What do you tell your children?

Like many Australians I have been left a little bit stunned over the past two weeks by the revelations that the Australian Cricket team has engaged, knowingly, in an act of cheating.  

As a parent what do I tell my two sons who both play cricket and hold the Australian team in great esteem?

Knowing what to say as a parent is never easy and even what I offer my sons may be different to what others tell their children. 

What you say will be dependent on their character, your character and your relationship so I will tell my sons the following:

Criticise the behaviour, not the person
What has been done is no doubt wrong. The Australian Cricketers should not have tampered with the ball.  However, they are people and people make mistakes.

Think reflectively before you act
You have to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it before you act.  This is an exceptionally hard skill and something I regularly get wrong. However, I need to keep on trying to think reflectively before I act and think about the consequences of my actions before I do something. 

Treat others as you would like to be treated 
If you don’t want the opposition to cheat then don’t cheat yourself. Play within the confines of the rules or laws and enjoy yourself. 

Consider the ‘why’
Think about why players in the Australian team have done what they have done and what has motivated them to act in the manner they have.  Is it because the pressure to win is so great that they had to do this?  Is it a selfish desire to win at all costs?  Whatever it may be, consider the ‘why’, learn from it and use it when you are thinking reflectively.

If my sons at 10 and 13 remember just one of these four things and use it positively, they will grow from the experience and learn, I hope, to be better people. 

Of course, if I can live by all of them myself all the time I will be inhumanly perfect!

Simon Shepherd