As I heard Tiger Woods talk about his position as a role model (whether the words were his or scripted by some PR genius), it struck me how this moment would be absorbed by his young audience in particular. Nothing he said was particularly inappropriate -- the speech didn't contain explicit references, and teens know as well as anyone what it means to cheat on a partner.
But in this extraordinary moment, older kids can see what they rarely do in the highly-managed, highly-spun world of pop culture: an idolized superhero in failure mode -- in crisis -- and earnestly trying to make amends. Kids learn more by example than by exhortation, and here I believe they can learn a thing or two, or seven, that wouldn't have the same impact otherwise.
Below, some of Tiger's quotes and their potential impact on young people:
"I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame."
When kids see Tiger accepting all the blame for his actions, they can learn what it means to own their decisions.
"I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me…I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to… I was wrong."
Kids will understand that no one -- not even superstars -- are above the law or above moral accountability.
"It's not what you achieve in life that matters, it is what you overcome... It is up to me to start living a life of integrity."
Kids can learn that failure is a function of being human; that you are ultimately measured by how you respond to it.
"My real apology to [Elin] will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behavior over time."
Kids can learn that true remorse is demonstrated through action, not apologies.
"I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in."
Kids can understand the importance of having a core set of values.
"I will continue to receive help because I have learned that is how people really do change…That also means relying on others for help."
Kids will be encouraged to seek help when they're in physical or emotional trouble.
"When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game... I ask you to find room in your hearts to one day believe in me again."
Kids will be reminded there's always a chance for redemption if you are willing to rehabilitate yourself.