Lead your life, not a role model’s

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The age of celebrity, athletic or political role models is over.

Americans have become increasingly fascinated with those in the public eye. We look towards celebrities to help us decide what to wear. We look to athletes to decide what workouts to follow, energy bars to eat and beverages to drink. We look to politicians to decide our societal views.

Let’s end the cycle. We need to take ownership of our lives and stop looking to flawed individuals for clues to how to live our lives.

Tiger Woods, once the king of the golf world and role model to many, saw his career derailed when his secret life of adultery was exposed. Michael Vick signed the richest contract in NFL history but is now facing millions of dollars of debt after his conviction on dog fighting charges. Kobe Bryant admitted to adultery but had rape charges dropped after settling out of court.

Politicians, once some of the most respected members of our society and supposedly the most virtuous, are merely smoke and mirrors.  Eliot Spitzer was the 54th Governor of New York until his patronage of a high priced prostitution ring was brought to light. Idaho Senator Larry Craig was an outspoken critic of gay rights but was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Charlie Sheen’s cush job as a $1.8 million per episode sitcom actor is in jeopardy as he slowly self-destructs. Amy Winehouse was a breakout star in 2008 but has had her share of drug, alcohol and criminal problems and is still facing a long road back to working musician. Lindsay Lohan went from rising star and teen idol to accused drug thief.

Examples of flawed people in the public eye are endless and we need to stop looking there for our role models. It’s time we take responsibility for ourselves, don’t cave to peer pressure and set an example for younger generations. Charles Barkeley, another sport star who admits he is not a role model, gets it.

“I don’t believe professional athletes should be role models,” Barkeley said in a radio interview. “I believe parents should be role models…. It’s not like it was when I was growing up. My mom and my grandmother told me how it was going to be. If I didn’t like it, they said, ‘Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.’ Parents have to take better control.”

Why do we need role models? We don’t need a celebrity to show us what to do on the weekend. We don’t need an athlete to show us how to work out. We don’t need a politician to influence our morals.

We are a society based on individualism, hard work and liberty. Role models go against everything we stand for. We can be strong enough to make our own decisions. We can decide what we stand for without interference from bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

Role models in the public eye are a thing of the past. There will never be another Jackie Robinson or Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa. We can’t keep waiting for someone else to do our job for us.

We need to do the right thing and set an example for everyone around us. Help others any way that you can. Show up on time, work hard, stay late. Say please and thank you. These are things that we can all do to improve our society. We don’t need to wait for Superman to be our role model.

We can decide what clothes to wear; we can decide what to eat and drink; we can decide what to believe in: we can decide how to live our lives.

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