It is often said that adversity builds character. Although it could be argued that living through adverse situations can refine certain characteristics within a person, adversity does not build character. Adversity actually reveals one’s true character. The most significant recent example of this would be the Penn State University Coach Child Abuse Allegations.
The story, allegations, and reactions are disturbing on so many levels. The allegations of child abuse by a Penn State Coach are sickening. The potential cover-up by the Penn State Coaching staff and/or University Administration is equally as disturbing. But, how much has our society degraded for students to riot and put a sport before the well-being of a child?
A child abuser is a mentally deranged individual. It is unimaginable how they can do what they do. They are predators and should be harshly prosecuted. But what is even more unimaginable is how someone who is aware of a child abuser and hides, protects, and/or ignores a critical damaging situation.
Adversity comes in many different forms. Most people have experienced adversity financially as well as emotionally throughout their life. For those with an autistic family, such as my own, adversity is a daily event in our lives. Does this daily adversity, change a person’s character? No. Can the daily adversity alter a person’s personality? Most definitely. For example, the adversity experienced by most parents of autistic children force them to become a more patient person. Personality may be altered but not necessarily one’s character.
With most highly publicized stories in society, individuals will often imagine themselves in a similar situation (imagine their own reaction). That being said, there is no greater adversity than what is experienced by an abused child. What is most concerning is when individuals have an opportunity immediately stop and/or prevent child abuse and do nothing. It appears in the Penn State University child abuse allegations that an individual witnessed the abuse and did not take immediate action. The adversity experienced by the position this individual found himself did not build his character, but clearly, reveals the true character of the individual when he did not take immediate action.
I could not imagine the horror of witnessing such an event. However, if I witnessed such an event, I am confident that I would find myself in a profound legal situation. It would be difficult to imagine myself not only immediately stopping the abuse and ensuring the child was safe but then beating the man to near death. There is no greater violation than the abuse of a child. As a father, as a man, as a human being…..I could not imagine ever tearing away the innocence of a child.
There is no greater responsibility to our society than ensuring the well-being, protection, and advancement of our children.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.