As we approach the World Cup (go Socceroos!), I have been thinking a lot about values. I know that is terribly Conservative of me, but there you go - I must be getting old.
What have old-fashioned values got to do with football? Well, a lot, as it happens. Even the very best, most famous and most highly respected football players in the world these days will dive to the ground and scream for penalties which they know are not justified. Whenever a ball goes out of the field, players on both sides raise their hands in the air and demand possession for their team, even if they know perfectly well that possession should go to the other team. In days long gone, such behaviour would have been unthinkable. Today it is expected.
It's not just football, of course - all professional sports are now the same. Indeed, athletes who do not behave in this way risk the ire of their managers and fans. Maradonna's famous "hand of God" goal is probably the most glaring example of this malaise: yet even the English fans got over their initial outrage and eventually decided that it was "a fair cop" since they would have been happy if their own players did the same thing and got away with it.
When I watch my two boys (aged 8 and 9) playing sport and games, they frequently argue about such things.
"The ball was in!" "No, it was out!"What I notice is how quickly and easily children can trick themselves into believing the lie they are telling, simply because they repeat it long enough and they really, really WANT it to be true.
"In!" "Out!"I expend a lot of time and energy trying to teach them that this is not OK. The truth is important, I teach them. Indeed, if you profess to live a Christian life, or anything like it (across every major faith on earth), then the truth is all-important:
I am the way, the truth and the light.Western civilisation is built on supposedly Christian values, but we are nowadays drifting far from what we still claim to believe.
More on this later...
PS: I am going on holidays for a week. Y'all just chat amongst yourselves...