So, you are desperately searching for the perfect role models for your children. As a concerned parent, I’m sure you believe in having upstanding, inspiring people for your young ones to look up to. I’m convinced this important element of life will prove critical for their development and well-being. Choose wisely, mom and dad. I believe it’s vitally important for kids to have adults they can emulate and admire. Of course, everyone hopes they, as parents, will be included in this essential group. My parents taught me many moons ago not to idolize or place Hollywood stars, sports heroes or politicians on a pedestal just because they are well-known or famous. They often pointed out to me those whom they believed were worthy of respect and admiration. Conversely, they were quick to identify and explain any bad behavior exhibited by “stars” in all walks of life. “Judge people by their actions, not their words,” my father would often instruct while riding in the car. He had little tolerance for phonies and blowhards from the entertainment and sports world. Often, he would further caution, “Stay away from the snake-oil salesman, Peter!” Although society’s superstars may create memorable movies, hit mammoth home runs or deliver spellbinding speeches, it’s impossible to ever know what truly lies deeply inside their hearts and souls. All too often many of these celebrities are tedious, incurable narcissists who care about one thing only–themselves. I began thinking about role models for kids after recently seeing a report on the increasing number of arrests involving present NFL players. A few years ago there were 27 arrests of current NFL players. Let this be a cautionary tale for mamas and papas everywhere. Be aware and get involved before you allow your kids to idolize a professional athlete in any sport. If you don’t follow sports, Google the name of the guy whose poster your son just taped on the wall of his bedroom. It won’t take long to discover if they are one of the good, bad or ugly players in their league. I understand and appreciate that most of these athletes are decent, hard-working men and women who recognize that they are role models for youngsters everywhere and act accordingly. However, as in all segments of society, there are those who take advantage of and exploit their lofty positions. Of course, New England Patriots’ star tight-end, Aaron Hernandez, is the most notable, recently being arrested for a violent murder. Admirable, commendable people worthy of role model status can be found in all walks of life and in all professions. Make sure you pass on this critical ingredient when molding the mush-filled minds of your rug-rats, adolescents and teens—money does not equal character. Here’s one of my favorite quotes on the subject. It’s sound advice for all. “My mother once told me that when you have to make a decision, imagine the person you want to become someday. Ask yourself, what would that person do?” Barry Deutsch, Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite.
Unfortunately, an ever-growing segment of our society has turned into a culture who worships celebrity, stardom and notoriety, regardless of how distasteful, depraved or immoral the person may be. It’s cool to be a reprobate; however, not so cool to be a dedicated teacher, strict parent or authority figure attempting to do the right thing. I’ll leave you with another memorable quote: “The most important single influence in the life of a person is another person who is worthy of emulation.”
Paul D. Shaferable.”