The past week, students across the nation and right here in the Dallas Independent School District have borne witness to headlining stories that will serve as lessons in character formation and development to last throughout their lives. No matter what we say, what we do speaks immeasurably louder. Two cases currently in the news prove that point, aptly.
Incoming DISD Chief of Staff, Jerome Oberlton, admitted Friday in a January 18 interview with The Dallas Morning News staff writer, Tawnell D. Hobbs, that he had made mistakes in his professional career. Oberlton expounded upon his admission by explaining each incident listed, finally quantifying his overall purpose, “I’m not perfect, don’t intend to be, but my heart is in the right place.” Neither act committed appeared to be for Oberlton’s personal gain, nor were they of unimaginable and untraceable sums of money.
Americans are nothing, if not competitive. That is especially true in athletics. Ask anyone about a local high school and you will most likely hear how well that school ranks on one field, course, or court, state-wise or nationally. Lance Armstrong has been regaled as a state treasure for his ability to beat a potentially terminal disease, then take on and defeat every nation on the planet in the rigorously competitive Tour de France. After denying he cheated by taking performance-enhancement drugs, being accused by former teammates of heading his U.S. Postal Service cycling team in an elaborate doping scheme, and of attempting to buy off the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in the form of a “donation,” Armstrong finally makes an admission of worth to Oprah. In the second half of a two-part airing of an interview with Oprah Winfrey for her OWN Television Network on January 18, Lance comes as close to taking responsibility than he has ever before. Though still denying many facts in the doping admissions made by former teammates, he told Oprah as the interview neared an end,
"I can look at what I did. Cheating to win bike races, lying about it, bullying people. Of course, you're not supposed to do those things. That's what we teach our children."
He ended, profoundly,
"The ultimate crime is, uh, is the betrayal of those people that supported me and believed in me.
"They got lied to."
Our children cannot use lessons in lying. They can use our being candid and truthful to them and to all to whom we owe accountability.