I LOVE this article! I thought about it all night after reading it. We ALL need to take a look at it and share it with our kids, our friends, our spouses. This is good stuff! However...I believe that there is one thing more that needs to be added to the article. Perhaps the only thing missing is OUR part in the forgiveness section!
On a personal note...I was a believer in Lance for all these years. My heart ached watching the interview on Oprah, particularly when he spoke of his own son. I see it this way...Yes. he's done wrong... a serious wrong. He's now coming forward with the truth. We are not his judge. It's not our place to determine "how" repentant he is. (Actually hearing the commentaries on "how sorry" he was or wasn't, following the Oprah interview has really been disturbing to me.)
I'm glad that he has come forward and hope that he comes completely clean wherever necessary. But, I believe that it's soooooo important that we, ourselves, practice and teach forgiveness to our children, with this situation and all others when someone tries to make it right with others what they have wronged...no matter how deeply they have hurt or how serious the wrong...our part in the matter is to forgive and learn from the situation. This life is a test. We ALL make mistakes. Some may be larger than others. But, the blessing of a mistake is that we can learn and grow from it, then use what we've learned to better ourselves and those around us. Enough said!
Using Lance Armstrong's Story to Teach Your Kids the Vocabulary of Remorse
His fall from grace was from an elevation so high that the sheer impact of hitting the ground created reverbarations across the world. I'm glad you understand how important it is to help your children process the rise -- and now fall -- of Lance Armstrong.
Indeed, our kids get many mixed messages about success and what measures are and aren't OK to achieve it. Head to any Little League or kids' basketball game on a Saturday afternoon and you'll see it in action."Steal the ball! Don't let give him a break! Wear 'em out!" Our investment in having our children win can clearly override any sportsmanship lectures we might deliver about how it's all about having fun and doing our best.
We celebrated Lance Armstong because he was a winner. We made him a hero; practically a god. And now we are trying to make sense of it all. Let Lance's story become an opportunity to help your children begin to understand the complexities that come with being human.
Here are some words to introduce into their vocabulary as you, together, explore what it means to win.
• Justification. Talk about what can happen when someone cares too much about winning."Lance Armstrong said that he talked himself into believing it was OK to use drugs to perform better at cycling because other people were doing it. Do you think that if some people do something that's wrong, it makes it OK for others to do the same?"
• Arrogance. Explain that occasionally, when someone becomes powerful -- whether through fame, fortune or accomplishment -- they convince themselves that they don't have to do what is right. "Sometimes, if people aren't careful, they believe that the rules don't apply to them. What do you think about that?"
• Humiliation. Share a story about a time when someone close to you told a lie and tried to cover it up. "Do you think they felt ashamed of what they had done? How could they have gotten past their embarrassement to make things right again?"
• Betrayal. Invite your kids to share their thoughts about Lance having accused his friends of lying when they were actually telling the truth about his use of banned substances. If you wore a LiveStrong bracelet, or were inspired by his book, talk about your own reaction when you discovered he had been so dishonest. Were you angry? Confused? Hurt?
• Remorse. Help your children imagine the effect lying has had on Lance in his quiet moments, when he is all by himself. Invite them to consider how he feels when he looks at his children, his parents and the people he loves and has disappointed. Help them get a sense of what remorse looks and feels like.
• Guilt. Ask your children to imagine what Lance was feeling as he stood on the winner's podium when he knew in his heart that he had cheated to get there. "Do you think he felt uncomfortable about people praising him when he knew he hadn't played fair? Have you ever told a lie and defended yourself, but inside felt really badly?"
• Trust. "Do you think it will be hard for people to trust Lance again? What do you think he will need to do to regain their trust? How do you think it feels to him to know that people he cares about no longer see him as trustworthy?"
• Integrity. Talk about how good it feels to live with integrity. "Integrity is a word that means living with honor, and being someone who stands by their word. It makes a person feel good about himself. When a person lies and cheats, or blames others instead of taking responsibility for his actions, he is living without integrity. It hurts that person, and all the people who believed in him."
• Forgiveness. Explore what Lance would need to do to be forgiven by the people he has hurt."Some people think that when you hurt someone, you should say you're sorry. That's true, but it often takes more than words alone to make things right when you have wounded someone physically or emotionally. What do you think he should do now?"
All the gold medals in the world cannot offer relief to a heart burdened by deception and deceit. Use Lance Armstrong's story to initiate age-appropriate discussions with your children about what winning really means: trying your best, staying true to your values, honoring those who believe in you and playing fair and square.
Somehow forgiveness with love and tolerance accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.
Gordon B. Hinckley