"Young People Have Fewer Role Models"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, February 14, 2015

In years past, if you asked a young boy what he hoped to be when he grew up, he probably answered a fireman, policeman (not a cop), sailor or soldier. They also may have said a movie star like John Wayne or Roy Rogers. Perhaps a sports star such as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio or the refrigerator, Perry.

As years advanced, stars fell from fame, athletes retired, policemen were being shot and firemen badly injured. Some ambitious youth now say they want to be President, a doctor or race car drivers like #88 Junior Earnhardt, #24 Jeff Gordon or #14 Tony Stewart. Young minds churned and have been influenced by social media and answers are influenced. TV notables such as Charlie Sheen and Nick Cannon were listed. More recently, young music stars Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber are almost idolized. Hopes and desires of young boys have changed.

Girls were asked the same question and their answers in the past were usually a nurse, teacher or secretary. They also wished to be movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Lana Turner and many simply answered, a mother. Today’s young women will say a model, a dancer, Miss USA or a singer such as Taylor Swift. They too may say a race car driver like Danica Patrick — who also fills the spot of TV personality via her Go Daddy ads. Sadly, some will answer Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan. Some girls hope to cross over to what used to be men’s jobs, electricians, linemen, mechanics or truck drivers.

Few boys or girls want to be educators today because of the graphic descriptions of how dangerous those jobs can become. Nursing is not a sought after career because of the incredible demanding work schedules. Men have entered the field because of the pay rates and the demand is great.

As I see it, there are few role models today for young people to emulate. Sports stars are the worst, many suspended or kicked out of play for using drugs or committing domestic abuse. Some such as O.J. and Pete Rose even ruined their lives by their actions. Many others, some currently in the news, have destroyed their careers.

Entertainers are no longer role models because so many of them strive for fame by the shock effect and nasty language on music videos and personal appearances. Big stars that have made it should not need the shock impact but the desire to compete with the new styles force them to change their personas and they wind up losing fans. I’m shocked to tune into the late morning show and see two women starting the day sipping wine. What a distressing example they set for today’s youth.

Programs that just a few years ago would have been denied access are allowed and popular shows such as Blue Bloods mix subjects once forbidden with family togetherness. Parents, who have the time to monitor their children’s TV and video viewing have a tough assignment. Often, topics shown on news programs would not have been allowed just a few short years ago. Bodies lying in the street after being shot and persons in burning vehicles or buildings were never shown.

Female weather forecasters present questionable viewing when they appear in clothing two sizes smaller than they wear or plunging necklines. In many areas, stations vie for viewers by encouraging the weather girls to behave suggestively. Is it what our youngsters need to see as they anxiously watch for updates to plan their day or, if in the northern states, learn of school closings?

So how has the changing role models influenced our young people’s behavior? If you happen past a high school, or even a middle school, take a look at what the kids are wearing.

Perhaps the youngsters leave for school looking like kids but arrive there very different. They add make-up, change or alter their clothes and attempt to “fit in” and look like all the other kids. It’s all about shock and awe.

Many of the idols our youngsters yearned to be like passed on early in life, Michael Jackson a dramatic example. A current list totaling 53 includes Cory Monteith, Paul Walker, Heath Ledger and Amy Winehouse to name a few. Some are still alive but look like they collided with a truck — Lohan and Bieber come to mind.

Do you let your teenagers cry and mourn the loss of one of their role models or do you try to point out lifestyle may have caused their favorite entertainers early departure? Maybe you suggest a better upbringing may have saved them if greed had not taken over.

Let’s try not to let our kids go “on display” and look like someone they are not. If love and pride are displayed at home, most kids will turn out to be just who they are, good kids.


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