The Twelve Guiding Principles of Character Education 

LOYALTY vs. Unfaithfulness vs. Blind faith
Faithful, especially to one's friends, family, team, or country; true to a promise or duty.

RESPONSIBLE vs. Unreliability
To be able to carry out a duty and be trustworthy

RESPECTFUL vs. Disrespectful
To show proper deference and consideration to other people; to have a high opinion of; to be polite and kind

HONEST vs. Untruthful
Truthful, fair, trustworthy

Being able to work with others to reach a goal, even if it requires change

INITIATIVE vs. Doing only what you are told
The ability to solve problems; to get things done without being told

PERSEVERANCE vs. Giving up
Working steadily and enduring hardships to achieve a goal without giving up

TRUSTWORTHY vs. Unreliable
Counted on, relied upon; to be worthy of trust

COURAGE vs. Paralyzed by fear
Meeting a challenge without giving in to fear

OPTIMISM vs. Negative, defeatist
Assured, certain, positive, happy in manner. Looking on the bright side and reaching for your goals

COMPASSION vs. Cold-hearted, uncaring, unconcerned with the feelings or needs of others
Understanding the needs and the feelings of others; caring about other people

CONTEMPLATION vs. Irrational, prone to rash or hasty decisions and actions
The habit of carefully weighing the facts before making an important decision

  The Counting on Character program revolves around the Twelve Guiding Principles outlined by Dr. Martin Marrazo of the International Center for Leadership in Education. The Twelve Principles are a set of twelve character traits that enjoy universal acceptance in American society. Teaching the Twelve Principles is the minimum objective of the Counting on Character program. Taken together they represent the basic elements of good character.

The Twelve Guiding Principles can be divided into four groups:

Intra-personal  Interpersonal
Positive Action  Responsibility
Confidence  Perseverance

  The six confidence principles are internal to the person. They represent the decision making matrix of an individual of good character. They are not directly observed in a person, they are seen through their physical manifestations when a person takes positive action. Positive action occurs when a person does a physical act or makes a mental decision regarding a policy of action.

  The other character words feed the Twelve Guiding Principles; they refine and broaden the scope of the program. They serve to highlight specific areas of character that need to be developed and practiced for a person to advance on their journey toward better character. These other character words are related to one or more of the Twelve Guiding Principles. When a student practices them, they are also practicing one or more of the Guiding Principles.

  The Twelve Guiding Principles of Exceptional Character The process of becoming a person of Good Character is a lifelong journey that must be practiced and reinforced each day. We are on a constant journey toward becoming a person of higher or lesser character. Where are you today?