a way to relate and Love all in a way that the loved person felt loved, no matter their temperament or morals.

Personality is another way of looking at temperament (or vice versa). Douglas Jackson developed the Six-Factor Personality Questionnaire (SFPQ) that measures personality dimensions with each three-facet scales.

char_2. Jackson’s Six Dimensions of Personality

Agreeableness—Abasement, Even-Tempered, Good-Natured

Extraversion—Affiliation, Dominance, Exhibition

Independence—Autonomy, Individualism, Self-Reliance

Industriousness—Achievement, Seriousness, Endurance

Methodicalness—Cognitive Structure, Deliberateness, Order

Openness to Experience—Change, Understanding, Breadth of Interest[7]


The Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis (T-JTA) has been used widely in marriage counseling. It graphs the person’s temperament through a series of about 9 continuums, and between each of these 9 continuums is a normal range for most of the population. Many good Christian counselors, colleges, and seminaries use the T-JTA. Most persons spike outside of the normal range in a few of the temperament continuums. This survey is usual done by both spouses, then each spouse does one survey as they think and see their spouse: revelations abound between how one spouse views the other as opposed to how the spouse views his- or herself.[8]

The main difference between temperament and character revolves around ethics: temperament has little-to-nothing to do with ethics (unless one is out of control), and character is all about ethics. Temperament is about our individual and unique collection of social and mental and emotional traits running the gamut between carrying our feelings on our shoulder to the more cold-shouldered, from the introvert to the extrovert, from the painter to the rock-climber. Character is about growing in a collection of virtues—though unique—yet have common goals in Love, Truth, justice, sacrifice, and service.

The following indicate the many ways of categorizing the virtues, and we begin with some biblical lists.

char_3. Paul’s Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12 and Roman 12 Combined

1. Wisdom

7. Discerning of Spirits

13. Administration

2. Knowledge

8. Tongues

14. Leadership/Ruleth

3. Faith

9. Interpretation Tongues

15. Exhortation

4. Healing

10. Apostleship

16. Giving

5. Miracles

11. Teaching

17. Mercy

6. Prophecy

12. Helping

18. Love w/out Dissimulation[9]

Add 1 Corinthian 13—Faith, Hope, Love, and Love is the Greatest

char_4. St. Paul’s 20 Virtues

1. Love

8. Forgiveness

15. Hope

2. Compassion

9. Gratitutude

16. Goodness

3. Kindness

10. Wisdom

17. Faithfulness

4. Humility

11. Peace

18. Self-Control

5. Gentleness

12. Righteousness

19. Purity

6. Patience

13. Joy

20. Understanding[10]

7. Tolerance

14. Endurance

char_5. Jesus’ Beatitudes


Purity of Heart

Blessed – happy[11]




Suffering Persecution

char_6. Aquinas’ 7 Heavenly Virtues

Four Cardinal Virtues following Plato


Wisdom (or prudence: docility, conscientiousness, impartiality, tact)


Courage (or fortitude: triumph in trials, glory in affliction, moral courage, righteous indignation, industry, thoroughness)

Temperance (or self-restraint: purity, humility, patience, meekness, thrift)


Justice (impartiality, devotion, obedience, gratitude to God)


Three Theological Virtues from St. Paul


Faith ~ Hope ~ Love[12]


char_7. Freemasonry’s 4 Cardinal Virtues, 3 Tenets, & 3 Values

Four Cardinal Virtues

Temperance ~ Fortitude ~ Prudence ~ Justice

Three Tenets

Brotherly Love ~ Relief ~ Truth

Three Values

Liberty ~ Equality ~ Fraternity[13]

