|Tapping the steering wheel during morning traffic usually puts me in a good mood; it
rarely creates the need to pull over and tap away on the laptop as well.
In late 2013 there was momentary outrage at Miley Cyrus over
her antics on stage, videos and otherwise. However, finding
myself enjoying her music lately got me thinking about her
position as a role model for the younger generation.
Basically, she does what any smart marketing person does and
utilises the camera time to promote her product; which in this
case is herself. At least she has a God-given product to market _
vocal cords many of us wish we were granted. It doesn't matter
that I like what she stands for. Enough people do and it makes
her both popular and attractive from a marketing perspective.
She found that the best way to promote her music has been with
youthful antics, explicit visuals in music videos, and whenever
she poses in front of paparazzi or on stage.
Being a role model is a tricky position these days. Miley
Cyrus may not be the best one, but I remember the ones of my
youth _ teachers, public officials and priests. Eventually the
halo fell from their heads and strangled them equally. Others,
such as film stars and television personalities, fell to a similar
fate. The likes of Jimmy Savile, Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris
seem to be proving much of what our peers told us at the time
to be incorrect as well. It shocks us that we once dared to trust
Sit upon such lofty pillars in life, like being a role model, and
the only way forward is usually down. Perhaps we live too
long. James Dean and Marilyn Monroe had failings, but
perhaps they left us too quickly for us to dwell upon their bad
sides. Now we just focus on the good.
Certainly, I would rather my future children use their natural
talents, such as singing and dancing, to make a fortune in their
youth than the exploits of the likes of the Kardashian family.
Would I want my children to be famous for fame's sake or to
use their natural talents to make a fortune? I choose the latter.
Literature, theatre and sports might represent higher
standards morally, but even role models in these fields have
fallen foul. In the end, the truth is that we should try to be the
role models that our children can emulate. No one is perfect. I
am the first to admit to imperfections, but I have lived a great
life. I had imperfect parents, who taught me great lessons and
raised me well.
My parents led tough lives, but they tried hard. In return, I
have tried to make them proud. I merely hope to prove to my
own children that their grandparents were honourable people
who asked for nothing, worked for everything and wanted for
little. In time they will see that I was raised to be the same. Do
I need others to say I am a good role model? No. The only ones
who need to know that are my own children.
As parents, we often think our children do not listen to us.
However, you can be sure that they will copy a good example if
they are given one worthy of their attention. In the words of
James Baldwin, "Children have never been very good at listening
to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."