The problem with public role models is that we tend quickly throw people into categories of role model, not role model. But when we break it down, the problem with idealizing or idolizing people is that they are just that, people, and people make mistakes. Let’s clarify this…for the kids. Charles Barkley said it best. Parents should raise their kids.
For example honest Abraham Lincoln was a really great guy, right? He freed black American slaves! While Abraham Lincoln did sign the emancipation proclamation, but he didn’t think that blacks and whites should be equal. http://www.history.com/news/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-lincoln-slavery-and-emancipation. When he gets a whole federal holiday (that he shares with another president) I’m sort of baffled. Which Abe are we celebrating?
As a more contemporary example we have Bill Cosby. He is a funny comedian and I crowded around the TV with my family to watch “The Cosby Show” and later “A Different World” but now it seems that he was probably sexually assaulting women. Cosby also recently spoke up about black Americans taking responsibility for creating healthy families and apparently has a magnificent collection of African art that’s now on display at the National Museum of African Art. See what I mean?
Other entertainers with questionable personal lives are R. Kelly and the late Michael Jackson who may or may not have had sexual relations which underage kids. But man, both of them could sing.
How about athletes? Most people now believe that OJ Simpson killed his wife or Mike Tyson, who is a rapist AND who bit another man’s ear off! Apparently Michael Jordan had quite the gambling problem (according to http://bleacherreport.com/articles/423366-do-not-confuse-greatness-with-class-why-jordan-should-shut-his-mouth). But all of these men were at the top of their game at one point in time.
Here’s what I’m proposing. Let’s ditch public role models. Instead let’s focus on the good qualities that each one of us possesses. Let’s turn off the TV and internet and bring it home.