It's impossible to not know about the total downfall of Lance Armstrong. It's peeked my interest, but not for the reason you might think. I watched Part 1 of his interview with Oprah last night and it got me thinking; how can he be a lesson for our children? There are a few things from the interview that stood out to me.
One, his drive for perfection and how he wanted his perfection to be portrayed to the world. I think many of us (me included) are guilty of this to a much lesser extent. If we compare our lives, husbands, children, jobs to others, we try to hide the darker not so perfect parts of our lives by putting up a "strong" front. An example: I was in denial for many months about post partum depression before sucking it up and seeking treatment (after each birth). And even after that, it wasn't talked about except within my close circle. Only recently, after slipping again, do I feel strong enough to talk about my imperfection knowing I am not alone and many other women (and men) suffer to in silence. I don't want to teach my children that perfection is what we need to strive for when being content with yourself feels so much better.
Two, he was a bully that applied and conformed to peer pressure. As our children grow, we try to teach them about empathy and love. To be a bully in childhood typically leads to becoming an adult bully. Lance admited to being a bully, both as a child and an adult. If it wasn't his way, he fought and fought hard even if it what he was fighting was the truth. Using semantics to prove a point was still evident in the interview. He went to the dictionary and looked up "cheat" and saw only this meaning: refers to the use of fraud or artifice deliberately to hoodwink or obtain an unfair advantage over someone.
In his mind he wasn't gaining an unfair advantage, only putting himself on a level playing field. I guess he missed a person who acts dishonestly, deceives, or defrauds. Yes, the culture of drug abuse was present. But does one need to bend into it? Or lead it? I think the handful of men that didn't use performance enhancing drugs should be recognized and celebrated. It is those people that should receive our attention and the attention of our children. We need to give our children the courage and backbone to say No and stick to thier convictions.
Three, cheating only gets you so far. Sure, he had it all for a couple of decades. Now its all crashing around him. He had a great story fighting cancer and winning. He lead a fantastic charity. He made millions and millions in sponsor contracts. None of it matters now. The amount of deceit and lies is too much for a simple admission or apology. The years of denial, suing of people who were right...it adds up. His family who supported him...the fans who believed in him...all I can think of is BURN! All that future money...gone! Plus who knows how much he'll be spending in court in the future. That must hurt so bad. I think its a good example to use to explain to our children that cheating may look good for awhile, but eventually it catches up and drags you down further than where you started. Negativity breeds negativity and eventually closes all the doors. Positivity opens those doors and leads us to experiences beyond our imagination. To treat others as you would like to be treated...it leads to happiness in the long run.
Perhaps our pressure and expectations of athletes is too great. Continual improvement is great, but not at the cost of drug use. What does that teach the next generation? My personal goal this year is to recognize my flaws, acknowledge them and try to find positivity in them. By doing this for myself, I will be an example to my children and be a positive role model. Frank discussions about negative behaviours will be had over dinner or in the car, allowing them a chance to ask questions with no consequences. As I set my example, we'll continue to green our life to help in the same way. By exposing them to something not everyone does will give them an added bonus of experiences in life.
Hopefully, this wasn't too much of a downer :) Let's all see how we can live our life better by avoiding Lance's actions.