char_8. Bennett’s Ten Virtues

1. Self-Discipline

6. Courage

2. Compassion

7. Perseverance

3. Responsibility

8. Honesty

4. Friendship

9. Loyalty

5. Work

10. Faith[14]

char_9. Bill Gothard’s 49 Virtues

1. Humility

2. Meekness

3. Joyfulness

4. Generosity

5. Love

6. Responsibility

7. Self-Control

8. Truthfulness

9. Deference

10. Creativity

11. Sincerity

12. Faith

13. Thriftiness

14. Initiative

15. Discernment

16. Discretion

17. Resourcefulness

18. Sensitivity

19. Decisiveness

20. Alertness

21. Compassion

22. Wisdom

23. Boldness

24. Attentiveness

25. Obedience

26. Honor/Reverence

27. Virtue

28. Determination

29. Tolerance

30. Justice

31. Contentment

32. Forgiveness

33. Loyalty

34. Availability

35. Persuasiveness

36. Patience

37. Hospitality

38. Gratefulness

39. Enthusiasm

40. Gentleness

41. Punctuality

42. Thoroughness

43. Security

44. Diligence

45. Endurance

46. Dependability

47. Cautiousness

48. Orderliness

49. Flexibility[15]

char_10. Bill Bright’s 8 Virtues of Love

1. Joy—Love’s Strength

5. Goodness—Love’s Character

2. Peace—Love’s Security

6. Faithfulness—Love’s Confidence

3. Patience—Love’s Endurance

7. Gentleness—Love’s Humility

4. Kindness—Love’s Conduct

8. Self-Control—Love’s Victory[16]

char_11. U.S. Navy Core Values

Honor ~ Courage ~ Commitment[17]

char_12. Farley’s 5-D Model of Heroism & Greatness

Determinants: traits: 1. Courage & Strength, face life-threatening or emotional strain; 2. Honesty, Honest Abe; 3. Kindness, Loving, Generous; 4. Skill, Expertise, Intelligence; 5. Risk-taking; 6. Objects of Affection, heroes win hearts & mind

Depth: timeless, mythical, almost otherworldly; even diminutive seem larger than life

Domain: where a hero makes his or her mark, and politics rank 1st for most heroes, (though usually need to die first), 2nd is entertainment, 3rd is family members, 4th religious figures, rest coming from military, science, sports, and the arts

Database: where we get our information: main sources are television, radio, magazines; conspicuous by its absence is history class

Distance: how close we are to our heroes; for most mom & dad are the heroes[18]

char_13. New Zealand’s 8 Cornerstone Values

1. Honest & Trustworthy

5. Obedience

2. Kindness

6. Responsibility

3. Consideration & Concern for others

7. Respect

4. Compassion

8. Duty[19]

char_14. Erikson’s 8 Stages of Life

1. Trust—birth to 1

5. Identity—puberty to 18

2. Autonomy—1 to 3

6. Intimacy—18 to 25

3. Initiative—3 to 6

7. Generativity—25 to 50

4. Competence—6 to puberty

8. Ego Integrity—50 to death[20]

char_15. Maslow’s 16 Points of Self-Actualization

1. Accurate perception of reality

2. Acceptance of oneself

3. Spontaneity

4. Problem centered

5. Need for privacy

6. Autonomous

7. Freshness of appreciation

8. Peak experiences

9. Human kinship

10. Humility & respect for others

11. Deep interpersonal relationships with a select few people

12. Strong but not necessarily conventional ethical standards

13. Focuses on ends rather than means

14. Nonhostile sense of humor

15. Creative

16. Resistance to enculturation[21]

char_16. Peterson & Seligman’s 6 Character Strengths & 24 Virtues

1. Wisdom & Knowledge—strengths to acquire and use knowledge

Creativity: Originality, Ingenuity

Curiosity: Interest, Novelty-seeking, Openness to Experience

Open-mindedness: Judgment, Critical Thinking: examining all sides, not jumping

Love of Learning: ability to master new skills

Perspective: Wisdom: ability to look at world in ways that make sense

2. Courage—strengths of will to meet goals in opposition, external or internal

Bravery: Valor: not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right even in opposition; acting on convictions

Persistence: Perseverance, Industriousness: finish what one starts even in obstacles

Integrity: Authenticity, Honesty: speaking the truth—but more, with genuineness and ability to be sincere; responsible for one’s own feelings and actions

Vitality: Zest, Enthusiasm, Vigor, Energy: approaching life with excitement, not halfway; living life as an adventure; feeling alive

3. Humanity—interpersonal strengths involve tending & befriending others

Love: valuing close relations, especially those reciprocated; being close to people

Kindness: Generosity, Nurturance, Care, Compassion, Altruistic Love, Niceness

Social Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence, Personal Intelligence: aware of motives, feelings of others and self; knowing how to fit in and what makes others tick

4. Justice—civic strengths that underlie healthy community life

Citizenship: Social Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork

Fairness: treat all the same with justice, not letting feelings bias, fair chance

Leadership: encouraging group keeping good relations

5. Temperance—strengths that protect against excess

Forgiveness & Mercy

Humility & Modesty: not seeking spotlight, no more important than others

Prudence: careful with choices, not taking undue risks

Self-regulation: Self-control: disciplined, controlling appetites & emotions

6. Transcendence—strengths connect to larger world & provide meaning

Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence: Awe, Wonder, Elevation


Hope: Optimism, Future-mindedness, Future Orientation: expecting best & working

Humor: Playfulness: liking to laugh, bring smiles, seeing light side

Spirituality: Religiousness, Faith, Purpose: having coherent world beliefs; having beliefs on meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort[22]

char_17. Leo Buscaglia’s 10 Most Essential Words

1. Right Knowledge, to supply you with the tools necessary for your voyage.

2. Wisdom, to assure you that you are using the accumulated knowledge of the past in a manner that will best serve the discovery of your presence, your “now.”

