We’re Doing It Wrong

I’m going to state the obvious. As a society, our values are completely bass ackwards. This post has been brewing for a while, but the whole Penn State fiasco was the straw that broke the proverbial camel.

I’m sorry, but you see a man engaged in sexual activities with a 10 year old boy and your first thought is to call your Dad? How about opening your mouth right then and there? How about screaming “HEY WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?”

A friend pointed out that Jerry Sandusky was a well respected powerful coach at the time and the lowly grad student probably feared for his future. My response? WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Why are coaches, athletes and celebrities elevated to deities but teachers are blamed for all that is wrong with this world?

I went to a Division One school and the “Win above all else” mentality was and is nauseating. I get more Alumni email about sports related programs than any other topic. I understand the value of team sports. Working well as part of a team is crucial to success in the working world. But for these schools, it isn’t really about the players, it is about the MILLIONS of dollars of income the sports programs bring in from the sale of broadcasting rights and Alumni donations. This leads to the idea that The Team, and The Organization come before all else and that is just wrong.

Like most things, there are degrees. Is the team more important that your desire to go out and party the night before a big game? Yes, team first individual second.
Is winning more important than playing ill or with an injury that has the potential to be debilitating if left untreated or re-injured? Not in my book.
Is the team more important than basic respect for others and common human decency? No. NO! NO!!

I like what Brené Brown says in her post about Penn State.

“In an organizational culture where respect and the dignity of individuals are held as the highest values, shame and blame don’t work as management styles. There is no leading by fear. Empathy is a valued asset, accountability is an expectation rather than an exception, and the primal human need for belonging is not used as leverage and social control.”

I usually don’t like to write about problems unless I’m offering a solution, but I’m at a loss on this one. The solution seems so obvious, be nice to each other. Respect people and treat them the way you want to be treated. In other words, put people first!

Obvious, but apparently unattainable.


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