The last few days have had a lot of headlines about perceived “heroes” not acting very heroic. Mainly, football players abusing family members. However, this is not old news is it? There have been countless other stories of professional athletes who break the law in a multitude of ways and for some reason nothing comes of it. As a mom of boys, it infuriates me. Commonly, little boys look to athletes as heroes and what kind of an example is that. We don’t watch a whole lot of sports and so I am not sure if that will happen with my boys. I’m not saying we don’t like sports. In fact, both my husband and I are pretty big sports fans and are always perusing scores and headlines on ESPN of our favorite teams. The main reason we don’t watch sports is simply that we do not have time. (Unless, it is the Olympics, when we make time and also disregard all screen-time rules for the boys.)
However, another reason we don’t watch sports is because it isn’t safe to watch with kids in the room. Sure, during the actual event, the only concern is maybe some “bad lip-reading” of someone cursing but the commercials are another story. Have you seen the commercials that are on during a football game? This post from Greg Trimble’s blog pretty much sums it up. And we wonder why people seem to shrug off the entitlement attitude, the violence and objectification of women and the giving over one’s agency to an alcoholic vice? I once heard that you can gauge the quality of the show you are watching based on the target audience of the commercials. I need to be sure that no one thinks that I am saying that all football fans (or players, for that matter) are chauvinistic, alcoholic, egotistical jerks. I am not. However, the commercials seem to plant a lot of ideas that just push the envelope of what is okay and accepted and you can’t help but let your conscience be seared a little bit every time. And it isn’t just football. I love to watch tennis. (Don’t judge, it is a great sport!) Even there, with the “classier” commercials for Rolex and Mercedes, the ads, (especially for perfume/cologne), can drive away the spirit.
Back to the lack of heroes. There are other instances, too. A few years ago, a Yankee’s outfielder let an umpire call a batter out even though the outfielder had missed the catch. The mistake was caught on tape for all the world to see that he was a liar. People said, “That’s just the way you play the game! You do what you can to win.” Seriously!? I don’t want my boys raised to think that cheating is perfectly fine, (and, in fact, a good tactic), as long as you can get away with it.
So, my friends, where have all the heroes gone? I don’t have an all-inclusive answer. I hope that my boys will find heroism in many of the characters of the scriptures. I pray that they will look to those around them – parents, grandparents, church leaders, teachers, and friends and find the ways that they act as heroes. I hope that they will be heroes themselves and exemplify the attributes of a hero while trying to draw closer to He who is the greatest hero.
In researching this post, I came across a talk by Spencer W. Kimball from April 1976 General Conference entitled, “Boys Need Heroes Close By”. Included is the following quote from Walter MacPeek, “Boys need lots of heroes like Lincoln and Washington. But they also need to have some heroes close by. They need to know some men of towering strength and basic integrity, personally. They need to meet them on the street, to hike and camp with them, to see them in close-to-home, everyday, down-to-earth situations; to feel close enough to them to ask questions and to talk things over man-to-man with them.” There is also a great poem included in the talk called “Only a Dad”. I am grateful that my boys get to have a dad who really is a hero. He passed all of my hero questions with flying colors. I am grateful that all of their grandparents, their aunt and uncles have demonstrated heroism in their own way.