3. Compassion, to help you accept others whose ways may be different from yours, with gentleness & understanding, as you move with, through, or around them on your own way.

4. Harmony, to be able to accept the natural flow of life.

5. Creativity, to help you realize new alternatives & unchartered paths along the way.

6. Strength, to stand up against fear and move forward in spite of uncertainty, without guarantee or payment.

7. Peace, to keep you centered.

8. Joy, to keep you songful, and laughing and dancing all along the way.

9. Love, to be your continual guide towards the highest level of consciousness.

10. Unity, which brings us back to where we started—the place where we are at one with ourselves and with all things.

“To live in Love is to live in life…. To me, life is God’s gift to you. They you live your life is your gift to God. Make it a fantastic one.”[23]

char_18. Plato’s and Aristotle’s List of Virtues

Plato’s List from the Republic (427-347 BC)


Self-Restraint or Temperance



Aristotle Added to Plato these in his Nicomachean Ethics (384-322 BC)






Greatness of soul[24]

char_19. Norman’s Big Five Tradition

Neuroticism—Worried, Nervous, Emotional

Extroversion—Sociable, Fun-Loving, Active

Openness—Imaginative, Creative, Artistic

Agreeableness—Good-natured, Softhearted, Sympathetic

Conscientiousness—Reliable, Hardworking, Punctual[25]

char_20. Mark Rutland’s 9 Traits Needed to Succeed

Courage—character in crisis

Honesty—character and truth

Loyalty—character in community

Meekness—character and power

Diligence—character in action

Reverence—character and the sacred

Modesty—character as simplicity

Gratitude—character in celebration[26]

Frugality—character and prosperity

char_21. Character Education Network’s 9 Character Virtues

Responsibility—being accountable in word and deed. Having a sense of duty to fulfill tasks with reliability, dependability and commitment.

Perseverance—pursuing worthy objectives with determination and patience while exhibiting fortitude when confronted with failure.

Caring—showing understanding of others by treating them with kindness, compassion, generosity and a forgiving spirit.

Self-discipline—demonstrating hard work controlling your emotions, words, actions, impulses and desires. Giving your best in all situations.

Citizenship—being law abiding and involved in service to school, community and country.

Honesty—telling the truth, admitting wrongdoing. Being trustworthy & acting with integrity.

Courage—doing the right thing in face of difficulty, following conscience instead of crowd.

Fairness—practicing justice, equity and equality. Cooperating with one another. Recognizing the uniqueness and value of each individual within our diverse society.

Respect—show high regard for authority, other people, self & country. Treating others as you would want to be treated. Understanding that all people have value as human beings.[27]

char_22. Character Counts’ 6 Pillars for Ethical Decisions

Trustworthiness: Be honest • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends and country

Respect: 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

Responsibility: 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 • Be accountable for your choices

Fairness: Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to others

Caring: Be kind, compassionate, show you care, gratitude • Forgive others • Help needy

Citizenship: Cooperate, Get in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment[28]

char_23. Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues

1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. Industry: Lose no time; be employed in something useful; cut off unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly.

8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation.

11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.[29]

char_24. Boy Scouts of America 12 Character Traits

Trustworthy: tells the truth, keeps promises, honesty; can depend on him.

Loyal: true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.

Helpful: is concerned about people & does things willingly for others without pay or reward.

Friendly: is a friend to all and a brother to other Scouts, seeks to understand others, and respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.

Courteous: is polite to everyone regardless of age or position and knows good manners.

Kind: understands there is strength in being gentle, treats others as he wants to be treated, and does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.

Obedient: follows the rules of his family, school, and troop, obeys the laws of his community and country; if he thinks these rules are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.

Cheerful: looks for the bright side of things and cheerfully does tasks that come his way; he tries to make others happy.

