Yesterday we touched on baseball umpire Jim Joyce’s missed call. With two outs in the 9th inning, he called the Cleveland Indians player safe on a close play at first base. With that call, he ruined Detroit Tiger’s pitcher Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. After seeing the replay, Jim Joyce not only apologized to Galarraga privately, he publically acknowledged his mistake.
What a world this would be if everybody would do that!
We’ve got the Tiger Woods and Jesse James’ of the world who should just own up to their mistakes … period. No explanations or excuses. Same for the executives at BP. O. J. Simpson. Rod Blogovich. Drew Petersen. Joran van der Sloot. Granted, the last three have just been accused and not proven guilty of wrong-doing. But can one man lose two wives, as did Drew Petersen, under such suspicious circumstances? Can two young women, both seen in the company of van der Sloot, just disappear or die?
“Don’t complain … never explain.” I think I learned this through years of being involved in sports, either while in high school myself, or through our kids’ involvement in sports. My daughter is a high school coach, and you have never heard so many excuses as to why practice was missed, why this or why that.
David Fagin, in his on-line post, “Opinion: We need more Jim Joyces in the world,” lists a few recent headlines where people tried shifting the blame from themselves to others. He asks the questions “Where has our honor gone? What message are we sending to our kids and the rest of the world? Where’s the backbone my father and grandfather tried to instill in me?”
One of the examples he brought up was also a topic on the local radio talk show this past week. A woman is suing Google for giving her walking directions that she says caused her to be hit by a car. One person called in to say that that particular stretch of road is very dangerous, and that she should have had the sense to realize that she shouldn’t be walking there. If she had googled the directions on her laptop, she would have received a warning that this route was unsafe. But she googled it through her Blackberry, which did not give her the warning. A lawyer called in to say that she might really have a case, as the warning should have been given through both search avenues. Hello? Have we become so technology-dependent that we can’t think for ourselves? As mothers every where and for all time have said, “I don’t care if all your friends are doing it. If one of them jumped off a cliff, would you do the same thing?”
Are we being good examples to our children? I know a few teachers who can tell appalling stories of kid’s behavior – lack of respect, responsibility, etc. And yet, when they meet the parents, they can see where the problem really lies.
Troy Brouwer, a Chicago Blackhawk hockey player, tells the life lesson that his Dad taught him. Playing hockey around the age of nine, Troy had already compiled more than a few 10-minute misconduct penalties. Prior to game time, he could always count on his Dad to pack up his equipment bag for him. And yet, shortly before this one game started, Troy noticed that he was missing some of his equipment. In fact, he only had one of everything that he needed. In a panic, he called his Dad, who told him, “Look, you’re no better than anyone else. You figure it out.” Troy said, “It was Dad’s unique way of bringing me down to earth. That’s the last time I took a misconduct penalty, at least at that level.”
So, having said all of this, and knowing that it is so much easier to point out the faults of others, how do we ourselves rate in the responsibility department? Do we always follow through when we say we will help someone with a particular task? Do we own up to our mistakes, or are we experts in listing all the reasons why it wasn’t really our fault? Do we always do the “right thing” or just do the “easy thing?”