Tiger Woods: Role Model?
He’s not one now – but guess what? He never really was.
-April Daniels Hussar
Well, looks like Tiger Woods is turning out not to be such a stand up guy after all. A peerless athlete, yes. But as a person, as a husband and a father … the guy is, to put it mildly, woefully far from perfect.
So – what does that have to do with us?
No really – not much at all. Because here’s the thing. Celebrities are not role models. I know – shocking right? They’re famous, fallible people whom we “know” but don’t really know at all. Yes, they live in the spotlight – and it’s both fascinating and unfortunate that that spotlight has grown so incredibly illuminating, so in depth, that we know so many details about the lives of people we’ve never met, even the “private” ones who don’t court fame for fame’s sake. But looking up to these people is a dangerous trap – and something I hope I never catch myself modeling for my daughter.
Because guess what? We are our children’s most important role models. It’s no use getting outraged when yet another celebrity falls from his pedestal. What about the children who look up to him, we moan. What we should really be asking is – what kind of role models are WE? Forget about Miley Cyrus and her propensity to pole-dance. Forget about sports-hero/ladies man centaur A-Rod. And, yes, forget about Tiger Woods. Sure, it’s a shame when someone we’ve admired turns out to have ugly flaws. Yes, people like Miley and Tiger, who hold the public eye – and the imaginations of our children, do have a responsibility not to act like assholes when their failures will be seen by so many. But so do the rest of us. And really, it’s moments like this when – as annoying and difficult as it may be – it’s the perfect time to ask ourselves, as parents: What kind of example am I setting? And is it strong enough to override whatever nonsense comes from the celebrity world we’re all so fixated on?