Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Apology Series

I wanted to make a post of links to all the apology analysis for future use. This series focused on the strengths and weaknesses of word choices in celebrity apologies. Analysis of body language, tone, and future behavior would be necessary to fill out this study of apologies.

Marks of a Bad Apology
Marks of a Good Apology

Monday, February 22, 2010

Apology 5 (Amended)

As I'm sure you've all heard, Tiger Woods made a lengthy public apology the other day on television. Now, the public apology is a strange thing (after all, it's not really the public that are owed an apology!), but these famous statements do allow us to analyze the differences b/w a good and a bad apology (and that was the point of my previous series). So here is Tiger's official apology:

Good morning. And thank you for joining me.

Many of you in the room are my friends. Many of you in this room know me. Many of you have cheered for me, or worked with me, or supported me, and now, every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply, and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.

I know people want to find out how I could be so selfish and so foolish. People want to know how I could have done these things to my wife, Elin, and to my children. And while I have always tried to be a private person, there are some things I want to say.

Elin and I have started the process of discussing the damage caused by my behavior. As she pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behavior over time. We have a lot to discuss. However, what we say to each other will remain between the two of us.

I am also aware of the pain my behavior has caused to those of you in this room. I have let you down. I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behavior has been a personal disappointment. To those of you who work for me, I have let you down, personally and professionally. My behavior has caused considerable worry to my business partners.

To everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors, and most importantly, the young students we reach, our work is more important than ever. Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the Learning Center students in Southern California, to the Earl Woods Scholars in Washington, D.C., millions of kids have changed their lives, and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.

But, still, I know I have severely disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for.

But there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. She never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage. Ever.

Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame. The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in.

I knew my actions were wrong. But I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have far -- didn't have to go far to find them.

I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.

I've had a lot of time to think about what I have done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It is now up to me to make amends. And that starts by never repeating the mistakes I have made. It is up to me to start living a life of integrity.

I once heard -- and I believe it is true -- it's not what you achieve in life that matters, it is what you overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really count. Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all of those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.

It is hard to admit that I need help. But I do. For 45 days, from the end of December to early February, I was in inpatient therapy, receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long way to go. But I've taken my first steps in the right direction.

As I proceed, I understand people have questions. I understand the press wants me to -- to ask me for the details of the times I was unfaithful. I understand people want to know whether Elin and I will remain together. Please know that as far as I'm concerned, every one of these questions and answers is a matter between Elin and me. These are issues between a husband and a wife.

Some people have made up things that never happened. They said I used performance-enhancing drugs. This is completely and utterly false.

Some have written things about my family. Despite the damage I have done, I still believe it is right to shield my family from the public spotlight. They did not do these things. I did. I have always tried to maintain a private space for my wife and children. They have been kept separate from my sponsors, my commercial endorsements, when my children were born, we only released photographs so they ... so that the paparazzi could not chase them.

However, my behavior doesn't make it right for the media to follow my 2½-year-old daughter to school and report the school's location. They staked out my wife and pursued my mom. Whatever my wrongdoings, for the sake of my family, please leave my wife and kids alone.

I recognize I have brought this on myself. And I know above all I am the one who needs to change. I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That is where my focus will be. I have a lot of work to do. And I intend to dedicate myself to doing it.

Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.

As I move forward, I will continue to receive help because I have learned that is how people really do change. Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy.

I would like to thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week for understanding why I am making this -- these remarks today. In therapy, I have learned that looking at -- the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centered so I can save the things that are most important to me: my marriage and my children.

That also means relying on others for help. I have learned to seek support from my peers in therapy, and I hope someday to return that support to others who are seeking help.

I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don't know when that day will be. I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.

In recent weeks, I have received many thousands of e-mails, letters and phone calls from people expressing good wishes. To everyone who has reached out to me and my family, thank you. Your encouragement means the world to Elin and me. I want to thank the PGA Tour, Commissioner [Tim] Finchem and the players for their patience and understanding while I work on my private life. I look forward to seeing my fellow players on the course.

