Lets Get Real….
Last week, Cole jumped in the car after his driver’s education class and blasted me with, “MOM! Oprah is so judgmental and I bet she does not even drive a car!” Used to these kinds of conversations with my 15-year-old son, I just stared at him dumbly until he offered me a few more details. It seems they had watched a 45-minute video about Oprah’s No Phone Pledge in class. Cole wondered why they hadn’t had a “real person” talk about the dangers of driving and texting or talking on the phone. A “real person” would be a paramedic, a victim of distracted driving, a policeman or a doctor.
Perhaps it is the influence of Cole’s Waldorf education, but I have always sought out “real people” for Cole to engage with; the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. If he wanted to know about something, we found a doer not a talker. Joe and I parented this way as well.
When Cole was little, my best source of information always came from the mom who was just a little further down the parenting path. When Joe wanted to know more about being a soccer coach after watching celebrity videos at a training camp, he talked to dads who had coached 1st graders. He learned valuable information never taught in a celebrity video, like how to remove little tiny diamond earrings from a little girl’s ears (no earrings on the soccer field). The advice was, “Find a mom.”
When I shared this with friends, they pointed out that Oprah was used because she would make a larger impression than a paramedic. Is this a good thing? Teaching our children to rely on a celebrity dog-and-pony show to give them the facts and information?
It’s true, many kids don’t have “real people” role models in their lives, and celebrities like Oprah step in and fill the void, but the problem is … Charlie Sheen and Brittney Spears are just around the next corner.
Cole’s driver’s ed class or school classrooms have the opportunity to showcase real people as role models; the everyday human kind.
Charles Barkley may have said it best, “I’m not a role model … Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” I agree, but perhaps the butcher, baker, paramedic, fireman, policeman, doctor, union worker, campaign envelope stuffer is the perfect “real person” to deliver the message our kids need to hear. We just need to let our kids know we value these people every bit as much as the celebrities that pontificate on television or in magazines.
“Mom, did you know Oprah doesn’t even have any kids? She hardly drives and she is very judgmental about how other people live. She may be right about texting and talking on the phone while driving, but she should stick to being a celebrity.”
Let’s get real. The kid has a point.