Parental Guidance: Serving Up Appropriate Role Models

In the aftermath of the Miley Cyrus debacle that was the VMAs, many parents might be wondering where the positive, young, moral role models are. My response? Stop looking to the entertainment business to provide your sons and daughters with emulative examples of model human beings. It just isn’t going to happen.

These "people" (and I use that term loosely) are glutinous, money-driven beings who DO NOT care about your child and how you would like them to develop into responsible adults. They just want you to buy their clothing line, pay to see their movies, buy their music and spend a fortune on tickets to their concerts. You are simply a source of money to fund their overindulgent lifestyle, and nothing more. They want absolutely nothing to do with raising your children.

I’m 42 years old, and in my lifetime, Hollywood has changed a lot. Hell, MTV has changed! When it first hit the airwaves in 1981, there was actual MUSIC and shows that involved MUSIC. There were no shows about being knocked up before your 18th birthday or brats celebrating their 16th birthdays with excess and debauchery. When artists made it to MTV, it was seen as a part of “making it” in the music world. Now? Not so much.

Back in the “good old days”, Hollywood actors were distinguished and actually had talent (as opposed to becoming a D-lister on some reality show). They had an aura about them that was somewhat mysterious, and giving an interview that discussed their private life was a rarity.

Their behavior, at least in public, was impeccable. You never would have seen Vivian Leigh bend over and stick her ass in the face of Clark Gable as they discussed Gone With the Wind. At least not with 2 million eyes upon them. You wouldn’t see Donna Reed do a pole dance for Jimmy Stewart at the Oscars in 1947. The most risqué thing about It’s a Wonderful Life was when it was eluded that Reed was naked in a hydrangea bush!

As parents, we need to stop looking to actors to behave as role models for our children. Exposing them to people that they can and would actually imitate would be much more beneficial. Son #3, Andrew, has shown some interest in becoming a veterinarian. So I brought him along to our cat’s yearly physical and introduced them. There he was offered to come in and shadow the vet for a day, to see what he does, and what is involved with being a veterinarian. I want my son to emulate someone like this!

There are hundreds of everyday people that our children can look up to for strength, encouragement, confidence, inspiration and optimism. They don’t have to be career type role models, but those who devote their time to charitable organizations, work with people with disabilities, strive to cure diseases, educate the next generation, assist the homeless, or organize fundraisers for families in need.

We as parents need to step up and FIND appropriate role models for our children. It may be a neighbor who collected dry dog food for the humane society, or an orthopaedic surgeon at John’s Hopkins that operates on those with rare forms of dwarfism.  Let’s challenge ourselves to look for those positive role models and share them with our children. We can show them that there are people out there that have character, morals, courage and tenacity.

Whatever role model you choose to expose your child to, it will always be better than what the entertainment industry has to offer us. Taking 10 minutes to show your children examples of spectacular people who accomplish great things every day will make a huge difference in their lives. Ultimately, we are in control and we are responsible for who our progeny emulate.

Please click the link below see this eleven-minute video about a teacher who is not only is fantastic at his job, but also had personal challenges that he and his family had to overcome. This man is truly an inspiration, and certainly someone I would want my sons to look up to.  Wright's Law.


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