Mike Kueber's Blog

August 25, 2012

Role models

Filed under: Culture,Entertainment — Mike Kueber @ 3:53 am
Tags: ,

In a recent blog about Lance Armstrong’s decision to give up his fight against doping charges, two readers provided contrasting comments.    My San Antonio friend, Bob Bevard, expressed his disappointment in Armstrong as a role model:

  • “They are not us-in almost any way-and they set very, very bad examples for our youngsters and their fans.  I still (perhaps Pollyannaishly) believe that our public figures ought to be models for our/their public and NOT behave outrageously in public forums nor cheat.  They truly are models–whether they like it or not. As long as they make their livings from the public and public appreciation and dollars, they need to BE careful and set high standards, not act like/be cheaters, gangsters, or reprobates.”

By contrast, my brother Kelly Kueber asserted that Armstrong remained a person worthy of admiration:

  • “I admire Lance Armstrong for his drive and motivation and competitive fire! I think he is a great human being. The other stuff I do not care about, I just look at his great determination and try to emulate him in any small way I can.”

Brilliant minds think alike, so I agree with my brother Kelly.  Armstrong’s drive is what sets him apart and it is worthy of emulation. 

I disagree with Bob’s suggestion that public figures should be role models for anything other than what they excel at.  Taylor Swift is a role model for a young girl wanting to be a successful singer, Cam Newton is a role model for a young man wanting to be a sports star, and Bill Gates is a role model for anyone wanting to succeed in business.  The key to their success, other than innate ability and luck, is often their work ethic (as documented by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers). 

Significantly, their success is typically not closely connected to the values, ethics, and integrity that we want to instill in the youth of this country.  Those values are generally not essential to succeed in entertainment or business.  Steve Jobs is an example of a business success who seemed to be ethically challenged. 

Kids’ values, ethics, and integrity need to come from their parents and their community, not celebrities.


1 Comment »

  1. “Kids’ values, ethics, and integrity need to come from their parents and their community, not celebrities.”

    Agree right up to the not. Celebrities, like it or not, are emulated by our youngsters.

    Drive is wonderful. I wish that would be the thing being held out as valued. Unfortunately, too often–as in this situation–that is NOT the case.

    If people don’t care about cheating, it can and will become a standard of behavior. It is already rampant. When a youngster sees a famous baseball player or a famous cyclist or a famous football player or a famous…misbehave or cheat and be rewarded for it, it not only makes it appear to be OK but it makes it appear to be an expected behavior.

    I take the position that that is simply unacceptable! Famous people do make and set standards. That is the world in which we live.



    Comment by Bob Bevard — August 25, 2012 @ 5:34 am | Reply

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