June 24, 2022
Written By:L.G. Mabry "Chuck"
Twenty years ago, or more, around the late 80’s until sometime in the 90’s, there was a topic that was discussed quite a bit. Role models. The people we should suggest or encourage children to admire. Who should be one? What qualities should they have? Do we even need them?
This wasn’t always an easy consideration. Even one of the most admired public figures of the time, Michael Jordan, could prove problematic at times. Despite MJ’s unimpeachable talent and charisma, there were people who had issues with his ego, rumors about his gambling or infidelities. In particular, I took personal issue with his reluctance to engage conservatives publicly (he allegedly said, “Republicans buy sneakers, too”). I didn’t have kids then. So, my opinions were limited.
My role model when young were mostly relatives with my father being the most prominent. As I looked around the night in which I lived I paid attention to the men and fathers of my friends. My father worked for the government in DC and did what he needed to support us. My Uncle Lynn was also a role model for me coming up. Always upbeat he lent a friendly presence to the family. And he provided a brother figure to my mom that was always appreciated.
In 2002, my wife and I had our first son. And surprisingly, by that time, nobody was talking about role models so much. People admired who they admired, for whatever reason. Youngsters still admired athletes and musicians, as they always have, but not as someone to necessarily base your life on.
Now, nearly 20 years and two more sons later, I’ve been reflecting on these young adults and adolescents that we are raising. The last few years haven’t been easy. Violence is rampant in this country. Division is everywhere. Racism is resurgent. Corruption is everywhere, and not always punished.
But I feel as though our children have turned out well. Of course, no one is given any guarantees, but I feel that they are all smart, kind, admirable young men. To what do I attribute this success to. I give all the credit to their mom (I’m not stupid).
Seriously though, I’ve found it better to show, rather than tell, as they say. I have taken the example of friends who had their kids before me, to try to provide a good illustration for how I want my boys to act and conduct themselves. I’m not always successful, but I’m glad for the successes we’ve had. So, no offense to rappers, athletes, and activists of today, but I think I want to continue being one of my kids’ role models.
P.S. Though I am my kid’s role model, it was not something that I set out to do. I was just busy being a father. I was asked “If I found myself able to talk a young man (again not as a role model) who might have some questions on life, what would I say to him?” Seek to be better. The cause of your problems is not always you and there is nothing that you are not able to overcome. Some would bring up abuse. But though it may be harder to overcome, it can be done. Or at least you can come to grips with in and use that as fuel to be a better person. Finally, I would say, “Don’t make social media your life.” It is amazing how social media has become ingrained into today’s world where they are using it as models to self-worth, your image of the world and people around you. And sadly, has cost people their lives. Find what you need inwardly. You may like what you see.
Thank you for joining me for Friday at Sundown. Remember… Just Breathe!
Editor Notes L.G. Mabry affectionately known as Chuck lives in Prince Georges County MD with his lovely wife and three sons. Retired from the government, Chuck is a talented and creative writer with emphasis on shows for the small screen. Some of his work has been copyrighted and has appeared on the Weakest Link game shows some years ago.
(Disclaimer: We do not own the rights to the music and motivational speech in this video)