Thursday, November 14, 2013

Public Figures, Role Models, and the Rules

Here in my home town, we bleed Red!  It's Chiefs Nation....NFL football is a big deal in our is MLB (specifically the Royals :)).  We live just aways east of Kansas City.  In my life times three major crimes have been committed by Chiefs players that I can recall.  Derrik Thomas wasn't wearing his seatbelt, got in a car accident and he lost his life in the prime of his football career.  Last year a player, in a fit of rage, killed his child's mother, drove to our stadium and took is own life.  Just a few days ago the beloved D. Bowe was caught speeding and had marijuana on his person.  Currently charges are pending against the football player and no action has been taken by the NFL or the Chiefs team.  Our head coach released a statement that he would be following the rules and nothing would happen until the case was closed and D. Bowe was either found guilty or not.

All of the news channels and their FB pages here, the story of a player being caught smoking weed and speeding is being shared and shared.  As a parent of football players who are still learning the ropes of life and member of the Chiefs Nation....I have found it very strange that the comments that have been left behind on the news stations web pages and their FB pages in regards to this matter.  There are a lot of "it's not a big deal, it's only pot" comments, some "he's a role model, he should have made better choices" and the reasoning for this post, comments in regards to "children shouldn't have famous people as their role models, only their parents."  Some of these comments have gone so far as to state that parents who allow their children to have role models outside of the child's parents are not doing their job correctly and should be ashamed and are raising the next generation of bad decision makers.

I wanted to share my take on this topic, who we "allow" our children to view as role models.  I think it starts with defining the term.  For me, as a parent, role model is a person who another person, typically younger and smaller, models behavior and decision making processes off of.  From where my child stands, it's a person that the child aspires to be like as an adult.  In no way shape or form can I control who my child deems to be a role model for them.  In my opinion, if your child doesn't have several role models to choose from, then you are not doing your job right!  My children will have a larger toolbox to use as adults because they will have witnessed the decisions, both good and bad, of people they love and care about and of people they want to be like when they grow up.

In my house, we don't do a lot of news watching.  There are too many sad and dumb things shared with the public that I just don't have the desire to have my children be exposed to.  However, my fiance and I catch up on the news via our local news aps and FB pages.  I pick and choose what information to share with my children, afterall, they get the world news at school (despite my dislike of such a thing as CNN student news).  As a Chiefs fans and the mother of one of Bowe's fans, this "news" was something I decided to share with my boys.  They needed to know that their favorite players, the guys they want to play exactly like when they get older, do in fact make stupid choices.  We did the same thing when Vick got into trouble.  What I loved most about Vick's story was the end result.  Vick did his time and paid the price.  He also made right by it and returned to the field.  This let my children know that a very bad choice has the potential to ruin your dreams, but if you are truly sorry and do what is needed to make it right, you can come back from that.  Bowe made a stupid choice, one that he will have to face up to at his court date.  It was important to me that my children see that he will have to answer for that choice.  

I want my children to have many role models in their lives.  Their teachers, coaches, classmates, older siblings, aunts, uncles, favorite TV star, and favorite football players alike are all good choices.  They all live different lives than I do.  They will show my children the right and wrong ways to handle the issues in their own lives as well as the right and wrong ways to be a good person.  I spend much time showing my children how the people they hold dear to their hearts make good and bad choices.  It is important to me that they understand what it means to be human.  I am lucky that my children practice making good choices and have chosen decent people to look up to so far. Role models are only a bad idea if there is not someone in the child's life showing them where that role model is doing good and where he or she is making mistakes.

This storm of claiming parents are not doing their jobs if their child or children have role models outside of the home is just breath-taking.  We will never parent our children the same as the next person....but for the love of them all, shouldn't we spend more time raising our own then putting down other parents?  It is our job as a community to support one another.  Offer advice when it is asked for, pick up the slack when it is needed, and do your job with your own children...ensure our future can be well trusted in their hands!

I would LOVE to hear your opinion on role models and children....maybe some experiences you've had with your kids and their role models...good or bad.  When we share our experiences with each other...we are giving our children a better chance.....with educated parents!

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