False Idols

At 3 years of age, my son loves all things Kyle Busch (how I have a NASCAR fan in my home is a story for another day), but he had a difficulty understanding why Busch was forbidden from racing after purposefully crashing a competitor into the wall under caution earlier last week. I explained to AJ that Kyle had made a mistake, and now he had to accept the consequences for his bad choice: his sponsors are angry, his owner is reconsidering their relationship and he may not drive the familiar #18 M&Ms car next year.

It is a lot for 3 year old to understand, but in the last 15 years alone, we have seen many heros fall from grace. OJ, Ray Lewis, Ben Roethlisberger, Barry Bonds, Pacman Jones, Kobe Bryant, and Jayson Williams all come to mind.

Then, this week there was Joe Paterno. I watched television yesterday with disgust as young adults had a tantrum in the streets; their hero had fallen from his pedestal and the dissonance was more than they could handle. As I watched the angry mob topple over a news van, I was saddened by the realization that their response to disappointment was worse than my son’s.

My son was sad, but inquisitive. He struggled with knowing that his own hero was fallible, but (even, and especially, at 3) he repeatedly asked me, “Why?”

Had these students read the report? Shouldn’t they have been sad, rather than angry?

Shouldn’t they have just gone back home to study?

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