Forgiving adults who cheat to win

By Justin Henney
Reader Contributor

Each year I am reminded by others’ resolutions that I too can put effort into self improvement. My youngest daughter, Vi, age 7, helps me by pointing out my lack of portion control with ice cream. My other daughter, Adeline, 12, improves me with feedback on my apparently poor listening skills, while my beautiful wife helps improve me by redirecting me toward chores during chore time when I “occasionally” get off task. I say these things in some jest, but my family really does help me stay in line. There is one glaring area I continually struggle with, however: forgiving adults who cheat to win.

I find it incredibly difficult to accept and forgive adults who cheat or lie to get ahead. Years ago I was in a bike race. It was over 100 miles, and I was riding with the lead group. A super competitive rider told the group we should all pull over at the next break area for a two-minute stop to use the bathroom and refuel. We all agreed. Tacitly we were all agreeing to continue riding as a group after the pee break when we stopped. While four of us were using the restrooms, super competitor (or “Phantom Pisser,” as I now refer to him) took off on his bike with another guy, most likely not even using the facilities. He did not say a word and was a half-mile down the road when we realized he was gone and we’d all been deceived. The Phantom ended up winning the race but did so dishonestly. While I respect him for his determination and abilities, his strategy gives road cyclists, or roadies, a really bad reputation.

This time of year I find myself working on forgiving those like the Phantom because it feels much better than holding resentments. When I heard the Phantom telling a group of cyclists after the race about how he dropped the guy who came in second place, with no mention of how he basically lied to the rest of the group he had been with, I remember telling myself, “You can’t control what others do, only what you do yourself,” and that cheating usually comes back around to bite the cheaters in the ass at some point in life.

Our current president — whose name I don’t like saying or hearing and whose photos almost make me ill — is the deceiver in chief who appears to lie and cheat his wife and others. And this is according to members of his own party and independents. When I challenge myself to say something accepting and positive about this man, it is this: He was a kind baby and toddler.

He isn’t a bad Republican who used to be a bad Democrat. He is simply a bad person, and I am so ashamed he is our president. He makes so many things seem acceptable simply because he continues to be our president. Young boys hear the things he says about and likely has done to women, and they consciously or subconsciously think this is alright in our society since he is still president. I never thought I would long for the days of George W., but he wasn’t a racist, sexist creep, as this president is proving himself to be.

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