Charles Barkley once told parents that he is not a role model. If they wanted a role model for their kid, then they should be that role model. I have mixed emotions about this.
That was a statement that I heard repeated this week on sports radio. The concept of athletes and celebrities as heroes is something that needs to be evaluated by parents and caring adults. Should we have heroes that consistently and pervasively cheat for years, then bully others to keep their reputation untarnished? Should we be fine with all their lies? Or should we have heroes that have some sort of internet/ fake/ catfished girlfriend? Should we make athletes into heroes?
I think it is vital for us to consider who we look up to. And as an adult, it is important to help your kids (or in my case, the kids I work with or volunteer with) to understand the reality that just because someone is impressive does not mean that they should be a role model. Or, just because certain people are attractive, athletic, smart, funny, “chill,” beast, etc. does not we should put them on pedestals
Instead of letting some distant celebrity be the center of the youth’s attention, let’s be the kind of adults that are involved and admirable. Kids don’t need distant celebrities as role models. They need personal, relational, and normal heroes.
That means that we normal people need to take our actions and philosophies seriously. If we should be the ones that kids respect, then let’s become the people that kids should watch and emulate. Let’s be the adults that kids can respect, learn from, and enjoy being around.
It won’t be easy. We may not have the physique which automatically appeals to a kid. We may not have the cool hair or sweet clothes. We may not be able to jump out of the building or wear clothes that cost more than some cars (aka my truck). We might even be kind of ugly and boring.
But, as it is becoming blatantly obvious, we live in a world of brokenness. Kids need someone who is involved in their lives to help them sort out what is going on. They need someone to ask their questions to and to confide in. They need stability and love. They need to know that life has its ups and downs and all arounds.
Kids need someone who is honest about life, and is honest with them. They need people who are willing to face personal flaws and failures. And we adults need to step up to the plate. We cannot avoid growth and maturity in our own lives. Kids are relying upon us.
Oh, and since it isn’t an easy task at all. How about we promise to pray for each other and the kids. It is needed.