I hesitate to comment on the recent story of Ray Rice, because just commenting could put me into a no-win situation. Nevertheless, I feel this a good opportunity to highlight the impact of The Choices we Make: An opportunity to use Rice and this incident as a teaching moment. I think we could all use a remedial course, I know I can.
If you do not know Ray Rice, he is a star running back for the Baltimore Ravens; he is also an alleged wife beater. On February 15th 2014, Rice was filmed pulling his unconscious wife from an elevator in Atlantic City. For reasons which I cannot fathom, no charges were filed against Rice. The NFL did investigate and Rice has been suspended for 2 regular season games this year. Since then, all hell seems to have broken loose in the media, mostly condemning the NFL for its actions (not being harsh enough), and anyone else who supports Rice.
While I am sure I could find thousands of words to express my feelings on this topic, I would rather look at the consequences of Rice’s actions, to highlight the importance of The Choices we Make. In one quick moment, Rice allegedly struck his wife, landing her unconscious and no matter what he does now, the world, those around him, his family and he will now never forget this one single choice he made. It will impact him and their relationships until they are gone.
Today, July 31, 2014, Rice held a press conference to talk about this incident. In this talk, his opening words seem to sum up the situation: “I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life”. He went on to say “I take full responsibility for my actions. My wife can do no wrong. What happened that night should have never happened.”
The problem with these statements is that even though he takes full responsibility, there is nothing he can do to stop the pain and hurt of others, especially of his family. At least he seems to know this, as he says in the following:
“The pain I’m talking about living with is that, is waking up every day and my daughter is two years old now, I have a little girl who’s very smart, very intelligent,” Rice said. “And one day she’s gonna know the power of Google. And we have to explain that to her — what happened that night. And I know that’s not who I am as a man”.
“…my mom raised me to be. I let her down, I let my wife down, I let my daughter down, I let my wife’s parents down, I let the whole Baltimore community down, and I got my teammates here to support me and I let my teammates down, you know I let so many people down because of 30 seconds of my life that I know I can’t take back.”
Ray Rice may understand that The Choice he Made is not only affecting him. You can be the judge of that. Regardless, his choice is certainly affecting many others.
John Harbaugh, coach of the Ravens discussed the Rice issue as well. You might wonder about some of the praise he pours onto Rice, he did however, have some very appropriate words for all of us, as it relates to The Choices we Make.
Harbaugh expands on his comments about the Rice situation and the impact it has on a very wide audience. “That’s the thing about making choices,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the thing you try to impress upon your guys. Hey, I try to impress my daughter. I try to impress upon myself when you make choices. It used to be that no one would know or they wouldn’t last or they might be forgotten. It was still in your heart. You still knew. Now, it’s you and everybody else still knows. That’s the ramifications of the choices that you make. The main thing people need to learn from it, other players need to learn from it, players around the league should learn from it, kids should learn from it.”
As Harbaugh says, The Choices we Make will always be evident, especially in today’s electronic and social environments. Even after the smoke clears, and time in its infinite wisdom passes by, we will always remember The Choices we Make. We, who made the choice, will never get over that choice, it will haunt us, it will affect the way we live our life, and it will affect future decisions, and will sometimes paralyze us from making future choices. Beyond ourselves, These Choices we Make, especially significant ones like that which Rice made, will also influence our relationships with those affected. They too will never forget. Even if they have forgiven, they will never trust the same way. They will always think twice before again putting themselves into a similar situation.
Adults, the choices you make and the example you set for others, especially young people, will determine the future of our world. Parents, the choices we make and the example we set for our children will directly affect their success and their ability to contribute to society. Kids, the choices you make now, when you feel invincible, will determine your success or failure, your happiness or sadness, for the rest of your long life.
The effect choices have on others is the importance of The Choices we Make.Shareby
You are absolutely right, we can all certainly use a remedial course from time to time. Like you, I am going to steer clear of the catalyst of Rice’s apology as it has been hotly debated, discussed and dissected almost everywhere, although I will say, I did not consider any of the story in this context. This edition of ‘The Choices we Make’ reminds me of two adages that I use all the time. “I can look at myself in the mirror every morning” and “I can sleep well at night.” Thanks for the primer, Pat. It’s a good time to revisit these adages and make sure that The Choices I Make allow me to use them truthfully.
Those choices which I have made in my life, which I regret the most, are also the ones which keep me up at night – in two ways. Either, I cannot fall asleep because the impact of my actions have been so difficult, or I dream about my actions, and their impact, and my dreams are so fearful I am suddenly awakened, and find it difficult to go back to sleep.
Thanks for the comments and compliment, they are greatly appreciated.
Pat… As you know, I have known you since you met Vicki. Even though I am a tiny