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Lifelong Learning - Feeding the Wolf (September 2014)
By: Dr. Lu Sweet
Lately I've been "watching" as many people have been expressing opinions and taking sides on several different current issues they are passionate about.
It has reminded me of a story I heard once. It goes something like this: One evening an old Indian man told his grandson about the battle that happens inside of an individual. He said that inside each of us, there is a battle between two wolves.
One wolf is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other wolf is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
After hearing this from his grandfather, the grandson asked his grandfather which wolf wins out. And to this the old man simply replied, "The one you feed."
I love this story. It reminds me that I really only need to be concerned with controlling myself. I cannot control others nor should I want to. I need to do what's right and good and be able to look in the mirror and tell myself that I did the best I could on this particular day. I need to be okay with the fact that I am going to make many mistakes in a day, even though I didn't make them on purpose, nor did I intentionally tried to gain an advantage at someone else's expense. And, I can't worry if others are behaving poorly-I can't. Ultimately , it's up to them to feed their wolf.
As an educator and coach, I've tried to explain to and model to my children, my students and my athletes that it isn't okay to hurt someone or put someone else down in order to feel better about yourself. It's perfectly acceptable to tell an opponent "nice play" when they make one, or help them up if they have fallen. It doesn't mean that you're not going to be giving 100% in an attempt to beat them on the field, court or mat. It does mean that the spirit of the game stays intact.
Before every home contest at Western, we read the following message: Region 9 encourages and promotes sportsmanship by student-athletes, coaches and spectators. Profanity, racial or ethnic comments, or other intimidating actions directed at officials, student-athletes, coaches or team representatives will not be tolerated and are grounds for removal from the site of competition.
Last weekend the WWCC soccer teams hosted Sheridan College. While watching the game, it looked as though one of the men's players was heading for a goal opportunity. My oldest daughter is friends with this young man and of course, she was excited and started cheering for him. A few seconds later, a Sheridan player came out of nowhere and made a legal tackle, preventing the score. My daughter cheered for him as well. He happened to be my nephew, but even if he hadn't been, it was a good play.
I honestly believe that some people feel that if they come to watch an athletic contest, they are entitled to say or do anything they want to. I disagree. I think it the obligation of fans to cheer for their own teams but never against opponents. I feel the same when it comes to endorsing candidates in an election, or when we are to teach our children about being nice to others. I tell my children that the old adage "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" really will take them far in life.
There are plenty of things in life we cannot control: we can't always control our health, our livelihood, or others around us, but we can definitely control ourselves and it is our obligation to do so. Here's to you and yours. I encourage us all to make it a daily priority to feed the right wolf.
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