Yes, something good, something wonderful happened on TV this week.
By now, you’ve likely seen the footage of New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and the American runner Abbey D’Agostino tripping and crashing to the ground during a women’s 5,000 meter race in Rio. And you’ve likely been inspired as the two women helped each other in a spirit of sportmanship and humanity. One woman even finished the race with a torn ACL. I’ve thought about why images like this inspire us, and I read something yesterday that helped put it in perspective. And it’s a lesson that all kids–and parents–need to hear:
“It’s what you do after the fall” that matters most.
We all screw up in life. We all make stupid decisions that we regret. We all say things, or don’t say things, that we wish we hadn’t. Sometimes what we do hurts only ourselves, but sometimes what we do hurts others as well. Falling down is inevitable. It’s going to happen. This week, however, I was reminded–by watching TV mind you–that what we do after we fall down means a whole lot more in the long run than falling down itself.
What we do after we fall takes many forms. Maybe it’s an apology. Maybe it’s trying again. For many of us, it means crying a few tears and then letting go of our embarrassment. We get back up. We try to make it up to someone. We get out of bed in the morning. And we don’t give up. We get to the finish line, no matter what it takes.
We learn many lessons from the media, and if you know me by now, you know that I think many of those lessons leave something to be desired. But this week I felt empowered after watching TV. Maybe the right word is “refreshing.” I think it’s part of our job as parents to help kids notice the little nuggets of light that we find in our lives. This time, the nugget was found on TV. So, my invitation today is to get online and share this video with your kids. Help them see that while falling down hurts, what we become depends on what we do after we fall.