Simple Old-Fashioned Values
    Category: Column By : James Kallman Read : 496 Date : Thursday, March 01, 2018 - 23:03:38

    Since I wrote my article for the December edition, I’ve been on an extended trip back to the United States. Sadly, it coincided with the Larry Nassar case, the former Michigan State University campus doctor and team doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team who had pleaded guilty to assaulting female gymnasts.

    As the disclosures unfolded I was left with feelings of disgust, anger, and sadness: disgust that such a talented individual should misuse his position of trust to abuse young girls under his care, some not even into their teens; anger that this could continue over a period of some 20 years without any colleague or superior ever seemingly being aware; and deep sadness for all those victims whose lives have been forever scarred. These feelings are particularly true for those who told someone about the incidents and were not believed, for their trust was doubly betrayed.

    As more instances come to light of those in positions of power and influence abusing the trust that others have placed in them, one has to wonder what message we’re sending to the next generation; that anything goes once you’ve safely ensconced in your ivory tower. Of course, some like Nassar do pay a price, although removing him from circulation is only for society’s protection, as nothing can ever atone for the violations of his victims’ trust. Others merely fold their tents and move away from the spotlight of public scrutiny, while there are those who sneer at the world, knowing they have sufficient influence and money to buy the silence of any would-be accuser.

    While the latter are more often found in autocratic countries where they know they can game the system with impunity, they also prey in democratic nations when the system of constitutional checks is out of balance. Corruption is often the name of the game, especially when integrity won’t pay the bills of underpaid state servants.

    Integrity, trust, betrayal, these are old, medieval words and perhaps don’t fit in our modern society with its rush to get ahead. Perhaps, though, we should blame our definition of success, which emphasizes attainment of wealth or position of eminence. While those may be seen as some of its trappings, success is the ability to obtain a desired outcome in a manner that it gains the agreement and respect of all concerned, or in shorter terms, puts a smile on everyone’s face.        

    So maybe it’s time to step back from the hustle and bustle of modern life and earn the trust of our children by showing them that we do listen and share their hopes and fears for the future. Success is not how far they climb but earning the respect of others through always acting with integrity in trying to put a smile on everyone’s face; simple old-fashioned values.