Monday, April 19, 2010

teachable moments

what a weekend! what started out to be a great and beautiful day full of promise (i realize that sounds melodramatic) turned sour. the region track meet was saturday. you should have heard us cheer my matthew on in the 1600m race. he crossed the finish line in first! our only win of the day, matthew would be moving on to compete in the state meet...at least we thought so. an hour later, someone came to let us know matthew had been disqualified. he had been announced 3 times as the winner and had been awarded his plaque. the coach at a rival school alleged sometime after the race (and after his kid had lost to matthew) that matthew had run out of bounds. matthew felt cheated. we all did. he knew he hadn't stepped out of bounds, especially the distance the coach was now claiming. we lost the initial appeal. but someone did the right thing, turned in a report, and before we even had a chance to ask for another appeal, the decision was overturned. matthew was reinstated as the winner. and he will compete at state.

david and i both felt sick over this situation. it was wrong. very wrong. after things settled down and we were back at our school, i was able to talk to matthew briefly about not letting this make him bitter. he had the opportunity to let this fuel him to be better, to be faster, to be more focused. it may have fallen on deaf ears for the moment, but i think he will take it to heart once he's had a chance to process.

he was angry. he had every right to be. david and i gave him his space. we allowed him to explore his emotions and process the events. i was probably angrier than anyone. you don't mess with a momma bear and her cubs, and you don't mess with a human momma and her children. amen?

he had one race left that day, and i believe he ran harder and faster than i'd ever seen him run. his whole team did. they placed third and also qualified for state. all of us on the sidelines were cheering and laughing about how they must really be mad to run that fast.

we kept the plaque he was awarded. i refused to give it up stating that he had rightfully earned it. no one challenged me on that. not only did he earn it, but i wanted to keep that plaque as a symbol, a reminder. i came across a quote by sophocles: "I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.” my next teachable moment with my son? always remember how this felt, and always keep your integrity. and when you find yourself at that crossroads, do the right thing. don't allow someone else to feel what you felt at that moment.

life is full of decisions, crossroads. we have a choice. our integrity will be challenged. we can choose to do right or we can choose to do others wrong. we can choose to be bitter or we can choose to be better. we can fall and give up or we can rise with determination to overcome. what will we do? which will we choose?

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