Friday, January 29, 2016

Not a role model

Lots of rain in Florida so plenty of time to sit and write.

Charles Barkley (a pretty decent basketball player in his day and now a television personality) once responded to criticism of his behavior by arguing that he was not a role model. He was not trying to excuse his behavior but pretty much trying to argue that he should not both be criticized for his behavior and also failing to be a good public model for others. The push back kind of suggested that the dual criticism comes with the territory. If you are in a field that requires public observation to exist (no fans, no money), you must accept the expectation that you present a positive public image

In this time of great attention to political figures, I was thinking about the Charles Barkley argument as it might apply to political candidates. Are the behaviors of these public figures the behaviors we admire and want imitated by our children? Who do we assume should be allowed to behave in this manner - our clergy, physicians, teachers, store owners, neighbors?

Consider the difficult job of educators in an election year. Educators are expected (required) to develop in their students certain characteristics - tolerance and acceptance of differences, honesty, a sense of responsibility for those who are less fortunate, and effective communication skills. While political correctness has probably gone too far in many settings, what has become common political rhetoric would be far beyond the pale in most classrooms.
John - make sure you study your spelling tonight. Remember we have a spelling bee tomorrow. We want to be ready to kick those students in Mrs. Smith’s class asses.  
Sue - could you get your mother to come to see me, She needs to know what a loser you have become.  
Sam - I know you are a sophomore and all, but could you try to use shorter sentences and avoid any word longer than 6 letters. You need to learn to avoid acting like you know something.  
I cannot think of a scenario in which “carpet bomb them into oblivion” would be used in a school situation and I apologize for this. There are just some situations in which my creativity fails me. 

Anyone ever happen upon a "pro wrestling" channel? You know the guys who yell into the microphone about how they have been wronged and what they are about to do to their opponent. Much political rhetoric reminds me of pro wrasslin. I guess these pretenders do draw crowds. Wait - I do remember a "pro" did become governor of Minnesota.

How might we place a label of “I am definitely not a role model” on some political behavior? What might encourage us to step back and try to imagine how certain behaviors might be viewed by others? Who welcomes many of the behaviors being exhibited as predictive of being an effective learner?

I sometimes think people with money or who have long been in a position of power confuse what they themselves can do with what they can use their authority to have done. The physical braggadocio of some of these characters strikes me as humorous, but a little bit scary as it might be interpreted by others. Are we really willing to support bullying?

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