It seems these days we have no heroes.
People that once served as people to look up to, occupiers of the walls of boys and girls rooms as examples to aspire to, get disgraced every day. I spent hours reading about the falls from grace of some of baseball’s recent great players, Chad Johnson and Michael Vick from the NFL, and (begrudgingly) Joe Paterno. I’m almost afraid to get too attached to any particular star because they turn out to be some sort of cheater, a jerk, or just plain ignorant.
The recent example of Lance Armstrong would seem to serve as another lesson that there is no one we can trust. I could go on and on with recent examples: Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, etc. All sports figures who have achieved great athletic feats but have been accused (and several found guilty) of using performance enhancers.
Without speaking to their guilt or innocence and thinking upon a greater picture, what does this say about our culture these days? Could the answer be as simple as “do whatever it takes to get ahead”? Given recent examples and speeches and politics, it seems that way. Do we really want to be teaching our kids to cheat to win or do we need to be teaching them that honest play and hard work will reward them? It’s a difficult concept to instruct without mentioning so many failures.
It’s hard for me to think of a way to teach my son the difference between right and wrong without destroying the hope that someone out there can do it well without having to cut corners and still instill some sort of virtue. It would appear that most people that are good but don’t cheat display an extreme hubris. That arrogance eventually gets them into trouble.
I can’t help but wonder if we have lost all our heroes, and when one does come along, we hardly notice or even care.