When we cancelled the cable last year, we didn’t realize at the time the bullet we’d be dodging in raising our son. No Nickelodeon. No Disney Channel. No Sponge Bob Square Pants or Hannah Montana. PBS’ Electric Company and CyberChase are pretty much the only TV my son watches during the week. We do have a regular “Family Movie Night” every Friday, allowing just about any PG movie of my son’s choosing from our local library. But when it comes to celebrities, I’m not even sure my son knows the meaning of the word.
There’s no Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers or those twin boys living in the hotel. I’m sure he knows who those people are – he does go to school where he picks up all sorts of stuff besides reading, writing, and arithmetic. But he doesn’t watch their shows. Or see their movies. Or get caught up in the fever of all that Disney sugary pop-culture.
My son is totally into sports (he plays at least one sport every season) and we’ve gone to many professional basketball, baseball, and hockey games. But he wouldn’t know Pablo Sandoval from Jerry Rice. He loves the sport not the player. The only name of an athlete he’s latched on to is Michael Phelps. It didn’t help that the year he joined our community’s swim team was the same year as the Summer Olympics. My son was more proud of his first trophy than Michael Phelps could have been about all his gold medals. Weeks later when the scandal broke of the swimmers recreational marijuana use, my son had already moved on to Flag Football. Not that he would know what “pot” was other than the thing mom uses to cook dinner.
With sports figures in the tabloids as much as musicians, actors, and celeb-utantes, you’d think he had caught wind of some scandal. But the truth of the matter is that we’ve never put any stock in the idea of fame. While a professional athlete may make more money in a year than Tom Cruise that person has never been the reason why we enjoy the sport. Replace Tiger Woods with another golfer and he would still watch the Masters on television.
I don’t think most celebrities make good role models. Especially these days where a sex tape and reality show make you famous. My son has excellent role models: his family, his uncles, his grandparents. There are people in the community, police officers who keep us safe, firemen who rescue us. There’s a hero in every book he reads. He has so many role models that he doesn’t even know what he’s missing. And that’s a good thing.