Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wanted: Role Models (Or you could make a good impression for your own damn kids).

The time to have that talk with my mother regarding the choices she made raising me is drawing nearer and nearer. When I was growing up she set the example for me to follow. She was the present, powerful force who shaped me. I may not agree with everything that she taught me. The fact remains that she did teach me. She also acted as that filter between fiction and reality until I was able to create a filter of my own. I didn't look up to people on TV because if it didn't come on Nickelodeon or TGIF then I didn't watch it. Oh there were some adult things I watched, like Dynasty and those old movies about that blonde named Tammy who had the most interesting adventures, but I watched those with my mother. I also watched music videos, but I had to sneak to do that. During the day at my grandmother's house I watched The Price Is right and  soap operas. No one complained about Victor Newman and Sammie from Days of Our Lives being bad role models, because the TV wasn't raising the children. It was understood that those were adult programs. Fast forward to the present, things have changed. The media is the third and most active parent. 

It seems that every time I read what's going on in the contemporary portion of the news world, someone is complaining about someone else not being a good role model for their children. Amber Rose isn't a good role model. Kim Kardashian isn't a good role model. Beyonce isn't a good role model, and neither is her fetus. Nicki Minaj isn't a good role model. It seems that a lot of people are spending their time protesting. My question is why aren't the people who are protesting these people the living example their children need? Why are they looking up to people on TV? Why do they even know who these reality show stars are? Be that person your child needs to see in order to be inspired to be someone. The time being spent complaining about celebrities and what they're doing in front of children's eyes could be spent making sure your child doesn't know who these people are. Sit down with your child and read a book. If they still have take your child to work day then participate in that. If not then spend time reinstating it. There was nothing I loved more during childhood than dressing in business clothing (there was no such thing as business casual back then; it was dress for success or stay home) and learning about working. Working. Going to a job and earning a paycheck. Spending that time made me want to grow up and get a job. Because of that I have been employed since I was fifteen years old. 

As if complaining about who is and isn't a good role model isn't enough idiocy, now they're complaining about who has a Barbie designed after them. First it was Nicki Minaj. Now it's the Kardashians. They're saying, "I don't want my child to have a Kim Kardashian Barbie doll because Kim Kardashian is famous for making a sex tape and being a ho. She's no one for my child to look up to." Stop it. First of all, why is anyone's child "looking up" to a piece of plastic? I was fortunate (spoiled) enough to have every single Barbie doll Mattel made, every car, and every accessory except the Barbie Dream House (and I'm okay with not having a $200 toy; my Barbie had a town house with a porch swing). I never wanted to be Barbie, never wanted to look like Barbie, never wanted to have what Barbie had. Do you know why? Because with all the things that Barbie did, Barbie never had a job. Well, if you count Barbie and the Rockers she did, but in my mind I was a better singer than them and was going to be more successful. Also, Barbie's man was a chump. I wasn't even allowed to have a Ken Doll because he wasn't anatomically correct. (Don't ask. My uncles and my father were some disturbed people). On top of that, any time a Barbie came out that was crafted after a celebrity it was a collector's item. You couldn't tuck it. It sat in its original packaging, on a shelf until someone created something fantastic like eBay where you could sell all of your unopened toys and make 9 millions of trillions of dollars. As a child who loved to play with toys I had no interest in a doll you couldn't play with. If I could keep the shoes for more than three minutes, then that was a waste of my life and time. 

So why are we so hung up on other people being role models? Why are we relying on reality TV and music to set better examples? I was raised to filter the difference between entertainment and something to pay attention to. If the person was in church, school, or the workplace then it was a safe bet I could follow that person's lead. Of course the church ripped that theory to shreds around the time I turned twelve, but that's a different blog post for a different day. If the person was on TV, I should probably laugh at them and nothing more. Not even The Cosby Show was to be taken seriously, because my mother was a disciplinarian in the physical sense. As much as I loved A Different World, not even that was to be taken seriously because almost every student in that school had parents who paid for college. After my mother landed her role as a single mother she made it clear that I should start looking for scholarships. It was she who shaped me into the person I am today, not Laura Winslow, not Lisa or Bart Simpson, not Super Mario Brothers, Denise I. Smith. She made it so that I didn't know who Amy Fisher or any other controversial person during my childhood was known to me. Why don't we get back to that  form of parenting and stop worrying about what the people who are famous for nothing are doing? 

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