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April 1, 2015

This is how you do it…

On June 17th, the Oakland A’s are having a “pride night” promotion in conjunction with their baseball game. Honestly, other than perhaps paying tribute and tossing a little respect on the LGBT community, I’m not sure what the evening will consist of, and frankly I don’t care. What I care about is that they are doing it (and that they have a “scout day” and a “superhero fireworks” day and a “Korean Heritage” day and a “faith and family” day and a “Jewish heritage” day… and, and, and, and. and…). But even all of that caring was not enough to get me to write about it (cause, let’s be honest, sports team do this kind of thing all the time… it’s good for business, it’s good for the community… it’s just kind of good).

What brings us to this little ditty, friends, is the pushback against “pride night” from the less than illustrious corners of the internet, and one woman’s ridiculously perfect response to it. Enter Eireann Dolan, who’s other claim to fame you’ll have to look up yourself if you are curious… as far as I’m concerned she is admirable for who she is and what she does. Instead of ranting against the beliefs/morals/ethics/whatever of those protesting “pride night” (despite having two moms who she calls – and I’m quoting her here – “super gay”) she instead showed empathy toward the position of those protesters and offered to purchase their season tickets for that game in order to donate them to folks who will truly appreciate the event but might otherwise be unable to attend.

Again, to be clear, what really resonates here is the high ground on which Miss Dolan has chosen to set up shop. No judgement, no vitriol, no negativity at all… just acceptance and cooperation. In an era where we use the word hero a lot, often without much of a vetting process for whom we bestow the designation, I’d like to take a moment today and ponder the “noble qualities” component of the definition of the word:

I think we overgeneralize the term hero these days, confining its usage to those demonstrating courage (i.e. servicemen and women) or superior abilities in a particular venue (i.e. professional athletes). While I’m not here to question those designations, I would like to perhaps engender a little more interest in the nobility piece. It is particularly easy these days to enter into (most often disrespectful) conflict with someone you disagree with. I actually found myself inclined to engage in a flame war on Miss Dolan’s blog with a comment I felt was not only inappropriate, but (IMHO) wrong. However, fortunately for everyone involved, I had her example to follow and I took a different tack.

The idea of honorable – and by extension, exemplary – behavior as being heroic seems to have been depreciated over the years; but the example I want to (and in fact did) follow today, the example I would want my children to learn from and follow did not come from someone in uniform. It came from a caring, compassionate, and creative person who took the time to find a solution rather than pick a fight.

To me that makes Miss Dolan a hero (and by that, I do not mean a submarine sandwich).

July 12, 2012

Girls, Girls, Girls!!! (Part 1)

Filed under: Just life,Observations — Tags: , , , — sbj @ 5:09 pm

I have two things I want to write about on this topic, and I can’t decide which to do, so I’m just going to do them both separately, in no particular order.

This one is shorter, so it goes first.

I saw this picture today on Pinterest:

It had the caption “Fact: Bella Swan is not a role model for girls.”

Now, based on my limited exposure to the Twilight saga, I kind of agree with the caption. However, given the context of the picture, I do not think I agree or support what they are trying to say.

First of all, while I have nothing MORE against a woman leading an army, fighting a dark lord, or starting a rebellion than I do a guy doing these things, I do question whether any of them (or any male counterparts out there) are really the kind of role models I want my children to emulate. These are things that a person, in the wrong place at the wrong time, might do out of necessity; but there’s nothing there that I would want for my children in a peaceful, civilized world.

Perhaps if they had chosen Elizabeth Blackwell, Harriet Tubman, or Marie Curie (I could go on, but you get the idea, real women that did real things in the face or real adversity) I’d be more inspired.

My bigger point, though, is that there is nothing wrong with getting married… in fact its quite cool. It’s cool for men, it’s cool for women, its cool for everyone (if you’re into that sort of thing… if not, being single is just as cool for you). There is absolutely nothing wrong with “winding up married.”

I’d be a “house husband” in a New York minute, and be damn proud of what I did day in and day out. I cannot imagine anything more important than crafting members of the next generation. Frankly, I think if more people prioritized that and stopped imagining themselves leading fictional rebellions the world would be a better place.

I agree that a world where women are relegated to marriage, child rearing, etc. alone is an affront to women, a massive disservice to humanity, and a backsliding continuation of a horrifically misguided past; and I absolutely love seeing (at least parts of) humanity (all to slowly) moving toward more a more balanced society with women as CEO’s, legitimate Presidential candidates, and occupying any other role previously thought of a mans position. However, a future culture that disparages marriage and cast a pall of failure on someone (of either gender) simply because the (very early) return on their life’s effort is a wedding is, in my opinion, a culture that has failed.

There is little in the world that I respect or admire more than a couple celebrating 40, 50, or 60 years of marriage. In fact, if you put two 80 year old people in front of me and one said “I was CEO of a fortune 500 company for 50 years” and the other said “I have been happily married for 50 fantastic years” I wouldn’t waste a minute calling the second person the greater success.

There is no shame in marriage, some of my greatest personal role models are people who have been doing it for decades… I’d be willing to bet some of yours have as well.

September 4, 2011

They are not (nor should they be) role models…

role models

Sir Charles had it right…

Mind you, I’m not crazy about anyone using that mantra as an excuse to be a beacon of how not to behave; however, the fact of the matter is that neither he, nor any other professional athlete should be considered a role model. We do not follow, cheer for, idolize (whatever) athletes for the quality of their character, we pay attention to them because either they win, or the try to win games (preferably but not exclusively for our favorite teams).

We don’t really know anything about these guys and yet we want to be “like Mike” (that’s a nod to my generation… today’s kids want to be King James or – shudder – Brock Lesnar etc.). I get wanting to have their abilities… especially in that rub-the-lamp-and-get-it-without-working sort of way… but actually looking up to them and wanting to be them?

Again, Barkley (and Nike) had it right. Nike has come up with several of the better endorsement themes over the years, and by better, I mean somewhat responsible. This one comes to mind as well:

But… if it is a role model you are looking for, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. Notice the young man/ladie holding the door for others at the movie theater and acknowledge the role model before you. Take the time to tip your hat to a volunteer at a nearby hospital or shelter, recognizing their admirable behavior. Next time you see a parent making it all work and putting their kids first, understand that this is an actual act of character, worthy of impersonation.

Being a real role model takes consistent character and conviction; its about the litany of little things done over and over again despite lack of thanks or recognition. I’t not about the glam shot… and its anything but a slam dunk.

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