The time is now
Conner is starting his final fall semester of college and will essentially be done with his degree at the end of this semester. The spring will bring his capstone class, graduation and the start of being fully on his own.
It is the dream of every parent for their child to grow up and exceed the life they have lived. We want our children to have an amazing life with a good job, a loving family, financial success, adventure, service to the community and a heart for God.
I grew up without strong dreams for all of these things and yet somehow ended up blessed to have much of them. Could I have done more and could I have been more? Absolutely! Nonetheless, we have done our best to live our lives as a positive example for our son and fully expect that he will move on to excel in his own way on his own journey.
The path to this point has not come without adversity. Conner is a survivor after having experienced the great trama of his cliff accident his senior year of high school. The scars of that time and the rods in his back will stay with him as a reminder that he is different. He is a miracle to be here. The blessing to have survived comes with a positive burden. It will serve him as a reminder of the frailty of life and the responsibility to live it with gusto. Thankfully, I know he understands this burden and will use his story to stay strong and to inspire others.
The truth is that the vast majority of people take the easy path and chose to be average. Being different is hard. It kind of sucks at times to skip the shiny object and instead stay out of debt while saving for a reward that is 20+ years away. It sucks at times to work the extra hours and put in the extra effort when others are just skating by and are getting the same benefits. It sucks at times to pass up time on the couch and instead hit the gym. It sucks at times to spend a day in service of others when instead you could be hanging out and just relaxing. It sucks at times to spend hours a week on your own learning in an effort to grow as a person.
Everything worth having and everything that leads to excellence takes effort and time.
For Conner, we have seen the positive desire to do the work, give the service, and live with a long term mindset during these college years. We have no doubt that his future will have many challenges and opportunities. We also have no doubt that he has the talent and the drive to make his dreams come true and live to the potential that has been intended by God.
I am so very thankful for this moment and for the blessing of being a father to an amazing son and a husband to an amazing wife.
The time is now and the future is bright.
With so many fallen heroes around us it would be easy to become embittered and think our world lacks people of character who live more for others than for themselves. My observation is just the opposite with Luke N. as a mighty example.
|Luke in 2012
Luke embodies everything that is positive about the Livestrong.org movement. He is only a teen and yet inspired by Livestrong.org and the Lance Armstrong story he has raised thousands of dollars over the years to fight cancer and he has grown to be one of the top young cyclists in the state of Oklahoma. His speed is powered as much by a passion to help others as it is by the countless hours of training and racing.
Luke rides for me and Luke rides for the millions of others like me that have been impacted by cancer. He has even gone so far as to found his own fundraising ride that will grow even larger next year I am sure .
Thank you Luke for who you are and for all that you are doing for the good of others. Stay inspired, ride fast and most of all—Livestrong!
Would you like to learn more about Luke and support his continuing fight against cancer? Check out his blog site and his Luke’s5Line site.
|With Lance in 1999
Finally I have come to openly accept that Lance Armstrong cheated during his reign as the Tour De France champion and as the allegations spread over the years he engaged in a fierce campaign of denial to protect his reputation, his legacy and his foundation. Whew that hurts to write yet at the same time also feels good to face the truth openly.
There is a big part of me that did not want to ever admit to what happened. Deep inside I wanted to him to remain on the pedestal his legend created. After all, Lance and I did go through our cancer experiences around the same time. I even met him in person back in 1999 as I too was working on my personal comeback from cancer to start a life changed forever by the experience. Like millions of others, I wore the bracelet and felt inspired as he won tour after tour. Most of all, I saw firsthand the inspiration and good work that would become Livestrong.org.
Now thanks to piles of undeniable evidence my one time hero has fallen and my defense for him has come to an end. I want to believe that he did not do it. I want to believe that it was not all just a lie. I want to believe Lance was a product of his cancer experience not of a sophisticated marketing machine. I want to believe that no man could look a balding child of cancer in the eye and lie. I want to believe in the Lance Armstrong that inspired so many people to do more and so many survivors to Livestrong.
Unfortunately the facts far exceed the want of my heart.
Wish I could sit down one on one with Lance and ask him to tell the truth but I am not sure even he knows what that truth is anymore. Lies are like that. We sometimes tell them so often and with so much passion that we grow to believe them ourselves. The hole becomes so deep that there is just no way to crawl out of the darkness that has enveloped us into the light of truth. This is especially true when the lie of the moment seems to be helping others be better and to do more.
Like with his return from cancer, Lance once again is in a position to show courage and move to the front of life as an inspiration to others. He can do this by admitting he indeed is human like the rest of us and he made a mistake. We are so used to people on pedestals falling that I know most would find forgiveness for him.
Lance—Show your courage again and just tell the truth. Only then can you move forward continue to help the millions of people that look to you for inspiration. Be human and you will be forgiven.
Meanwhile, I will keep on surviving and striving to remember the lessons cancer taught me. I will press forward and I will strive to Livestrong.
Does it matter to you that Lance and his team led a complex system of cheating?
Do you think he should admit the truth?
Do you think the 1,000 pages of evidence are still not enough to convince you that he doped?