When Charles Barkley famously said “I am not a role model” in his Nike commercial in 1993, I was just a baby. I am not sure if I was even two-years-old yet. When I saw that as a child, I didn’t know what he was saying. I was probably too busy shitting my pants or playing with trains.
Fast forward…I do remember watching that commercial in one of my classes in college and I can tell you this…I believed every single word of that quote. Even as the birth of my son approaches, I still believe every word of that.
The day my son approaches me and says ” (insert athlete) is my role model,” I have failed as a father. Unless my name is said, I will chalk that up as an L for me.
If he has to look up to athletes or celebrities as role models, that means I am an absentee father or I am not fulfilling the promise I made to him the second he was conceived…that it was time to grow up and be a man.
How can I expect my son to grow up to be a man if he doesn’t have one at home to look up to?
That doesn’t mean he can’t like certain athletes or celebrities, but I hope if someone asks him who his role model is, the answer is me, my wife, his grandparents…just someone he knows.
Can he have his favorite athletes? Absolutely. It better start and end with Tom Brady though! But in all seriousness, it is inevitable for a child to like celebrities and athletes.
I understand not every boy loves sports, that is ok. If he loves music or art, good for him. The only thing I want from my son is to be his own person. I don’t care if he loves art. I don’t care if he loves computers. Whatever he is interested in, that will be my interest. Just know, at the end of the day I hope it is me that he looks up to.
I am just using sports here as an example because that has always been my interest. With other celebrities, no one cares that musicians or artists do drugs, but god forbid an athlete gets a DUI after a night out partying. I am not condoning it, but let’s not pretend that Willie Snead is Jesus Christ. Let’s not pretend that these athletes should be the end all be all for our children.
Growing up I can recall a number of athletes I loved. When I was a child (6-10), it was Ken Griffey Jr, Alfonso Soriano, Peyton Manning (before turning to the dark side with Tom Freaking Brady), Joe Horn and Derek Jeter.
I liked them and enjoyed watching them, but I never looked at them the same I looked at my parents and grandparents.
Why are we holding athletes to such a high standard to be role models for our children? Because they are on TV? Because they are famous? Because we look at them as “successful” based on the amount of money they make?
Cool. Those things are well and good. I hope me being there for my family gives him something to look up to. My passion for my career is something I hope inspires him to chase your passion. I started this blog in hopes of making a brand for myself eventually. I work hard every single day on this blog and in my career. I hope that teaches him to earn it. I love hard every single day. I hope the way I treat my wife teaches him values on how to love others. I love my life and do my best to lift those around me. I hope that teaches him about self worth, self awareness and how to love yourself. Those are the things Finn can look up to me for.
That sounds like a decent person to look up to if you ask me. Maybe that is arrogant for me to say that. But fuck that, I don’t want my son looking up to another man he has never met.
The problem with that is you have become emotionally attached to that person despite not knowing them from a ham sandwich.
For example, I liked Peyton Manning until after being around him during the Manning Passing Academy, I realized he is a bit of an asshole.
He is not the guy you see in the funny commercials. He is high strung. He is very selfish in terms of it is his way or no way. Don’t believe that? Explain why the second he left Tennessee, they won a national title because they actually ran the football.
In all fairness, he seems like the type of guy who gets out the shower to take a piss. My big problem with him is everyone says what a class act he is because they see the side of him that is shown in the media. It is like the guy in class who constantly brown noses his teachers. They’re playing up for the right people.
My point is with all this, nothing is as it seems in sports or any industry that is grandstanded on a national level. Why on earth would I want my child looking up to these people? I have never met them. My child has never met them. That person isn’t the one teaching my child right from wrong. That is me. Or at least, that is what I am supposed to be doing.
Part of my job is to be the role model. That is what signed up for when I decided to have children.
Quite frankly, it baffles how up in arms we get about athletes making mistakes. Their job is put a ball through a hoop, score touchdowns or hit home runs. I don’t expect them to set an example for my kid to be a better person. That is my job and every father out there.
Because it is relevant, what happens if his favorite player or the athlete was Joe Mixon? What am I supposed to say when a video surfaces of him cold clocking some girl? How am I supposed to explain that to a young boy?
My plan is to teach my son from a young age to look up to people he knows. Look up to people you have a relationship with. You never know what an athlete or celebrity is really like. They hide behind their PR teams and politically correct banter so you never know their true colors.
An athlete making mistakes isn’t holding the same weight as me not being there for my son to teach him right from wrong.
According to the US Census Bureau, there are a number of negative sociological factors for children who grow up without the presence of their father…
- 4x Greater Risk For Poverty
- More Likely to Have Behavioral Problems
- 2x Greater Risk of Infant Mortality
- More Likely to End Up in Prison
- More Likely to Commit a Crime
- 7x More Likely to Have Children as a Teen
- More Likely to Face Abuse and Neglect
- More Likely to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol
- 2x More Likely to Suffer From Obesity
- 2x More Likely to Drop Out of High School
I will never understand the dynamic at work when people complain about athletes not being good role models.
Just from an age standpoint, I can tell you I have changed drastically from the time I was 19 to now. That was just seven years ago. Ultimately, that is the rough age of the people we want to be model citizens for our children…get real.
Honestly, take that bullshit somewhere else.
Why don’t we start holding fathers to a higher standard? How about that?
Considering an estimated 24 million children (33 percent) live in homes without their father, that is heartbreaking. That is up more than three times since 1960. I am sure that number doesn’t include the father’s who live at home but suck at being there for their children.
- 57.6% of Black Children Live Without a Father
- 31.2% of Hispanic Children Live Without a Father
- 20.7% of White Children Live Without a Father
To the dads who aren’t there for your kids, man the fuck up. Your child is more likely to commit suicide or runaway from home if they are living without you.
- 63% of Children who Commit Suicide are Without a Father
- 90% of runaways are Without a Father
When people say we need to hold athletes to higher standard…no we don’t.
We need to hold the fathers who abandon their children to a higher standard and tell them to man up.
Ultimately, Joe Mixon punching a girl isn’t holding the same weight as some low life who leaves his children. Athletes are not role models, nor should they be. Fathers should be the role models we expect athletes to be.
If you don’t agree…then your opinion is wrong. K Pumpkin?