Thursday, January 23, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
My son is almost 4 years old. My friends' sons are mostly around the same age--some older, some younger. My daughter is almost 7 months older. Again, my friends' daughters are around the same age--some older, some younger.
Important fact: Our kids need good role models.
Yes, yes, as parents, we should be our kids' primary role models. Grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles, close family friends are also in a position to be a role model for our kids. And that is how it should be.
But let's be real here; it is inevitable that our kids will one day look up to celebrities and athletes and make them role models as well. That is why it bothers me when celebrities say they don't want to be a role model. Well, suck it up, Princess, because you are one.
This past summer, we all learned more than we wanted to about twerking when our news shows and social media pages were bombarded with images and stories and opinions about Miley Cyrus. It was gross, the way she exploited herself, her sexuality overshadowing her talent as a singer. She seems to be trying so hard to shed her "Hannah Montana" image that she went in the complete opposite and wrong direction. I cringe to think that my little girl (who is thankfully far too young to know anything about this) could potentially be exposed to this and want to emulate. But that is what happens and that is part of the reason our kids are exploring sexually way younger than ever before. Ms. Cyrus used to be a well-spoken, pleasant girl, giving interviews like this: "Well, thank you. I really try with the show and my concerts to let kids and parents know that I really am just a down home girl with good values and work really hard at what I do." (2007) Now her interviews sound more like this: "Like, if someone was videoing me ripping a bong, I didn't care, so it's just funny to me." (2013... And that wasn't even the worst thing I've heard her say.)
The most obvious anti-Miley right now is Jennifer Lawrence. She is a well-spoken girl with a solid head on her shoulders. She doesn't have to rely on attention-grabbing antics to get people to notice her. She is talented and she speak often about being true to who you are and not trying to live up to other people's expectations of what they think you need to be. She is someone I'd be proud to have my little girl look up to.
Football is a big deal in our house. It is almost inevitable that my son will grow up to be as big a fan as my husband. From a young age, he would see the 49ers symbol and say "That's football!" And if you ask him "Who's got it better than us?" He'll respond with an emphatic, "NOBODY!!!"
I know it's not new news now, but yesterday after the Seahawks-49ers NFC championship game, an on-field interview was conducted with Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. He is a talented player, but he's known for stirring up controversy. Erin Andrews (the sideline reporter for the game) asked him a question about the final play of the game (which more or less, allowed the Seahawks to win the game). That was when his rant began. He began screaming like a crazy person about how he was the best cornerback in the world and that Michael Crabtree (the receiver he blocked) was a "sorry receiver." I'm sure the video can be found pretty much anywhere on the internet at this point. It was embarrassing, or at least should have been. I highly doubt we will here from him about it again, but I sure hope that Pete Carroll will sit him down and lay into him about how unacceptable his behavior is. I doubt it, but I can hope. Sherman clearly has a beef with Crabtree (among other NFL players), who also likes to smack talk on the field. It's football, I get it. It is an intense sport and this was an intense game between an intense rivalry. The public interview after the game is not a place to air your grievances.
On top of the terrible interview, which many people are upset about, other fans are making excuses. "Well, it was right after the game. He was still hyped up." Um, no. I've seen many player interviews right after the game and none of them sound like that (see Peyton Manning for a PRIME example). Also, Seattle went on offense after Sherman's play and SF called a couple time-outs. There was plenty of time to collect yourself. There is no excuse for that interview.
Sherman is a good player, so he would definitely be on the radar of impressionable young people who want to be like him. I most definitely would not want my son thinking it is OK to be that way. Being a good sport means being a good winner too. (*side note: I will give him credit for blasting the fans who threw food at NaVorro Bowman as he was being carted off the field after an injury. Why would anyone think that's acceptable behavior?)
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the same game is SF inside linebacker Patrick Willis. His interview after the game was nothing short of classy and humble, which as it turns out is sort of how he's known in the NFL. His interview was all about his concern for his team BFF NaVorro Bowman (who suffered a horrifically bad knee injury) and his team. Everything mentioned was all about the team and how they are just thankful to be in the championship game at all. He wished the Seahawks luck in the Super Bowl. (*another side note: do yourself a favor and read up about Willis. He's worth being a fan of and he's an all-around good guy.)
I feel like this is a topic that can drag on and on. And obviously there a tons of celebrities and athletes that can be listed on either side of the argument, but the thing is, it is our responsibility to make sure our children are looking up to the right people. We are their parents and it is our job to raise them the best we can, but the truth is we are in competition with TV, radio, actors and athletes, their friends at school. With social media being what it is, they are exposed to EVERYTHING. Hopefully we can help them sort it all out.