Bob Tamasy: When Role Models Roll Wrong

Monday, February 17, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

The phrase may have become passé, but for quite a while we used to hear people proclaim, “That’s how I roll.” In other words, “That’s how I am,” or “That’s the way I do things.” But sometimes how you “roll” can cause problems – especially if you’re a role model.

We saw contrasting examples of this recently, leading up to and immediately after the Super Bowl. After his team defeated the San Francisco 49ers to earn the right to play in the Super Bowl, Richard Sherman, a talented defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, went on a post-game rant that prompted extensive debate over the following days.

Sherman used no profanity, but his contentious comments reminded some viewers of the antics of professional wrestlers. Frankly, my first thought was the NFL had merged with the WWE. Apparently his competitive juices were still flowing after the final seconds had ticked away. The problem was, prior to his game-clinching defensive play and subsequent in-your-face commentary, many watching the game outside of Seattle hardly knew him. And as they say, first impressions are lasting.

Then there were the measured, sportsmanlike reactions of Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning after his team was soundly thrashed by Sherman’s Seahawks in the Super Bowl, 43-8. Although clearly disappointed, his demeanor reflected the image Manning has cultivated as one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.

So is Manning a better role model than Sherman? Who knows? Whether it’s right or not, we build pedestals for people – entertainers, athletes, politicians, even spiritual leaders – who seem larger than life. But is their public persona real or fabricated? Genuine – or the product of crafty marketing and packaging? Do we really know “how they roll”?

Even the best, most appealing role models stumble. No one’s perfect, right? Whether it’s someone whose name rates front-page or evening news coverage, or some lesser known person we admire at work, church or in our community, if we probe deeply enough, we’ll find feet of clay. So what are we to do when our role models decide to roll wrongly?

In the Bible Jesus instructed His followers, “Judge not, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2). This might seem hard to apply, especially when considering persons like the reigning queen and king of chaos, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, but it’s true – we really don’t know them, or what makes them do the crazy things they do.

We also need to realize, whether we asked for the assignment or not, we’re probably someone else’s role model. It might be a colleague or coworker, child or grandchild, or someone you interact with at church or a volunteer organization where you serve. People are watching, and unwittingly we can become examples for good or ill.

Finally, we need to recognize there is only one role model truly worthy of following, only one that will never disappoint or disillusion us with bad behavior: Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Earlier in the same book we’re told to be looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

And the apostle Paul, whose writings were known for profound theology, summed it up when he stated: “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating and admiring someone’s skills and talents, whatever they might be. But there’s a danger of turning role models into idols – little gods. And God clearly declared, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). At those times when we don’t like how our role models “roll,” we need to maintain our focus on the One that never fails.

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


United Methodist Men Hold Several Events This Weekend

United Methodist Men will hold several events this weekend:  UMM prayer breakfast will be  Saturday , at 9  a.m.  with James Warren Cross as the speaker.  During  Sunday 's 11 a.m. service,  the Hon. Rev. Judge John McClarty will preach on "Break Every Chain".  The weekend will culminate at  5 p.m.  on  Sunday ... (click for more)

St. Elmo Missionary Baptist Holds Youth And Young Adult Day This Sunday

St. Elmo Missionary Baptist Church will hold its Youth and Young Adult Day Ministry on  June 14 during the 11 a.m.  worship service.  The guest speaker will be Minister Ron Jones of Abba’s House and the guest soloist will be Zapouria and Sharon Wadley.  The college and high school graduates along with other youth will be recognized for their accomplishments ... (click for more)

EPB Seeks 3.5% Rate Increase; First Since 2011

EPB on Friday morning asked its board of directors to consider a 3.5 percent rate increase to monthly electric power charges for customers, effective July 1. The board is set to vote on the measure in June. For residential customers who use 1,000 kWh of electric power in a month, this adjustment will reflect an increase of about $3.50 on their monthly bills. The 3.5 percent ... (click for more)

New CARTA Service To Enterprise South Industrial Park Has "Medium" Success So Far

CARTA officials said its new bus service from downtown to the Enterprise South Industrial Park is meeting with "medium" success thus far. Lisa Maragnano, executive director, said there have been 313 riders on the routes that began at the first of the month. That includes 241 getting aboard downtown in the early morning and 72 riding from Enterprise South in the afternoon. ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chincoteague Mourns ‘Dude’

In the span of a person’s life, there are some things that simply can’t be explained to be totally understood. And of all the spectacles I have ever personally witnessed, one of the best is that day in late July when they “pen the ponies” at Chincoteague Island, Va. I’m serious. Over 50,000 people watch every year as volunteer “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the wild ponies to the mainland ... (click for more)