Thrifty: works to pay his way and to help others, saves for unforeseen needs, protects and conserves natural resources, and carefully uses time and property.

Brave: can face danger even if he is afraid, has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.

Clean: keeps his body and mind fit and clean, goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals, and helps keep his home and community clean.

Reverent: is reverent to God, faithful in religious duties, & respects beliefs of others.[30]

char_25. Character 12 Virtues













char_26. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

1. Be Proactive is the endowment of self-knowledge or self-awareness an ability to choose your response (response-ability).

2. Begin With the End In Mind is the endowment of imagination and conscience.

3. Put First Things First is the endowment of willpower.

4. Think Win-Win is the endowment of an abundance mentality.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood is the endowment of courage balanced with consideration.

6. Synergize is the endowment of creativity

7. Sharpen the Saw the endowment of continuous improvement to overcome entropy.[32]

There are no limits to the ways one looks as virtues and personality and the general ability to communicate. As the following indicates, sometimes we must stress our English language to look at the purpose itself of the communication or the personal abilities in order draw up some meaningful characteristics for those special abilities. Two more areas of huge significance to our personal lives come into play (to toss a pun) in the areas of match-making and general leadership. All of the above will be great, but when I am searching for a spouse—oh my!—there are characteristics that defy all of the above and that extremely important and uniquely important. See e-harmony’s info below.

char_27. E-Harmony Match-Making’s 29 Dimensions

Character & Constitution

Good Character

Dominance vs. Submissiveness



Vitality & Security



Sexual Passion

Artistic Passion




Sense of Humor




Emotional Makeup & Skills

Emotional Health

Quality of Self Conception

Anger Management

Mood Management


Conflict Resolution


Autonomy vs. Closeness

Family Values

Family Background

Feelings about Children




Values Orientation[33]

Neil Clark Warren developed and wrote a very popular work, Finding the Love of Your Life, and since then it has blossomed into a full-fledged match-making service broadcast nationally as[34] The above are only a portion of one section of survey’s inventory to help with match-making; clearly, there are elements of “character” here we would desire or want to know about in a mate but that as clearly do not fit into any of the traditional categories. One starts the survey by answering over 500 questions designed to profile the 29 dimensions that scientific research has shown are crucial to long-term success in relationships. The resulting profile and matching claims to eliminate 99.7% of the people who are not right for you. At the start, you grade yourself on each of 87 different points of self-acceptance.[35] E-harmony’s extensive personality inventory is certainly a key to its and Warren’s success, and this is probably the most successful match-making service to date.

char_28. Kounzes & Posner’s 10 Leader Commitments

5 Leadership Practices in 10 Leader Commitments

Challenging the Process

1. Search for Opportunities: Confronting & Changing the Status Quo

2. Experiment and Take Risks: Learning from Mistakes & Success

Inspiring a Shared Vision

3. Envision the Future: Imagining Ideal Scenarios

4. Enlist Others: Attracting People to Common Purposes

Enabling Others to Act

5. Foster Collaboration: Getting People to Work Together

6. Strengthen Others: Sharing Power & Information

Modeling the Way

7. Set the Example: Leading by Doing

8. Plan Small Wins: Building Commitment to Action

Encouraging the Heart

9. Recognize Individual Contribution: Linking Rewards with Performance

10. Celebrate Accomplishments: Valuing the Victories[36]

Kounzes and Posner’s contribution here seem to be as significant to leadership study as Peterson and Seligman’s character study ought to become. I had taken the Covey leadership program and read several of his pithy books. Then when in another leadership colloquium I was tossed The Leadership Challenge, we have to had it to these men for articulating and illustrating these wonderful characteristics.

char_29. Kounzes & Posner’s Top Virtues Chosen












































Credibility—the single most important[37]


One can scarcely imagine the stress on a subordinate in having to rank such a list above: imagine your own admired leaders and then rank the virtues. For those we like and admire, it is very difficult to choose honest over mature, or supportive over loyal. Between the 1993 and 1987 respondents (a and b), over 15,000 agreed by a large margin on the top four. See how those four dovetail so well with the 24 lists above.

A good character is a universal ethical value, and truly “leadership is a relationship.”[38] In many ways, our character is what other people see and feel of our heart and soul. From—for Golden Rule—we read:

Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece—by thought, choice, courage and determination.

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Oh, so true, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”—as wise a saying as has every been given, a truly Golden Rule. The person truly living that has then mastered many of the virtues in the lists above.

