Role Models

Since I teach elementary students, I always hear about the new and latest celebrities, or at least the ones in Korea, and along with that I hear about who the students look up to. Of course since elementary students tend not to have long memories, their favorite “role models” change virtually from week to week. Between listening to my winter camp students and the Tony Kornheiser show, it made me remember this old controversial Nike commercial featuring Charles Barkley talking about how he shouldn’t be a role model, parents, should be, he’s only paid to dunk a ball, not be a role model.

The more and more celebrity news that I hear from Tiger Woods desire to see how many “notches he can get on his bedpost” to Gilbert Arenas bringing a gun to an NBA arena not to mention Plaxico Burgess shooting himself, Michael Vick, etc., it makes me wonder why was the commercial controversial? Why do we look up to these individuals? Where are parents, teachers, civic leaders that we can look up to?

I realize that parents, teachers, etc. aren’t as glamorous as athletes, musicians, actors (or usually as rich), but are they really showing behavior that we want to base our moral compass on? Which does bring me to a point that I never thought that I would ever be on…on Rev. Al Sharpton’s side. In the cases of Gilbert Arenas (and to a lesser degree, Javaris Crittenton) I think that it is a valid point that if one of the involved players were of a different ethnic background, there would have been more action (and outrage) about the situation. But if you have the same low expections of someone, why would they need to be more than they are, what challenges them to change their paths, to grow?

Even though thanks to the current media age, we can know what’s happening with our favorite celebrities (and soon we’ll know even more about athletes thanks to the reported TMZ Sports) and that’s creating a false sense of friendship, relationship with them. But seriously do they really care about the people that watch them, idolize them? Are they really going to call you up and tell you to stop doing the negative things that you are involved in or encourage you to be better than you are?

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