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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Don't look to stars for your role model

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Here's a real shocker - most Americans think movie stars are poor role models. Amazingly a new poll out this week has announced the results as if it were breaking news. I just assumed that most people recognized that the Hollywood elite were dismal role models. In fact many are poster children for what is wrong with society.

I believe we have come to expect the movie stars to be "different" than the general population. Why this is, I'm uncertain. But when a star stumbles or makes a complete fool of themselves, it really doesn't come as a major shocker.

Actually the poll should have also included the other royalty in this country - the sports stars. In far too many cases, professional athletes too make miserable role models, though there are exceptions.

The core of the problem is obvious. Since our society holds "stars" of sports and the silver screen in such a lofty position, it's understandable that youngsters see nothing wrong with emulating their actions. So when Russell Crowe assaults a hotel employee, we simply accept it.

While I'm at it, throw in the "stars" of the music industry as yet another example of this eroded role model pattern. You could even argue that powerful musicians are among the worst role models. Once again, yes there are exceptions to every generalization.

There was once a time - granted it was a long time ago - when "stars" in our society were excellent role models. If you wind the clock back to World War II, countless athletes and stars of Hollywood were some of the first to enter the military. They were held in a place of esteem and respect. But today you'd have to look far and wide to find a similar comparison.

Not all elected officials are good role models and, as the headlines have illustrated in recent years, not all members of the religious community are excellent role models either.

So where are today's role models? Well, for starters, the leading role model should come from the home. Mother, father, brother, sister - you name it. That should be the origin of role models today. But the sad reality is that the changes in society have also taken their toll on the traditional home environment. I read a report this week that says only 23 percent of households in this country today are the "traditional" structures of the past with two parents.

Maybe the concept of a role model no longer applies. Maybe we need to quit looking at others to serve as an example for our lives and instead live our lives as we know and believe we should.

But what really amazes me is that we somehow need a poll to tell us what is so blatantly obvious.

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