Saturday, September 20, 2014

Who is Your Role Model?

Because of various recent events in the news, I have been thinking about role models. 

When my daughter was about 7 or 8, she wanted to be like Britney Spears. Britney was in her cute Disney phase then, wearing her hair in pigtails and singing nice little pop songs. 

Then she grew up, started wearing slutty clothes and singing sexually suggestive songs, generally went a little crazy, and my daughter didn't really identify with her anymore. For that, I'm grateful.

When my granddaughter was about 6 or 7, she wanted to be like Miley Cyrus. Miley was in her cute Hannah Montana phase then, singing nice little pop songs and starring in a Disney TV show with her dad. 

Then Miley did a 180 and started wearing pot-leaf costumes and sticking her tongue out. My granddaughter thought Miley was kind of gross and didn't want to be like her anymore. For that, I'm extremely grateful.

I don't remember having celebrity role models when I was their age unless Nancy Drew could be considered a celebrity. Our TV had only 3 channels, we had to drive 40 miles to a movie theater, and I only saw a computer on the TV show Lost in Space. There was no social media; therefore, my role models were real people I knew. Obviously, several of my role models were teachers who inspired me to become one of them. 

What did they do that made me want to be a teacher? They showed me that they could discipline without being mean and that they seemed to truly love being around children and sharing what they knew. They had something that made them special, as though they were somewhat above the everyday people of our town. Everyone admired teachers, so I knew in 2nd grade that I wanted to be one.  Teachers knew how to behave in public so as not to draw negative attention to their profession. They knew children respected them, so I became one of them.

I live in Tallahassee, Florida, a huge college football town. My alma mater, Florida State University, is the present national champion and seems to be headed toward a great season again this year. 

Locally, kids and adults wear all kinds of garnet and gold apparel, and one big seller is the FSU football jersey #5.  That number is worn by the quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. 

Jameis has had his troubles off the field (accused sexual assault, petit theft of crab legs), but he has many supporters who chalk this behavior up to his being so young. When you are talented and are winning games, fans tend to overlook such actions. 

Recently, FSU students witnessed Jameis shouting lewd and vulgar remarks about sex and women while standing on a table in the middle of the student union building. News Report about Jameis Winston

His punishment for this action was suspension from a really important football game against Clemson. 

Is Jameis a role model? I'd say yes, whether he wants to be or not. Is he a good one? I'd say no. 

Former NBA player Charles Barkley got a lot of negative publicity in 1993 when he said, "I'm not a role model ... Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids." But fellow NBA player Karl Malone said to Barkley, "I don't think it's your decision to make. We don't choose to be role models, we are chosen. Our only choice is whether to be a good role model or a bad one."

I have worked hard to guard the reputation of my profession. I'm bothered when I hear of teachers breaking the law, sexting students, or behaving in a way that might bring negative attention to my chosen career. I don't know if I have been any child's role model, but I tried to act as though I were.

I hope Jameis isn't majoring in education.