By Ming Huang
Often, people who grow up in a certain environment can end up on the complete opposite side of society as adults. You can probably think of numerous examples, where in the same family, one child becomes a successful businessman, while another becomes a struggling drug addict. The logical question to ask next is, why? Paulo Coelho, the world renowned Brazilian novelist, once said, “If you conquer yourself, then you conquer the world.” Our lives are determined by the choices and decisions we make on a daily basis. The ability to exercise self-control is arguably the most important skill one can possess. Self-control is easily learned, but challenging to execute consistently. Importantly, it is something none of us are above. A homeless drug addict struggles with self-control, but so does the multimillionaire soccer player.
Recently, Adam Johnson, a famous English international football player, plead guilty to some of the child sex charges brought against him. The former Manchester City and Sunderland winger met his 15-year old female victim on the internet in early 2015, and the two proceeded to exchange numbers. Johnson has admitted to grooming his victim over the next few weeks, when he essentially offered signed souvenirs in exchange for sexual favors. While he previously denied all the charges upon his initial arrest on March 2, it remains unclear exactly what physical acts were performed. In court, Johnson has confessed to kissing and grooming the girl, and more information could be forthcoming. Police have discovered several text messages between the two, including a graphic picture of Johnson’s private parts on his phone, which confirmed prior speculation regarding the nature of their relationship. While the trial has been going on for several days now, the celebrity figure at the center ensures it will only get more interesting.
Hiding amongst the media drama surrounding Johnson’s disgusting act is the true moral of the story. Namely, the paradox that a successful athlete with everything he wants in the world, could end up in such a miserable situation. Johnson has voiced several times since his arrest that he is, “horribly sorry,” and feels like a, “terrible person”. In fact, it was reported that he told Margaret Byrne, the Chief Executive Officer of Sunderland, months ago that he had, “made a terrible mistake”. Feeling guilt and regret over his actions will certainly not do Johnson any good for his future, but it will provide him with a little more sympathy from the public. It is fair to conclude, based on everything we know about him, that Adam Johnson is probably not a monster. Rather, like many of us, he lacked daily lacked self-control during a certain stage of his life, and made regrettable choices he will have to live with. However, it goes without saying that the severity of his crime goes far beyond what we encounter on a daily basis in regards to self-control, and he deserves whatever punishment he is given. In conclusion, perhaps as an extension to Paulo Coelho’s thought, we can observe that, “If you lack the ability to conquer yourself, then the world will conquer you.” Make smarter decisions, people!