I don't know much about Michael Vick. I admit I am not a sports fan. His reported behavior and abuse of dogs is beyond comprehension. However, I would like to cast the light on his public apology.
Michael Vick's public apology was one of the best --- and one of the first heart-felt apologies --- I've heard by any world leader, public official or celebrity in many years. It took a lot of courage for Michael Vick to stand up and make the admissions he made today on a public stage from his heart. I can't remember seeing such a "true confession" by a celebrity or leader at any level. No excuses. No half-truths. No blaming. His face and eyes and words came across as TRUTH and by doing so, he set a new standard for accepting responsibility for one's mistakes, poor judgment and its implications on the lives of others --- and in this case the lives of innocent animals. Thank you, Michael Vick.
What's been ringing in my ears for days when I've heard the reports on Michael's case is "There but for the Grace of God, go I." The reports that have been the most distressing are the ones with finger-pointers with their mean words thrown out carelessly, blaming, calling him names and yelling in modern day terms, "Crucify him." It makes me wonder about our capacity for compassion for one another. I wonder if those with mean-spirited words for Michael Vick have examined their on lives lately? Or if any of them have ever stood up publically with such courage?
Every time I've thought about his mom and family, or imagined how devastating it must be for him to wake up in the morning, knowing he has demolished at least temporarily a pretty remarkable life with promise that he had going --- all in the name of momentary power and few poor decisions, because he could. It makes my heart ache for him.
"There but for the Grace of God, go I."
Inspired by following Michael Vick's story in the distance, Bay Area artist, Sally K. Green, traced the history of this famous quote that we hear so often and discovered it was said by John Bradford in a moment of compassion for someone else in the year circa 1555. She painted a painting of John Bradford today with the story to remind us to have compassion for others in the human family in distress.
Go see the painting and story.
MICHAEL VICK IN CONTRAST TO OUR LEADERS
It is interesting to contrast of Michael Vick's courageous apology with that of the lawyer written apologies, half-hearted apologies, or non-existent apologies of our most powerful leaders of the world.
As an example, Desmond TuTu commented sometime back on the value of saying we are sorry and the BIGNESS it takes to do so. He shared his perspective related to George Bush's and Tony Blair's inability to make amends for their blunders in the Iraq War. Desmond TuTu shared his comments several years ago --- the war rages on with no end in sight --- and no apology or admission of wrong doing. One must note that there are far bigger implications and costs in lives of people, soldiers, and animals in their mistakes, as well as destruction of infrastructure, fraud, displacing millions of people from their homes, misappropriation of public funds, abuses to our fellow citizens, lies and poor judgment. But rumor has it that they won't be either accepting, or be held to any such accountability as Michael Vick is called to do. This is certainly a clear example of a double standard laws of our broken society and governments.
INSIGHTS FROM DESMOND TUTU
"How wonderful if politicians could bring themselves to admit they are only fallible human creatures and not God and thus by definition can make mistakes. Unfortunately, they seem to think that such an admission is a sign of weakness. Weak and insecure people hardly ever say 'sorry'.
"It is large-hearted and courageous people who are not diminished by saying: 'I made a mistake'.
...We've seen it at home in South Africa in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission when people who had made, I mean, perpetrated some of the most ghastly atrocities say, "Sorry." It has an incredible capacity to change the dynamics of a situation. Well, those of us who are married know just how difficult it is. It is the most difficult set of words to say in any language. I find it difficult to say it in the privacy of our bedroom, to say, "Sorry, darling, I -- yes, I'm sorry." But what it can accomplish. You say sorry. It pours balm. We've seen it do that. A country that should have gone up in flames, South Africa, was saved by the fact that people were ready to forgive, and people were ready to say, "Sorry." That would be the first step."
FORGIVENESS for Michael:
"There but for the Grace of God, go I."
What has really touched me about this case with Michael Vick has been watching how easily we can fall from Grace. A few wrong turns and we've ruined our reputation, lost our careers, disappointed those who looked to us for leadership, left our mothers heart-broken and left a long and winding road to walk to reach redemption. It is one of those times, when you think of many temptations in your own life that could have so easily led you down a life-altering road and it makes it easy to say, "There but for the Grace of God, go I."
To Michael Vick --- Thank for your leadership today. It was refreshing. I forgive you. I look up to you for setting an example for us all in how to say we are sorry.
Founder, Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Companies