People say that we need a president who can be a role model. It would be nice to have a president who is a good, honorable person. But a role model?
Role models are important. We all learn better by example than by countless lectures. Do-as-I-say never works as well as do-as-I-do.
But let me go out on a limb and suggest that neither the president nor the entire federal government bureaucracy is competent to inspire and rear our children. Kids need role models that are real, live, up-close not just “as seen on TV.”
Same goes for sports stars. Sure, ballplayers can be heroes for kids, but that’s a whole lot different than a role model. I was pleased when basketball star Charles Barkley made the same point to reporters he’s a basketball player, not a role model. His job is to play a game.
Growing up, my role model was my Father, certainly not President Nixon. If we really believe that politicians or athletes can carry out the functions of fathers or mothers, we’re stuck in a pretty dangerous delusion. Our goal must be to provide real role models to our children – people like us. We have to do the hard work of showing our kids what good, honorable people are like by being good, honorable people ourselves. Not pointing them to Washington, D.C. for heaven’s sake.
Luckily, a recent survey of young people restores some semblance of sanity to this discussion. Who do most young people see as their role models? Their mothers and fathers.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.