There are many character-building initiatives and no end in sight.[39] Anne Dotson and Karen Wisont have developed a teaching curriculum to help school teachers teach character, utilizing 36 character traits.[40] Tony Salerno has written an extraordinary little children’s book that all of us could learn from: The ABC's of Character is a treasury of 26 character traits from Attentiveness to Zeal, from Boldness to Yielding, from Contentment to eXemplary.[41] 

Before we leave the description of character, let us look at perhaps the most substantive nuts and bolts of character education. Tom Lickona, Eric Schaps, and Catherine Lewis’s Character Education Partnership’s (CEP) Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education have been instituted as standards and guidelines in many institutions. See char_30 below.

char_30. CEP’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education

1. Promotes core ethical values as the basis of good character.

2. Defines “character” to include thinking, feeling, and behavior.

3. Uses a comprehensive, intentional, proactive, and effective approach.

4. Creates a caring school community.

5. Provides students with opportunities for moral action.

6. Meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners.

7. Strives to foster students’ self motivation.

8. Engages the school staff as a learning and moral community that shares responsibility for character education and attempts to adhere to the same core values.

9. Fosters shared moral leadership and long-range support.

10. Engages families and community members as partners.

11. Evaluates the character of the school, the staff’s functioning, and the extent to which students manifest good character.[42]

Character education continues across the country. An extraordinary web site at lists 80+ colleges with character programs.[43] The Catholic Encyclopedia has an excellent history of character.[44] On October 20, 2002, President George W. Bush declared October 19 through October 25, See the following link for the top 200 web sites on character and other sites of note on the internet:

Character has been important in every culture of significance in human history.



This following is a part of the following

Character Counts—Freemasonry USA’s National Treasure
and Source of Our Founding Fathers’ Original Intent

The book version is now condensed.






[1] See for more: Michael G. Maness, Would You Lie to Save a Life: the Quest for God’s Will This Side of Heaven: a Theology on the Ethics of Love (2005).

[2] On “character”: Webster’s Ninth Collegiate New Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, 1989), on the feature/s of the individual person, “a: one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish the individual; a feature used to separate distinguishable things … b (1): a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories; also : a group or king so separated … (2) the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes (3): the aggregate of distinctive qualities characteristic of a breed, strain, or type … c: the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation … d: main or essential nature esp. as strongly marked and serving to distinguish.” See also, Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, 2nd Ed. (Collins World, 1975): “5. a distinctive trait, quality, or attribute. 6. essential quality; nature; kind or sort. 7. an individual’s pattern of behavior or personality; moral constitution. 8. moral strength; self-discipline, fortitude, etc. 9. reputation. 10. good reputation; as, left without a shred of character. 11. a description of the traits or qualities of a person or type; character sketch. 12. a statement about the behavior, qualities, etc. of a person; recommendation.”

[3] See &, the latter top at

[4] Isabel Briggs Myers, et al, MBTI Manual: a Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, 3rd ed. (Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1998; 420p.).

[5] David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, (Prometheus Nemesis, 1998; 350p.; 1978): Keirsey said Hippocrates told of four temperaments easily recognized as schizoform and cycloform: Sanguine (cheerful, optimistic), Choleric (easily angered, often unreasonably), Phlegmatic (slow, stolid), and Melancholic (depressed, sad) (McKinnon, 1944; Roback, 1927).

[6] Excerpt David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, (Prometheus Nemesis, 1998; 350p.).

[7] See Other personality measures include: the BPI (Basic Personality Inventory), CAB (Coolidge Assessment Battery), CPS (Carlson Psychological Survey), JPI-R (Jackson Personality Inventory-Revised), LDR (Leadership Development Report), NEO-FFI (NEO Five Factor), NEO-PI-R (NEO Personality Inventory-Revised), OSI-R (Occupational Stress Inventory-Revised), PAI (Personality Assessment Inventory), PRF (Personality Research Form), PSI (Personality Screening Inventory), PT (Psicologico Texto), RADS-2 (Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale-2), SRES (Sex-Role Egalitarianism Scale), STAXI-2 (State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2), SIQ (Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire), and SWS (Survey of Work Styles).

