Sunday, December 6, 2009

Look close to home for role models

The whole Tiger Woods scandal has prompted more than a little discussion at my house.
It’s made us pause to question why we respect people we haven’t even met. And it’s made us ponder why people in the public eye do the things they do.
My daughter, Anna, who’s 15, has been right in the middle of these talks with her dad and me and has weighed in with her opinion. Our conversations have led to tough questions: Why would a husband cheat on his wife, and, in effect, his children? Why did he think he could get away with it? Should his wife take him back, if indeed he has had affairs for so many months — years, in fact?
I told my daughter that I have friends who have worked through infidelity in a marriage. But it’s been a short fling, a one-time indiscretion in most cases. Not that I condone that, I told her, because I do not. But the couple found a way to work it out and move on. I’m not sure I could do that, I shared, but others can.
But Tiger Woods’ case is different. And at 15, she’s old enough and wise enough to see the difference. She’s also old enough to see the craziness in a wife accepting a large amount of money to live in the same mansion as a cheating husband. Is there really a mansion large enough for them both?
I’ve also been alarmed to hear myself say I don’t blame her for hitting him, if that rumor is to be believed. In fact, I was glad to know she had given him hell. But that’s not the right response. Domestic violence is wrong no matter the trigger. But I said it, and I rooted for Elin.
Anna brought up another point in our conversations. Her grandpa, who died in March, loved Tiger Woods and followed his career. He enjoyed watching Tiger play golf and thought a lot of him. Grandpa, she said, would have been so disappointed in Tiger Woods. It made Anna even more disgusted with Woods because he would have disappointed Grandpa.
So what’s the lesson in this? What do I want Anna and her brother to learn from Tiger Woods’ “indiscretions”?
I want them to find role models close to home. I want them to remember how much their grandpa loved their grandmother. How he dressed her and made her meals and drove her places as long as his body and mind would let him. And how after that, he sat on the sofa beside her and held her hand and told us over and over how much he loved her, how she was still his sweetheart.
I want them to think of their paternal grandmother, who was widowed almost 40 years ago, who dated some afterwards but never found anyone else to replace the beau of her youth.
I hope they’ll emulate their great aunts and uncles, who are in their 80s and still looking after each other, the next door neighbor, who still pines for her husband more than 10 years after his death.
And, of course, their own parents. I hope my husband and I can serve as the role models they deserve. I hope by talking to them about our opinions on infidelity that they realize their dad and I are devoted to each other and have no intention of breaking our marriage vows.
In the long run, I think we all must realize that celebrity “heroes” are human. We have no idea what goes on in their lives once the camera’s glare is turned off. So instead of looking to them for some sort of model to live our life, we should look at those we really know for guidance. They are the people who won’t let us down.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately close relationships cannot always be ones to look up too. I found out about 5 years ago that my dad had been cheating on my mom for over 10 years. It was devastating not only to my mom, but to me as a daughter. The man I thought I knew as my dad... I didn't know at all... I guess it can all depend on the circumstances around you.