Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lessons From Penn State

Lessons From Penn State                                                                 

Originally posted as an editorial comment in Horse Directory, December, 2011

By Tom Gumbrecht

 Surely every human being not totally isolated from the outside world has experienced some kind of strong reaction to the recent sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University.
For most it may be outrage, disgrace, or disgust. Some may experience the pain of reopening old wounds from their own childhood. For many it might be fear of the unspeakable happening to their own children.

We involved in equine sport can perceive ourselves to exist as somewhat of an island amidst the sea of other athletic pursuits. But are we in fact exempt from human failings? When a young person finds a connection with a horse, a passion can be unlocked which is often life-changing. Those who work with our children can be thought of, often rightly, as facilitators of miracles, by student and parent alike. 

We are fortunate to be able to provide our children exposure to a sport that is full of wonderful people dedicated to creating a rewarding and positive experience for them. To bear witness to the process is inspiring, joyful and fulfilling.

To that, we add vigilance. As parents, it's our job to create an environment in which a child feels it is safe to tell us if someone they trust has done something to make them or someone they know, uncomfortable...even a miracle worker.

Hopefully, the lesson of Penn State will be that no one is beyond reproach.

Thomas Gumbrecht
Fort Salonga, NY

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