[8] See tests/tjta.htm. The T-JTA asks 180 questions measuring nine continuums: Nervous / Composed, Depressive / Light-Hearted, Active-Social / Quiet, Expressive-Responsive / Inhibited, Sympathetic / Indifferent, Subjective / Objective, Dominant / Submissive, Hostile / Tolerant, Self-Disciplined / Impulsive. Other tests include the 16PF, Bender-Gestalt II, BHI (Battery for Health Improvement), CAARS (Conner’s Adult ADHD Rating Scale), GZTS (Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey), MCMI-III (Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III), MIPS (Millon Index of Personality Styles), MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2), Rorschach, TAT (Thematic Apperception Test), VMI (Beery VMI or the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration).

[9] From 1 Corinthians 12 with Romans 12 adding 14-18. No matter what you believe about the gifts of healing, miracles, tongues (and to a lesser degree prophecy), most of the other gifts are readily accepted as active today. Compare Bill Bright, The Holy Spirit (Campus Crusade, 1980): 221.

[10] Taken from Col. 3:12-17; Phil. 2:2-3; Eph. 4:2-3, 32; Gal. 5:22-23; Rom. 14:17, 15:4-5; and 2 Cor. 6:4-10; and charted by Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (InterVarsity, 2003): 50.

[11] Matthew 5:3-10: see Stassen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics (InterVarsity, 2003): 32-54.

[12] Peterson and Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004): 47. On the four cardinal virtues, the parenthetical is from Kenneth E. Kirk, “Cardinal Virtues” in Boulton, Kennedy, Verhey’s From Christ to the World: Introductory Readings in Christian Ethics (Eerdmans, 1994): 240, “Through the medium of Cicero’s “De Officiis” St. Ambrose first of all, and then his successors, drew from Plato and Aristotle that Greek classification which has always gone by the name of the cardinal virtues—prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. But Christian theology did not adopt them in any slavish spirit of imitation. It reinterpreted them and filled them with a Christian content.” Referencing Kirk’s Some Principles of Moral Theology (Longman, Greeen, 1920) and for Thomas Aquinas’ view between the cardinal and minor virtues, see W. H. V. Reade, The Moral System of Dante’s Inferno (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909; 445 p.).

[13] See, Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma (1871): chapter 1.

[14] William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1993).

[15] See Bill Gothard’s first Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar was taught in 1965 as a course at Wheaton College. In 1971, a third of a million youth and adults attended the seminar. To date, over 2.5 million people have gone through the thirty-two-hour course. The 49 virtues are referenced to commands as follows, for a few: 1. Repent (Mt 4:17), 2. Follow Me (Mt 4:19), 3. Rejoice (Mt 5:12), 4. Let Your Light Shine (Mt 5:16), 5. Honor God’s Law (Mt 5:17–18), 6. Be Reconciled (Mt 5:24–25), etc.

[16] Bill Bright, The Holy Spirit: the Key to Supernatural Living (San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ International, 1980; 279). With chapter 17 being “Love: God’s Greatest Gift,” Bright brings out the 8 virtues of Love in the successive chapters (18-25). Bright made famous the “Four Spiritual Laws” (God Loves you, man is sinful and separated, Jesus Christ the only provision, and must receive Jesus), the “Spirit-filled Life” is a life with Christ on the throne bring all areas of life in control and order, the analogy of a train with fact as the engine, faith as the coal car, and feeling as the caboose indicated the simplicity of mind over feeling in submitting to the Holy Spirit’s control. Since that time, some questions have evolved over the issues denial on the negative side and the importance of an attenuation to feelings for good health on the other side—even in a good Christian’s life, where even Jesus wept and had extreme passion.

[17] See for a summary of its character building program: “The goal of the character development division is to integrate the moral, ethical, and character development of midshipmen across every aspect of the Naval Academy experience. The integrated character development program is the single most important feature that distinguishes the Naval Academy from other educational institutions and officer commissioning sources.”

[18] Frank H. Farley, “How to be great!” Psychology Today (Nov 01, 1995).

See See Merlin C. Wittrock and Frank Farley, eds., The Future of Educational Psychology (Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1989; 211p.); Roswith Roth and Frank Farley, eds.,  The Spiritual Side of Psychology at Century’s End (Proceedings of the 57th Convention, International Council of Psychologists, August 15-19, 1999, Salem, Massachusetts, USA; Lengerich, Germany: Pabst Science Publishers, 2002; 279p.), Jan Strelau, Frank H. Farley, Anthony Gale, eds., The Biological Bases of Personality and Behavior (Washington: Hemisphere Pub. Corp.; McGraw-Hill, 1985); Frank H. Farley, and Neal J. Gordon, eds., Psychology and Education: the State of the union Union (Berkeley, CA: McCutchan, 1981; 405p.).

