Lessons from figure skating: part 03

Lesson Three: Attitude is everything, because the world is watching.

At a competition, skaters have no privacy. Cameras are pointed at them while they warm up, while they perform, while they take their bows, while they come off the ice after their program, and while they wait for their marks in the “kiss and cry” area.

Their every reaction is seen by thousands of people in the arena on the Jumbo Tron, and by millions of others watching on large screen, HD television.

I’ve seen a skater disappointed by her performance, brush by her coach without a word. She sits in the “kiss and cry” with a scowl on her face and buries her face in her hands when the scores are announced.

Another skater comes off the ice all smiles and waving to the crowd. He doesn’t have a chance of standing on the medal podium, but he is exhilarated. He skated a clean program and met all the goals he set for himself. He landed that quadruple toe loop for the first time in competition. Maybe he even scored a season’s personal best.

I know which reaction I prefer to see.

I’m the oldest of four children, and I was often told that I needed to be a good example to my younger sisters and brother. They watched me; they expected me to behave in a certain way.

I am ashamed to admit this, but I once called my mother a bad name. We were having one of those mother-to-teenage-daughter moments, when my temper flared and out it came. Now this confrontation took place in the bedroom that I shared with my younger sister, Pam. She witnessed the entire ugly scene.

The moment that the word escaped my mouth, I knew I was wrong. When Mom left the room, it only got worse. I felt lower than snail slime. That Bible verse about honoring your parents played in my head over and over again. How was I supposed to redeem this situation?

I finally found Mom in the kitchen and apologized for being disrespectful.

When I got back to the bedroom, Pam was sitting on her bed, smirking at me. “I knew you were going to do that.”

How did she know? Because she knew me. She had lived with me and watched me long enough to know how I responded to life situations. She knew that God would convict me of my wrongdoing and tell me to make it right. She expected me to do the right thing. In this instance, I’m thankful that I lived up to her ideals.

The world is watching you too. How will you respond? You are a role model, whether you want to be or not.

“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:16-17 ESV)

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