The Penn State Scandal: Why We Always Need to Do the Right Thing

Posted November 18, 2011 by

The infuriating events at Penn State bring me to my #1 rule of parenting, which is Do the Right Thing. Others have called what has happened at Penn State sad. I call it infuriating. It is infuriating because I am left feeling equal parts anger and frustration. The frustrating part is that the adults in charge acted, as commentator Jay Bilas said, as a conspiracy of cowards. All those who had the chance to step up and do the right thing did not. They did the easy thing, and the results of their poor decisions are there for all to see.

The great thing about doing the right thing is everyone knows what that is,  every time. Whether it is a simple decision or a tough one, we always know what the correct thing to do is, as opposed to the easy thing. For those leaders at Penn State now disgraced, it would have taken some courage and acceptance that doing the right thing was going to stir up a beehive, but it was still what needed to be done. Instead, they chose the easy thing.

The lesson is that when you Do the Right Thing, there is no choice, because making the wrong decision is always painful.


John McPherson is a leadership and management consultant in Salinas, CA. John and his wife Christina have two children, Fiona and Carson. Both John and Christina’s parents had a great influence in their upbringing, which helped them define how they would parent their children. Over the past ten years, John observed how many parenting practices have strayed from the principles he and Christina have found to be successful, and this led him to write a book on parenting, entitled "Ten Simple Rules for Being a Parent in a World Turned Upside Down".

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