Finally, there are many people in this room and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your hearts to one day believe in me again. Thank you.

The Good
- Takes complete responsibility
- Expresses remorse
- Uses strong language
- Recognizes words aren't enough
- Clears Elin of wrongdoing
- Recognizes fallen spiritual condition

The Bad

The Questionable
- Comment on PHD's unnecessary in context
- Quite lengthy (militates against plea for action)

Previous Grade: C
New Grade: A-

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Miller Time!

I'm still a Wesleyan, but that was quite a hockey game!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Road to Find Out

I'm going to recommend a downloadable radio show: The Road to Find Out w/host Steve Gregg. Steve is a Christian asking for non-Christians to call in and share their spiritual journeys, criticisms, etc. It's a good chance to learn about other world views and to observe what truly friendly and meaningful dialogue looks like.

2009 Episodes (10)
2010 Episodes (7)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

1500th Post

It's true. This is the 1,500th post on this blog. To celebrate I'll give 1,500 bullet points on recent happenings of my life.

1. This weekend I am home alone. Katie went to snow-camp with the teens.

2. I ran errands all by myself this morning. I felt very grown up until I cooked a frozen pizza with the cardboard bottom still on it.

3. I prepared a sermon on the rich young ruler. I admit I don't quite understand parts of that story.

4. The Sabres are really struggling right now.

5. My oldest sister will be having her 3rd baby boy any day now.

6. I predict the Saints will beat the Colts 37-35.

7. I also predict the Colts will beat the Saints 31-30.

8. I'm teaching a Sunday School class tomorrow on how sports can and has become an idol in our culture. Super Bowl Sunday is considered sacred.

9. Even this post has 3 bullet points about sports and only 2 about Christianity. For shame.

10. I'm going to stop at 10 instead of 1500. Goodnight!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Perfect Apology

After looked at a bunch of famous apologies and learning how NOT to apologize, we should be ready to make some sound statements about the characteristics of good apologies...

1. A good apology uses strong language in describing the sin being repented of. This shows that the repenting party is taking their sin seriously. It wasn't an accident or a mistake. It was a sin.

2. A good apology focuses on the personal nature of the sin. Even if other people were involved, a personal apology is about the individual person. A good apology doesn't focus on other people's role in the sin or the aftermath.

3. A good apology is usually short. I say this for two reasons. First, long apologies, by the nature of their length, usually include some excuses and attempted justifications for the sin(s). Second, a short apology suggests that the person knows that words are not enough to make the situation right (a change of behavior couples a genuine apology).

4. A good apology isn't motivated by a desire to avoid all the consequences to the sin. Someone who is genuinely repentant is willing to take on the consequences if need be. They may even insist on them because they know they need help to change.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Apology Principles

I've spent a peculiar amount of time analyzing apologies recently on this blog. Why? In large part, I did this because the nature of genuine repentance is one of the greatest themes of my life and ministry. Genuine repentance is vital to the initiation and continuation of the Christian life. So what has been learned by looking at numerous examples of various apologies? Today I will list what I've learned is the mark of a bad apology:

Marks of a BAD apology

1. A bad apology is late in arriving. Any apology that is initiated by the evidence rather than the guilty party is (and should be) automatically suspect. A time-gap between the sin and the apology probably means that conviction has been rejected and excuses/justifications have already been made. This leads to a 'sorry I got caught' mentality more readily than a genuinely repentant mindset.

2. A bad apology casts blame on others in addition to accepting some of the blame (if all blame is cast on others, it's simply NOT an apology). The more blame is cast on others, the worse the apology really is.

3. A bad apology changes the subject. I noticed that in many of the celebrity apologies the subject change was from the offense to the problem of media in America. Often the subject change is directed toward the person or people who exposed the sin.

4. A bad apology uses bland wording. Words like sin give way to words like mistake and accident (and countless other examples).

5. A bad apology claims pure motives for the sinful decision (or the decision to not repent sooner).

6. A bad apology compares the sin in question favorably against general human depravity. What was done was wrong, but it wasn't a very big deal in the grand scheme of things.