volsunghawk wrote: SharkHawk wrote:
Where have our heroes gone? It's hard to find somebody to buy into and pattern your life after it seems. You almost have to wait until a guy dies and hope he doesn't do anything nutty before you can put your faith in them and follow them. I guess that's why I follow my father's example so closely. He's not around anymore to goof it up.... oh, and he was a pretty amazing guy as well.
Maybe it's just me, but I just can't get behind the idea of "finding somebody to buy into and pattern your life after." That actually sounds creepy as hell to me.
People are flawed. Deeply, deeply flawed, no matter who they are. I think you can respect a heroic ACTION, and you can adopt a viewpoint, practice, or belief that you find admirable... but wholly buying into a person seems like it will usually lead to disappointment somewhere along the line.
Pistorius' fight to compete in the Olympics is admirable, regardless of whatever it was he did this morning. There's the value in admiring the action versus putting a person on a pedestal.
I work with kids. Many many high risk kids. Kids who have no aspirations beyond being able to someday maybe get a job at a grocery store. That is who needs heroes. I have worked with disabled kids either in a professional or volunteer setting every working day of my adult life (for the last 20-ish years). THEY need heroes, and when they put their faith in somebody and hope to someday become something when the entire world is telling them they CAN'T then it is a good thing to see that, "Hey... maybe if Oscar can... then I can too."
Not everybody has a good life. Not everybody has parents. The place I'm helping out at now (an elementary school that is the lowest scoring one in the state and needs all the help they can get) has a homeless shelter in the boundaries. A lot of the kids I work with each day live there. Many of them have some sort of disability as do their parents (thus their inability to make a go of it). These kids don't just "like" the idea of heroes. They NEED something in their life, and many times it is a monumental thing for them to pick up a book in the library and find a connection to themselves. I was talking to a kid who has struggled a lot with race issues and bullying and such, and he found out that it was Jackie Robinson's birthday that day. He got super excited and started rattling off facts about Jackie Robinson.
Why was that important to that kid? Because he'd made a connection. Jackie had overcome impossible odds and become something. The kid tells me (He's 9 by the way) that, "Branch Rickey didn't believe in racism. He gave Jackie a chance. Jackie went out and no matter how they treated him badly, he just played harder and harder and it made it so that other teams signed black players. If Jackie could do it, anybody can. I WANT to be like Jackie."
How is that "creepy as hell"? I think the fact that you can find the fault in such a scenario "creepy as hell". Because obviously you just don't get it. Put your blinders on and keep on movin'. But not everybody has the great life others do. Maybe you don't need somebody to pattern your life after. But some kids really do. Sometimes they pattern it after me. I take that seriously. They don't dress just like me, talk like me, and drive the same kind of car. But they try to interact with others the way I do, because they don't have that example at home. Patterning isn't a bad thing. All human beings learn through imitation from modeling of behaviors by others (whether appropriate or inappropriate). I know people like me who have been told, "You'll never run again, your leg is ruined" were inspired by Oscar's story. Did I walk around trying to pretend to be Oscar Pastorious and getting fitted for a bionic leg? No. But as an adult, I found inspiration in what he had done on the field. For a kid who struggles with the same issues I have, then they buy into the whole "Oscar is what I want to be like" ideal. When those people do things like this, then it destroys part of the child inside. That's hard to deal with.
I'm not going to be the one to tell a kid, "Well, hey kid... don't follow or pattern yourself after Jackie Robinson, because patterning yourself after anybody is creepy as hell, and I don't want you to try to emulate anybody. Come up with it all on your own and maybe if you're super lucky you'll someday get out of that homeless shelter if you get lucky. Just don't pick a path based on another human being or emulate their work ethic or overcoming long odds. It's CREEPY SO STOP IT!"
Yeah... so I'm going to have to disagree here on this one.