Monday, September 30, 2013

Dignity, Integrity, and Role Models in Sports?....NOT

I am one of those rare bread of gals who love sports. 

Always have.

At Superbowl parties when all the chicks are in the kitchen gossiping, I am in front of the big screen screaming. 

 I played hoops in high school and college, right around the time the Title 9 stuff went down.  I was no Brittney Greiner, but I was OK, and proud to be a part of Women in Sports history in the making.

of course I made this shot:)
Back in the day, there seemed to be more athletes who exhibited dignity, integrity, and a solid work ethic.  Sports through high school and college taught me these hard learned life lessons.
I am thankful for that.
 A great role model of yesteryear is Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player to participate in the MLB.  During the volatile time preceding the civil rights movement,  he was the man for the job. 
At all times, even when he was not allowed to eat or sleep or even go to the bathroom with the team, he kept his dignity and his integrity in tact.
His story, however is about so much more than baseball.
 If you don't know how he led the way in the 50's to the much needed civil rights movement of the 60's you can watch his story in the recent movie "42" (here is the trailer)
Number 42 was arguably one of the best baseball players of all time, a hero, and a fine man.
Today however,
the troubling truth is- we have college and professional athletes who lie, cheat, juice, (illegal performance enhancing drugs) signal the "money for me"  or "throat slashing"  in the end zone, or even commit murder. 
Kind of the opposite of dignity?  YUP
Not such great role models? TRUE
Don't even mention integrity.
I could be tempted to say
But I will not, because thankfully,  we still have a few athletes who possess a little dignity. The Mannings are good guys and great football players. RG3 is a role model worth mentioning.
 Say what you will about Lebron James, but he actually is a pretty nice fella.
Last week, however, as I was watching my beloved Tampa Bay Rays on TV, I had a chance to witness a legend, hero, and fine gentleman throw his final pitch before retirement at Yankee Stadium. The experience for me was historical, and moving.
For baseball lovers, it was epic.
"Mo" throws his final pitch after 19 years in the Majors.
What?  a real present day role model?
Mariano Rivera, the best relief pitcher/closer in baseball (until he retired last week) grew up in poverty in Panama, Central America.
His soft spoken dignity and integrity is rare for a famous athlete in today's world.
He wears his genuine faith in his Savior on his sleeve daily.  What comes out of his mouth, does not degrade other athletes, but glorifies His God. His spotless reputation as an athlete and a man is not disputable.  ESPN doesn't have any dirt on him, only praise. (and that is rare) He personally, and his foundation give thousands of dollars yearly to charity.
The guy is a class act, (as the sports talk shows say:)
What about you? 
Who do you admire?
Who do you consider a present day hero?
Better question: Who are you guiding your kids to look at as a role model?
 I hope and pray it is not misguided cocky college football players, or a shallow Hollywood star.

 Even with all of its flaws, I still love sports.

I still live for College Gameday, March Madness and the World Series.

Mariano Rivera (deservedly so) is the last baseball player who will ever be allowed to wear
 the coveted #42,
the same number Jackie Robinson wore. 
There will be no others.
I pray, though, in the future,
there will be athletes that might deserve it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sexual Identity and Teens: the Double Standard?

Recently I read a blog post by a 40 something mom of teenage boys that was WIDELY applauded in the Christian community.

Mom was writing an open letter to an unidentified teen girl, letting her know that because of some provocative poses on her facebook/twitter/instagram (not sure which one) accounts, her three teenage boys would be blocking her.  These were not naked snaps, but snaps of this little gal in her jammies, probably doing something stupid like giving a sex kitten look into the camera?  Maybe, not sure exactly from the post.

Self righteous mom did make some good points in her post, and I did agree with much of what she said, in terms  of diligently policing her kids social media. 

 The interesting thing, (and incredible) however, was that she posted a picture of her teen guys on the beach, making muscles in their low slug swim trunks, inferring her family was the epitome of what a "healthy family" looks like, and acts like. 

 Sayyywhat momma??  Say even, WHAT IN THECATHAIR?

 Do you think that NO girls, teens or other-cougar might have sexual thoughts while looking at your sons making muscles in swim trunks?

If you do, think again. 

This well meaning mom of teenage boys is either extremely naïve, or is functioning out of a super-sized double standard for teens.

OK before you get me wrong, please know I would have probably had my teenage son block this misguided chick too.

But I probably would have thought twice about posting a seemingly innocent snap of my guys in swim attire and making muscles. (at least not on the same blog where I was blasting a misguided teen girl)

The fact is teens are developing their sexual identities.

Like it or not, they are sexual beings.

That is the way God made them.

As parents, we strive to guide them through these tumultuous times of Hanna Montana gone rouge, and the crazy blitz of new social media every day.

A "healthy sexual identity"  they are developing might include:

1.Talking to them OFTEN about things they see in the media, or on social media (because they WILL  see it) What is OK?  What is NOT OK?

2.Trying hard to help them NOT to develop a double standard. (guys or girls posing provocatively BOTH need to be blocked.)

3.My hunnie and I raised 2 girls and a boy.  As they grew up, we discussed their sexual purity with them often, (not just the girls) and still do with our 20 year old son in college.  None of my kids have engaged in pre-marital sex, as far as I know, and I DO KNOW because we talked about it.     ALOT. 
 We still feel NOT having sex before marriage is the biblical standard, even in this day and age. 

4.When my kids wanted to watch an R rated movie growing up, (I am being honest with you now) we allowed it, on the condition they watched it with us:)  then we TALKED  about what was OK, what was NOT OK.

5.Teenage girls (and boys) want to look attractive. That's OK.  Just don't post a "meow" picture of yourself online or anywhere else for that matter.  You CAN dress in an attractive manner without giving the looks of all of your body parts away...

6. The "don't look, don't look don't look" standard for Christian teenagers is confusing and hard. How can you decide if you like the looks of someone if you never look at them?

7.Don't get me wrong, I don't condone ANYONE viewing sexual images on the internet, or viewing people on social media in different stages of undress. 

 But as people grow up, they look at others and do decide if they are attracted or not.

And like it or not, doing that is sexual. 

Helping your teen do this in a appropriate way

 is a good thing.

By no means were Tim and I perfect parents.  We made lots of mistakes.  Our God helped us a lot. We laughed and we cried. 

 And we still do.

Now I am concerned with mastering grandparenthood:)

I am sure afore mentioned blogging momma is a good mom.  But we all need to be careful of the double standard.

And I know we are all raising our kids to the best of our ability, one day at a time, gulping deep breaths all the way:)


There is no better calling.