Do Our Children Become Our Conscience?


When I say the name Lance Armsrong, chances are you have a strong opinion of him. Over the course of the past twelve years he has become so many different things to so many different people… victor, villian, champion, cheat. Way back in 2000, my husband and I began to watch the Tour de France and were immediately swept up in the inspirational story of this scrappy, American kid who fought his way to the top of the cycling world. The story most of us know includes a viscious battle with cancer where he crawls out victorious. Lance Armstrong became an inspiration to cancer survivors, cancer warriors, young cyclists, heck, any age cyclists! My husband bought a road bike in 2000 and has been riding every week since!! There are few homes that Lance’s story did not touch. Not only did he beat cancer, but he was beating up the Tour de France year, after year, after year. Amid all of this success, he started the Livestrong Foundation to help cancer patients and their families worldwide. Wow! How does he do it? What an inspiration! He is amazing! He is a hero! And that is exactly what he became- a modern day superhero. A sea of yellow bracelets were proof that we all wanted to believe in him and his story. So, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when Lance agreed to do an exclusive interview with Oprah based on allegations that he had used illegal and banned substances to help him win all of those races. After years of vehemently denying that he had ever participated in using those substances, he finally came out and admitted that he had done just that-and that he had done it for years. Now, honestly if we look hard enough (or maybe not very hard), I know that we can find cheating in any and every sport, whether it is as big as performance enhancing drugs or as little as stretching the truth. Have you ever competed with someone, in any arena where that win is just out of reach? No matter how hard you try, there is always someone a little bit faster, a bit out of your grasp? Whether it is at work or school or sports, do you ever just touch your toe over that line of integrity? Maybe you didn’t exactly tell the truth about those last few seconds of the race, perhaps you rounded up or down wherever it suited you to become the winner of that particular goal. Are the small blurred lines as bad as what Lance Armstrong did? Lance said in the interview that he needed to come clean and tell the truth because of his kids. He didn’t want his children to see him as a cheater. Do our children then become the soft whisper of our conscience? If our children learn and model our behavior by the choices we make everyday, don’t they become our conscience? Our actions, our words, our behaviors towards others become our children’s inner voice. Kids are more perceptive than we realize and just when we think no one is watching, they are learning by our example, be it right or wrong. Integrity turns out to be something you have to practice everyday. It can be encouraged in the big and little choices we face on a daily basis. Today, as I am running around in my own “race” called life, I am going to try to remember the importance of choosing truthfulness, tolerance, and love with integrity. I might not become a modern day superhero by practicing these things, but then again… maybe just a little!