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Lance Armstrong and Gary Kasparov: Explaining heroes to your child

Lance Armstrong and Gary Kasparov: A mom has to pick up the pieces in explaining the bad breaks for her children's heroes in the past week.

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"I don't understand," said son Ian, 17, who cycles and along with all of us has sat glued to the TV during Tour de France time each year since he could sit. "Is Armstrong admitting he doped?" To take no action is an action, some say.

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My husband hopped on at that point, saying something that made me cringe, "I don't care. Lance Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles and every one was a feat of strength, endurance, and amazing to watch."

Uh-oh! Now Mom's on quicksand in the parenting department.

Ian quickly took up the beat of that drum announcing, "Exactly! So what if he doped!"

NO! Flag on the play. Parents back in the huddle. We do not support doping or cheating.

However, we also don't support agencies that cheat by making rules of engagement for self-defense impossible to follow and your innocence an unwinnable prize either. We don't support governments, foreign or domestic, that take away people's right to free speech, be it on the steps of a courthouse or courtroom.

The International Cycling Union has opposed the anti-doping actions by claiming it has jurisdiction. That position has been recently backed by USA Cycling, the official cycling organization recognized by the US Olympic Committee.

As a parent, I am telling my sons to keep believing in their heroes, even when their heroes show signs of not believing in themselves.

I am forced to teach them that governments and their agents can and do lie and hurt people who are innocent. Thanks to Mr. Putin, I got to tell my sons how great it is to be an American. Thanks to the USADA, I was forced to tell my children that sometimes our government (or in this case quasi-government) is not much better than Putin's at being fair.

In the end, I told them to believe that truth will out, sooner or later and meanwhile we have to keep believing in due process, fairness, and standing up for yourself and for those who can't stand for themselves.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs.


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