This At Home……….
Without asking for specifics, as your child to think about a time when they did something that they regretted doing in public. Have them imagine how much worse it would have been, if it were broadcast for the whole world to see. If he wants to share the details that’s fine, but respect his privacy. Ask him how his actions affected him and how he thinks they may have affected others. (Family, friends, coach, etc.)
Even if you’re not famous, someone is always watching. You never know how your actions, good or bad, will affect those around you. It could be as simple as your child watching how you react to a driver who cuts you off in traffic, or a stranger watching you help another stranger. Help your child understand that their actions have consequences and that one moment of carelessness, in some cases, can have huge repercussions.
With today’s technology, even for the “unknown,’ there really aren’t any private moments in public places. Help your child understand the these days everyone has a camera, because everyone has a cell phone. His behavior, good or bad, is literally just a keystroke away from being in cyber space for everyone to see. If you are famous, or at least temporarily in the spotlight, it is even more crucial for you to think before you act.
I was planning to write about seizing the moment, but I just saw a story on Geraldo At Large, on Fox, about all of the athletes gone wild at the Olympic Village, and felt compelled to blog about it.
Every Olympics there is a news story about all of the condoms shipped to the Olympic Village and a story about some athlete who gets a little too out of control.
This Olympics the spot light is on the American snowboarder, Scotty Lago. After winning the bronze medal, he went out to celebrate in Vancouver. Someone shot a picture of him behaving questionably, and after its release on the internet, he volunteered to leave the Olympic Village, presumably with some pressure from the United States Olympic Committee.
The hot topic seems to be whether or not the Olympic Committee overreacted, but I prefer to focus on the lesson. However, I do feel compelled to say this, when at the Olympics, athletes are representing more than themselves. It’s natural for athletes to want to blow off steam after four years of preparation, and the huge let down that comes when all the pressure is off after competition. However, athletes need to remember that while they are at competitions, they represent more than just themselves. They represent their families, sponsors and their country. So, regardless of whether or not you think what Scotty did is worthy of getting booted from the Olympic Village, you have to take into account how it reflects on the other parties involved. We know how the Olympic Committee reacted, but I can only imagine how his sponsors and family felt. For some celebrities, even bad press is a good thing. For others, like Olympians and Tiger Woods, whose image is built on being wholesome and squeaky clean, it has the potential to be damaging. (I say potential, because sometimes the public is surprisingly forgiving.)
Remind your child that besides having to deal with the consequences of his actions, he also potentially affects others around him, including family, friends, team and school. There is nothing wrong with having some fun, but there is also nothing wrong with keeping it under control and acting responsibly.
For younger children, my book, Shawn Sheep The Soccer Star, is a great way to start a discussion about how a person's, "or sheep's" behavior can affect those around him. Please visit www.erinmirabella.com for more information about my children's books.