[19] See, the New Zealand Foundation for Character Education Inc., and note that Weston Primary School in North Otago, New Zealand, has classified the picture book section of its library under the eight cornerstone values.

[20] Eric H. Erikson, Childhood and Society (2nd Ed.; NY: Norton, 1963); Insight and Responsibility (NY: Norton, 1964); Identity: Youth and Crisis (NY: Norton, 1968); The Life Cycle Completed (NY: Norton, 1982). Erikson’s influence cannot be overestimated to all facets of psychology, and his insights have such a clear ring of truth that much of his material on developmental stages has been transported into and expanded upon in theology and pastoral care.

[21] The hierarchy of needs was recast into virtues and strengths by Peterson and Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (Oxford Univ., 2004; 816p.): 63; Abraham Maslow’s has been formative but not as pervasive as Erikson; see Abraham Maslow, Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences (NY: Penquin, 1964), Motivation and Personality (2nd Ed.; NY: Harper & Row, 1970).

[22] Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004; 816p.): 29-30. This massive and significant contribution shall become a classic in positive-preventative psychology, gathering together most of the secular psychological studies having a bearing upon the meaning and development of character. Moreover, for Christian theologians (and those of other religions), herein psychology has proved the value of values and of noble behavior as good for the soul and society. The bibliography has more technical journals relating to character than another work to date (that I am aware of). They left no psychological nook or cranny out.

[23] Leo Buscalia, Living, Loving, and Learning, edited by Steven Short, from Bascalia’s lectures worldwide between 1970 and 1981 (NY: Ballantine, 1982): 83-84. See

[24] Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004; 816p.): 46. Magnificence refers to tasteful spending on honorable things like sacrifices or warships, and greatness of soul refers to thinking of oneself worthy of things and honor in particular. For Aristotle, virtue is an acquired skill learned through trail and error, gained from reasoning and experience through a course of action between two extremes (deficiency or excess); so generosity is the mean between wastefulness and stinginess, and courage is the mean between cowardice and rashness.

[25] Peterson and Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004): 69. These are personality traits with correlations to virtues. These come from Warren T. Norman (“Toward an Adequate Taxonomy of Personality Attributes: Replicated Factor Structure in Peer Nomination Personality Ratings,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 66 [1963]: 574-583); according to Peterson and Seligman, Norman’s five groups came from lexical studies originating with Gordon Allport and Henry Odbert who through an unabridged dictionary and identified thousands of English words that referred to personality traits, with their largest category being “social evaluation” (Allport & Odbert, “Trait-names: A Psycho-Lexical Study,” Psychological Monographs [Whole No. 211, 1936]). See G. W. Allport, Personality: A Psychological Interpretation (NY: Holt, 1937) and Pattern and Growth in Personality (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1961).

[26] Mark Rutland, Character Matters: Nine Essential Traits You Need to Succeed (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2003; 153p.).

[27] See

[28] Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics is a public-benefit, nonprofit membership organization founded by Michael Josephson in honor of his parents to improve the ethical quality of society by advocating principled reasoning and ethical decision making. Since 1987, over 100,000 including high-ranking public executives, congressional staff, editors, judges, and lawyers, and police officers have been trained, and many schools and institutions have initiated Character Counts programs on this model. See and, the latter ranking top at

Also, many states and institutions across the country have taken, assimilated, or emulated Character Counts programs. For example, the California Dept. of Ed. took initiatives to develop character in youth (, instituted state guidelines, helped sponsor the California Partnership for Character Education (CPCE) whose advisory boards includes reps from over 25 agencies and governmental entities (

At, the CA state board has instituted character education, stating “Effective schools seek to develop and reinforce character traits, such as caring, citizenship, fairness, respect, responsibility, and trustworthiness, through a systematic approach that includes adult modeling, curriculum integration, a positive school climate, and access to comprehensive guidance and counseling services.” They quote Martin Luther King, jr., as saying, “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

[29] See

Ron Kurtus indicated Franklin’s use of these in his Poor Richard’s Almanack and life.

[30] Ron Kurtus’s exposition

See official Boy Scouts of America (BSA) site at their oath is “On my honor I will do my best; To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” BSA claim they are “the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training,” and few would doubt with over 3 million served, 53,380 packs, 44,335 troops, 20,992 crews, 8,042 teams serving 41,271,251 hours and awarding 49,151 Eagle Scout awards in 2003.

