Those two words caused a big to-do in the 90’s when Charles Barkley declared “I am not a role model.” The group of people that showed their ire more than anyone were parents. Parents were upset at Sir Charles words because they believed Mr. Barkley was hurting their children’s self-esteem. Well, I’m not a fan of Mr. Barkley; I tend to criticize him for his actions during his career in the NBA (wipe that spit off that little girl!). However, I have to say this: Mr. Barkley is right.
What is a role-model? I am a Sunday School teacher in a church from Durham, NC, and from time to time I try a little experiment with the kids. I ask them “How many of you know Michael Jordan”? You should see the hands go up. So I pick one of them and call him to the front of the class. Then I say “So you know Michael Jordan”? The usual nod. Then I ask “Where does he live?” or “What does he drive?” or “What does he like to eat?” Most of the time, my subject doesn’t know the answer which means he really doesn’t know MJ. My point? A role model can only be someone we know personally, i.e. our parents. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe sports stars should be showing a good example by displaying good sportsmanship and the like. However, these stars don’t know most of their fans, so they cannot be role models–that’s the role of the parents. So it really befuddles me when parents get mad because some sport’s star-or any star, for that matter–makes a public display they don’t improve of. Then they accuse the subject for damaging their children’s lives by making a fool of themselves publicly, never realizing the fault rests on the parents. It almost seems as if the parents just give over their parental rights to other public figures and if they screw up, then they’ll step in and be parents. Parents are in the household for a reason: to guide their children in what is right or wrong. Children are going to be exposed to a myriad of situations as they grow up. As parents (I’m not one, yet, but I’ll be one soon, hopefully) we are to guide our children through life’s situations. So, if we see someone acting unseemly, it is our responsibility to tell our children it isn’t right to act in such a manner. So parents, YOU are your children’s role models. Charles Barkley is a role model only to his children or whoever is under his care. This is a main reason there should be both a mother and a father in the household (we’ll touch on that later). So parents stop passing the buck, step up to the plate, and be the role models that God has called you to be.
Have a good day and I’ll see you on the rebound.