Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Season

"This marriage has been interrupted to bring you the basketball season."
"A basketball fan lives here...with the best woman he ever courted."
These are just two of the clever signs and plaques we've had hanging in our house over the years.  I've learned not to roll my eyes at such things, but simply smile and say, 'thank-you.'  There's also a story of Beve moving into the first place he lived after college, with one good friend, and one brand new roommate he only met that day.  Right after meeting the new roommate, who volunteered to help unload Beve's car, Beve reached into the back seat, pullled out his basketball, spun it on his finger, off his head, and said, "First things, first!"  The new roommate, a quite un-athletic young man, was pretty horrified. Amazingly, they survived that meeting, and MW was actually the best man at our wedding.

But we are knee-deep in basketball season, well on the way to 'March Madness', which everyone knows is the MOST important season of the year, probably should be a national holiday, if you ask Beve and our older two kids, and many--many!--college-students around this country, their faces painted, their legs bouncing on bleachers, their voices raised in fevered pitches for their teams.  At our house, the TV's turned to hoops every possible moment, especially on week-ends.  And...well, I'm just fortunate I grew up liking sports as much as I did.  If not, it would be mighty lonely for me this time of year.

This afternoon, as I sat knitting in front of the Washington-Arizona State game, there was a John Wooden memorial moment, as there is during each half-time at every Pac-10 basketball game this year.  Always a little story about 'Coach's' brilliant career, then a quote from his lexicon.  Today's quote was: "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

This is such a basic idea.  But so often we mistake one for the other.  I think of all the times parents talk to their children about reputation.  "You don't want people to think you're..." Or, "What you do won't reflect well on me.  It will hurt my reputation."  Neither of these are the critical issues when we are dealing with/raising our children to be adults with morals and ethics.  We want them to be people who choose rightly whether anyone knows or sees at all.  If we only care about what they do when others see them, we're practically asking them to merely be superficially good.  Or, to put it bluntly, to not get caught.  However, if--as John Wooden suggested--we care about character, we care about choices we make, or our children make when no one can see them at all.  Or even when the right choices are misunderstood.  Yes, even then.

This reminds me (of course) of when God sent Samuel to find His new king from among the sons of Jesse.  Samuel looked at the oldest, Eliab, and thought, "Surely this is the Lord's annointed."  But God told him, "Don't consider the outward appearance--for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things human beings look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."  (1 Samuel 16: 6-7)

It's a good day when such a strong word can come straight from the middle of a basketball game.  Character versus reputation.  One is the heart, the other only appearance.

Now excuse me, Oregon vs. OSU is on. 
But let me ask you one thing:  if you could only have one--which would you choose, reputation or character? 

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