Original Post: May 16, 2013
As I embark on an exciting new path to help make a difference in the lives of young people, I wanted to share some thoughts with you about where we are and how we all can help create a more respectful, caring and responsible next generation.
The result has been all around us —- in business, government, politics and the law.
There has been a loss of trust in our major institutions and it’s largely due to a decline in ethical behavior. Our institutions are an extension of our collective character, so, as a society, it clearly is time for some serious reflection on the direction that moral compass is pointed.
And, if we adults are in need of a course correction, what about young people?
Will the next generation be more ethical, responsible and respectful?
In 2008, the Josephson Institute released a study of nearly 30,000 students at 100 randomly selected high schools nationwide, both public and private. It’s survey found that 30% of U.S. high school students had stolen from a store, 36% used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment and 64% admitted to cheating on a test within the previous year.
And it’s not as if those students regretted their decisions. 93% said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77% stated that “when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.”
Other surveys have shown similar traits.
According to a fall, 2008 survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 75% of teens said sending suggestive content “can have serious negative consequences”. Yet, 20% of teens said they had sent or posted nude or seminude pictures or videos of themselves and 39% had sent or posted sexually suggestive emails or text messages.
We all say and do things we wish we could take back. But, where mistakes of judgement in personal interaction once were limited in scope, social media now magnifies them. That impulsive tweet, text or photo sent without much thought, not only can’t be taken back, it can’t be controlled at all.
This is especially challenging for young people who have not yet matured. At younger and younger ages, they are expected to be responsible with their words and actions. In an age of immediacy where instant communication comes without a “pause” button, young people need tools and strategies to encourage wholesome thought and self-restraint —- to think before hitting the “send” button —- to consider consequences before reacting impulsively.
The lack of self-regulation and regard for moral consideration can be seen in the high number of “date rape” sexual assaults and the high incidence of domestic violence.
So, how do we inspire people of all ages to act morally and responsibly?
While laws can deal with those who act criminally, no rules or regulations can force people to act responsibly. Only a practiced, sustainable values system can fix a culture of irresponsibility.
In most schools, in accordance with state mandated testing across the country, the focus of the core curriculum has been on raising test scores. For more than a quarter century, America’s public schools moved away from teaching ethics, instead providing a so-called “values-neutral” education.
That is changing now with schools embracing character education in an effort to deal with bullying and other behavioral issues.
It’s a challenge for parents and for school systems. Most human behavior is learned by observation. Young people are bombarded by messages that push them to conform rather than instill a sense of belief and confidence within them. The marketing machines are effective and condition kids to want the glitz and glamour, the sex appeal, and look-at-me behaviors. Young people receive far fewer messages promoting respect and consideration for others.
The result is a culture based too much on superficial values.
Young people often feel powerless to control their world. They don’t feel they have choices. But, each of us can enlighten them to the enormous potential within…that they don’t have to follow along with the rest of the pack when it just doesn’t seem right.
By instilling in them the value of respect and self-restraint, helping them understand that kindness and compassion are signs of strength, not weakness, they can look beyond obeying rules and boundaries to see that there are shared beliefs and values with their peers. And when young people take a moment to consider what they ought to do rather than what they can do, they become more thoughtful decision-makers. And that results in their making more responsible, healthy and productive life choices.
Let’s raise the level of expectation and re-establish a higher standard of conduct. A renewed emphasis on universally-held values of respect, fairness and honesty will produce a win-win outcome. It will benefit every segment of our society.
It all starts with the effort and attitude each of us exhibits everyday.
I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote from the late Rush Kidder, founder of the Institute for Global Ethics from his 1994 book titled “Shared Values for a Troubled World”.
“Each of us is a teacher of moral values. The examples we set, the choices we make, the lives we live, broadcast potent, clear ethical signals to all within our radius. We can not avoid responsibility for our moral atmosphere. We create it hour-by-hour in our actions and motives, seeding the next generation of moral actions with the ones we cultivate as models today”
Original Post: Monday, April 22, 2013
A week after the horrifying events in Boston that shook us to the core, we are left wondering why two brothers would decide to so callously maim and kill a group of strangers with whom they have no direct connection.
It was an act of violence that physically injured scores of Boston Marathon onlookers, but also had an emotional impact on the rest of us.
Why did we connect so closely with the victims?
Original Post: April 3, 2013
You’ve seen the video and heard the voice of Mike Rice. The University of Rutgers men’s basketball coach is shown shoving and grabbing his players at practice. He is seen throwing basketballs at them and he is heard belittling them using homophobic slurs.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Mike Rice has been fired. But, Rice wasn’t dismissed because of the way he treated his players. That’s not the real reason he is out as basketball coach.
It’s because of the videotape.
Think about that for a moment.
If the tape had disappeared, if it had been erased after Athletic Director Tim Pernetti viewed it, Mike Rice would still be the coach today. He was fired only because the videotape of his behavior made him a public relations nightmare.
That is an embarrassment.
Original Post: March 12, 2013
I’ve been thinking today of the word that best describes how I feel about my time at ESPN Radio. And I came up with it —- grateful. Believe me, I know how fortunate I was to work at ESPN Radio for close to 17-years.
I remember being approached by ESPN back in 1991. ESPN was planning to start a radio network, just weekends at first, and was interviewing candidates for the two host positions. I hadn’t given a thought to the ESPN venture. It never even occurred to me to apply for a job.
Original Post: January 22, 2013
What is the one word that best encompasses the most talked about sports stories of the new year?
What is the one central theme linking the Lance Armstrong’s “apology” interview, the Manti Te’o “girlfriend hoax”, the Baseball Hall-of-Fame election shutout, and the life of baseball icon Stan Musial?
Original Post: January 11, 2013
Last week, Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly described his current position as “the best job in the country —- NFL, college, high school, whatever”.
Then, he interviewed with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles about their vacant head coaching job.
Kelly isn’t the first coach to do this. He won’t be the last.
But, I have never understood why they say one thing, and do another. Sadly, it has become almost commonplace for coaches to make such definitive statements, and then leave.
Original Post: December 27, 2012
Will Craig Biggio be elected to the Baseball Hall-of-Fame is his first year on the ballot?
The eligible voters from the Baseball Writers Association of America have until December 31st to return their ballots.
The Hall-of-Fame Class of 2013 will be announced on January 9th.
Biggio is a member of the 3,000 hit club. Their are only 28 members.
With the exception of Pete Rose and Rafael Palmeiro, every one of the HOF-eligible players to reach 3,000 hits since the end of World War II, has been elected on the first ballot.
Craig Biggio is not among those with direct links to the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED), so, given recent voting history, he should be joining the Hall in 2013, right?
I’m not so sure he will…
Original Post: November 11, 2012
When you hear the name Lane Kiffin, what’s the mental picture that you see?
Is it of the coach whose USC football team still has a chance to win the PAC-12 title after overcoming five turnovers to beat Arizona State Saturday night?
Is it a positive image that comes to your mind?