The Parable of the Broken Egg, Part 5: Would a Lion Eat Its Own Tail?
Posted on 12, November 2011
One of the most respected coaches in football leaves his post in a shroud of shame and a most honored University is left to stare itself deep into its soul and question, “Where is integrity when it counts the most?” Over the past few years we have been facing issues of integrity at every turn, from our governments, to our financial institutions to our sports and even the most respected are being exposed.
In the wake of the Penn State scandal, many are in shock, asking themselves, how can an institution that is dedicated to the education and growth, mentoring tomorrows leaders, educators and parents, display such callous ignorance in disregard for human dignity and respect? Perhaps this is more of an issue based in flaws in our society?
So many times we look at others who commit crimes and engage in unethical and unprofessional behavior, and we exclude ourselves as if it were impossible for us to behave in such a manner. Many sit in judgment of others, and we hear them say, “If I were in that position…”, while others respond with rage and hatred that seeks vengeance and not truth. We would like to think that we would all make the best decision for all when life calls upon us, but for many it doesn’t happen that way. We have to understand that even the best intended people make very poor decisions at times. While their 95% of kind, giving, supportive behaviors should not excuse their poor decisions, it is incorrect to define them by their 5% or their 95%.
Situations happen everyday in life that we walk by. We don’t respond out of a feeling of fear, helplessness, not wanting to get involved, not being prepared, not caring, not wanting to lose friends or be seen as unpopular… Many may want to say that this is an issue about a university protecting itself, but whether it is a university, a corporation, a government, or a family where many heinous acts are brushed under the carpet, these groups are comprised of individuals, where each knowingly closed their eyes to a serious problem where people were severely harmed.
At this time, there are millions casting judgment on a coach, a few administrators, a university… and still a child’s innocence was taken away. Children and adults are abused everyday, and people turn a blind eye. How long are we going to keep doing this, and how long is it going to take to see that WE have a problem?
We have to recognize that this is an issue of being human. We are prone to mistakes, and some we wish were never made and many can never be undone, having lifelong consequences. We can say, “That’s life,” and move on to the next headline, or we can aspire to a higher standard. A standard where we look out as much for our neighbor as ourselves, where we think about how an action is affecting another person or group rather than our bottom line, our profits, our team, our politics… We each have choices to make everyday. Are you going to open your eyes or keep them closed?
I would propose this. Rather than focusing your energy on the individuals named in this action, take some time to look at yourself and the world around you. Focus your energy, thoughts, and intentions on what you would do not just in a similar situation, but in any situation that required your assistance.
Do you stop when someone is broken down on the highway? Do you stop someone when you see them get in a car when you know they have been drinking? Do you comment to or seek assistance for an adult who may be verbally berating or physically abusing a child or spouse? Would you stop a teacher or coach from humiliating an athlete or student? Should we really define a threshold for a behavior that results in the pain, humiliation, and degradation of another individual?
We all have a choice here. We can use this event as a waypoint to set the intentions and actions of our own behaviors, or we can take the time to judge others, only to perpetuate the problem, which is about as wise as a Lion eating its own tail.
My final questions to you – How do you define a winner and how do you define hero?