[31] See The foundation of the Character Classics program is a series of specially selected well-known classical melodies, which the Character Building Company has recorded along with catchy and innovative contemporary character-building lyrics. Children hear and learn about music from the world's most recognized classical composers like Mozart, Bach, Mendelssohn, Strauss, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and many others.

[32] Stephen R. Covey @, article “Seven Habits Revisited: Seven Unique Human Endowments” (11-1991). Covey very popular The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1989; the sub-title now being “Powerful Lessons In Personal Change”; 340p.) has sold over 10 million and been a national best seller. See also Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families: Building a Beautiful Family Culture in a Turbulent World (NY: Golden Books, 1997; 390p.). Covey has been a very successful business-leadership seminar motivator, teaching some of the top executives of the top Fortune 500 companies.

[33] See Most of the diverse questions center around 24 areas: 1. Personal Values, 2. Energy, 3. Family Background, 4. Honesty, 5. Enjoy Presence, 6. Dependability, 7. Intelligence, 8. Sex Appeal, 9. Love of Children, 10. Beliefs, 11. Fun-Loving, 12. Physical, 13. Chemistry, 14. Security with Them, 15. Similarities, 16. Romantic Attraction, 17. Personality, 18. Kindness, 19. Sexual Compatibility, 20. Ability to Communicate, 21. Skill Resolving Conflicts, 22. Friendliness, 23. Ability Emotional Intimacy, 24. Friendship Between.

[34] See and Neil Clark Warren’s Finding the Love of Your Life (Focus on the Family, 1992; 166p.). There are several other works on the site, including: Date ... or Soul Mate? How to Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing In Two Dates Or Less; Catching the Rhythm of Love; Learning to Live with the Love of Your Life.

[35] The 87 are: warm, clever, dominant, ambitious, outgoing, agreeable, modest, submissive, lazy, introverted, aloof, quarrelsome, cold, gregarious, arrogant, impulsive, stable, energetic, spiritual, adventuresome, frugal, predictable, affectionate, organized, intelligent, compassionate, attractive, loyal, witty, neat, content, humorous, efficient, artistic, perfectionist, creative, spontaneous, sensitive, under-achiever, uncomplicated, generous, intellectual, moral, disciplined, adaptable, communicative, honest, sensual, liberal, charming, patient, reliable, resilient, optimistic, conservative, passionate, reflective, caring, genuine, open, self-aware, competitive, over-achiever, vivacious, wise, bossy, leader, irritable, show-off, independent, kind, calm, courageous, aggressive, persistent, outspoken, follower, rational, opinionated, restless, romantic, selfish, shy, stubborn, trusting, jealous.

[36] James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987). This book is a hundredfold more substantive than Covey’s 7 habits in concrete examples and raw data, and there is a substantial bibliography. It began in 1983 as a research project where surveys were collected from 550 and another 780 managers, and these were compared to 42 in-depth interviews and then all of that was collated into an inventory for 3,000 managers and subordinates. Kouzes was president of Tom Peters Group Learning Systems, made famous by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman’s best selling In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-run Companies (1st ed.; NY: Harper & Row, 1982; 360p.; so popular, a 2004 edition is out by HarperBusiness Essentials).

[37] James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993): 14, from 15,000 survey, “a from 1993 U.S. respondents percentage of people selecting, and “b” from 1987 respondents. This supplement to their Leadership Challenge is as ground-breaking and substantive, and full of case studies and concrete examples.

[38] James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993): 1-26, chapter 1.

[39] Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Seligman studied many dozens of groups of virtues in collaboration with many scholars and then distilled their work into their massive Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004; 816p.).

[40] See

[41] See; Mark Bell at Magine That, P.O. Box 159, Grapevine, TX   76099, Phone: 817-491-8773: “Each trait is briefly defined, and a poem elaborates on that definition. A second poem applies each trait to a child's everyday experience, with a whimsical illustration that even young children can understand. Children will love the amusing poems and illustrations and adults will appreciate learning exactly what each character traits means.”

[42] See “Character education holds that widely shared, pivotally important, core ethical values—such as caring, honesty, fairness, responsibility, and respect for self and others—form the basis of good character. A school committed to character development stands for these values (sometimes referred to as "virtues" or "character traits"), defines them in terms of behaviors that can be observed in the life of the school, models these values, studies and discusses them, uses them as the basis of human relations in the school, celebrates their manifestations in the school and community, and holds all school members accountable to standards of conduct consistent with the core values.”

[43] See

[44] See