And with the final fanfare this evening, the flame is extinguished, and another Olympic adventure comes to a close. I’ll admit – I’m captivated by the pageantry, pride, thrill of victory, and yes, agony of defeat of the games. My heart skipped a beat on several occasions when competitors had unfortunate falls. And I know I was not alone – I could feel the collective gasps of onlookers around the globe when tragedy struck. Teammates and rivals, for a brief moment, forgot about allegiances or winning and losing, and instinctively offered support out of concern and human kindness. Empathy trumping all.
That’s the lesson I’ll take away from these games – empathy trumping all. I can’t speak for others, but I know sometimes I get so focused on my own agenda, I forget the “competitors” are really on my team, doing the best able given mounting frustrations and concerns. I also forget how my words and actions sometimes do more to divide us than unite, unintentionally fanning the flame when I should be working to extinguish it.
This week, try to remember family, colleagues, students and parents, friends and strangers are all on the same team. And the more we are able to approach every situation with a bit more empathy and understanding, the easier it will be to come together in a healthy way. Spring Break is on the horizon, and tensions are high – in schools, in homes, in the nation. So, when faced with conflict, take a deep breath and look for the common ground.