Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Do You Stand For?




Some years ago we had a news scandal about an unsavoury incident involving a football team on a tour to NZ  some years before which raised the topic of what is acceptable behaviour in sport, but more widely in the community. The reports have been revealed what is coyly described as ‘consensual sexual encounter’. Well so far as it was stated originally, the consent extended to the single man named and now paying some price for his now very  public infidelity, and his involvement in what turned out to be something other than a simple one night stand.

Specifically, it turned into something other than this, when eleven team mates and various hangers-on decided to get in on the act.

So far, the former player (the one with the consent  – from the 19 year old woman, if not his wife...) has taken the hit for the team. Well that’s the point is it not? Team bonding and all that means that the team is the thing and you don’t ‘rat’ on your mates. Where that fits insofar as the mates letting a team member take responsibility for their involvement to alone face the consequences, is however understandable it may be, cowardice. Were it the case that this man had in mind that the other members would enter the room then that would seriously compound his error and compromise his integrity even further. If he did not invite them in then it becomes even more shameful that they leave him alone to bear responsibility for their actions.

This specific case aside, it does beg the question ...What has happened to the standards that were once an easy measure for individuals to gauge their behaviour and actions? Where are the role models that will teach boys to be men of integrity? How does it come to pass that in this age of supposed enlightenment that women are still treated in this manner and more to the point, believe at some level that there is any reason to submit to such bullying? Consent? Really? Just supposing it were true the young woman did have poor judgement in this case, still yet that does not alter the fact that each and every man in that room had his own decision to make, and it would seem, each had little respect – or reason to have respect - for themselves, or anyone else in the team. Without question it is safe to assume that none of the men in that room would have been happy for their mother or sister to be treated the way that they treated that woman. So what possibly constituted the difference in their mind between she – and the women they would protect from such treatment in the normal course of events?

Beyond this sorry incident, is the broader question of what value we place on standing up and doing the right thing for the right reason. How different might this story have been had someone brought some positive leadership to the group.

In discussing this with a client this week, he related a story about travelling on an inter-city commuter train, packed with people just doing their best to endure the journey with as little friction as is possible in a train packed with commuters. A young man decided to inflict his loud opinions and blaring music on the rest of the passengers. One man requested that he be considerate and turn the music down. The youth returned the request with a hostile gesture. Minutes later the youth has moved down the aisle to where my client sat. He took this opportunity to upbraid him and let him know in no uncertain terms, that the passengers and he needed to be considerate one of the other and that his cooperation would make it a much better trip for all concerned. He motioned to the man who had asked for the music to be turned down, what he’d like to do with the music now. The man remained silent. Nobody on the train said a single thing to support him. Apparently then, all the passengers were consenting to being bullied.

In Australia we have had the notion of a fair go, and an expectation of reasonable behaviour as we live-and-let-live. Has that been a fantasy of the imagination? Has this really been worth nothing... or have we just turned our back on this concept as being worthy of keeping in our present age?

Does it really, not matter at all, how we behave to one another?

I for one, hope not.

As our society moves away from the two parent home, we see more and more children raised in homes without a male parent. The examples that the parents set, in what the children absorb about how relationships work, how people treat each other would seem to be changed now, compared to the past. Many things that would have been frowned upon, are now found to be commonplace. The old rules are thrown out, but what are the new rules?

We’re learning something now of what the former football team regards as reasonable behaviour. It isn’t pretty.

In America, many are fond of a question WWJD – What would Jesus Do.

My question to you, is What Would You Do?

What are the things for which you are prepared to stand up? Even when they are difficult.

Especially when they are difficult.

A quote to which I subscribe says:

“What I am is the result of all the choices I have made or allowed others to make for me. What I choose is what I am”

Choose well.

What do you think?



















Lindy Asimus
Business Coach & Social Media Development
Design Business Engineering

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