New Hampton, IA
Indiantown, FL
El Rancho, CA
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The Six Pillars of Character

The Six Pillars of Character are the core ethical values of CHARACTER COUNTS! These values were identified by a nonpartisan, secular group of youth development experts in 1992 as core ethical values that transcend cultural, religious, and socioeconomic differences.

  • Be honest. Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal.
  • Have integrity. Do what you say you’ll do.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Be loyal. Stand by your values.
  • Follow the Golden Rule.
  • Be accepting of differences.
  • Be courteous to others.
  • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements.
  • Be considerate of others’ feelings.
  • Do what you are supposed to do. Try your best.
  • Persevere. Keep on trying.
  • Be self-disciplined.
  • Think before you act. Consider the consequences.
  • Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes.
  • Play by the rules.
  • Take turns and share.
  • Be open-minded. Listen to others.
  • Don’t take advantage of others.
  • Be kind.
  • Be compassionate.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Forgive others.
  • Be considerate of others’ feelings.
good citizenship
  • Do your share to make your home, school, and community better.
  • Cooperate.
  • Stay informed. Vote.
  • Be a good neighbor.
  • Make choices that protect the safety and rights of others.
  • Protect the environment.

About the Six Pillars of Character

Why These Six Values?

Our Six Pillars of Character are universally accepted values. They are recognized across different cultures, socio-economic statuses, and religions and can be easily identified at school, home, or in communities.

How to Use the Pillars

To help students, families, and educators remember the Pillars, we recommend always listing them in this order: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship and using the acronym “T.R.R.F.C.C.” (Terrific). It also makes the Pillars easier to remember if you associate them with their corresponding colors:

  • Trustworthiness: blue
  • Respect: yellow
  • Responsibility: green
  • Fairness: orange
  • Caring: red
  • Citizenship: purple
If Your School Already Uses Different Values

Your school/organization may already have identified values and expectations. For example, if you are implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), you may have expectations that include respect, responsibility, or caring. When you continue to use your existing expectations, CHARACTER COUNTS! can extend students’ understanding and provide a powerful common vocabulary for additional character skills that students will need to develop for success in school, work, and life.


Best Practice: Use the Pillar Words Frequently

The Six Pillars of Character provide your school/organization with a common vocabulary for students. When everyone uses the same vocabulary, it is easier to teach new character skills, advocate and enforce expectations, and be a good role model.

Here’s an example of how educators or families can weave in trustworthiness.

Call attention to trustworthy behaviors when they occur. Be sure to use the word “trustworthiness”  to illustrate the concept. Situations that offer teaching opportunities might include: 

  • a student telling the truth (especially if there are potentially negative consequences). “Thank you for telling me that you spilled your friend’s juice. I can see you are trustworthy because you told the truth.” 
  • a student returning something used or borrowed without prompting. “I appreciate your returning the pencil. You showed me you are trustworthy, so the next time you want to borrow something, I’ll be happy to share.”  
Character Counts
St. Johns County, FL
Character Counts

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