Daddy, is it true? – Helping our children deal with Bill and a world of fallen role models.

9 Dec

I love the Cosby show.  I think that my favorite episode is when Rudy plays her football game, and does the Rudy shuffle.  The entire series was so funny, so positive, and so… wholesome.  Due to the wonders of Hulu, I introduced my sons to the Huxtable family.  We would sit and laugh together on the couch, and would discuss afterwards what we learned, and what we enjoyed about the show.

When the news broke about the allegations against Bill Cosby, a legend of Hollywood, I didn’t want to believe it.  It hurt.  It was if one of my cherished childhood comics had been ripped in two before my eyes (which really would have been tragic).  Like many other negative news stories, I ignore it, and hoped that it would go away.

It was only a matter of time before my sons heard the news.  We were walking through Target checkout line when they recognized his face on the front page of every magazine.  Within a few seconds, they knew the stories were not good.

Daddy, is it true? 

At first, I ignored the question.

I could tell by the tone of his voice that my son already knew what it would mean.  It would mean the death of a childhood memory for them.  It would mean a piece of their innocent worldview would be destroyed.  It would mean another role model destroyed by the power of wealth and fame.  I was stunned, and didn’t know what to say.

Daddy, is it true?

Luckily, it is a question that I cannot answer.  I am not Bill’s judge, jury, or one of the alleged victims.  I don’t need to investigate for I am not in charge of justice.  I don’t need an apology for I am not one who was hurt.

I am simply a father raising boys in a world of fallen role models.  I must look into the eyes of my son, and answer the question, “Daddy, is it true?”  and walk him through the ramifications of that question.

While quite speechless there in the checkout aisle at Target, I know what I want my boys to understand.

1.  Follow others only as they follow Christ.

People are not meant for pedestals.  We are marred by sin, and are often controlled by its power.  We long for something beautiful, and want to gaze upon something (or someone) that we perceive as better.

We want someone to look up to, and to pattern our lives after.  Pedestals in today’s world are often based upon – fame, success, fortune, and power.  However, these pedestals should not be emulated.

Through the grace of God, Paul said, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.”  Paul’s pedestal was entirely dependent on his decisions to follow Christ.  (1 Corinthians 11:1)  Due to human sinfulness, all role models are limited in longevity and scope.

Follow others only as they follow Christ.

2.  Never seek a pedestal. If you find yourself on one, give it away.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is deeply ruled by sin.  Pedestals bring power, and humans rarely handle power well.  All power corrupts.  Western Christianity is littered with men and women who had good intentions, and were corrupted by the power that pedestals bring.

When placed on a pedestal, we receive attention.  This attention feels nice, and we don’t want to lose this attention.  When placed in this spotlight, we worry that our faults and cracks will be seen, so like the Christmas tree which gets turned to hide its bare spot, we turn upon our pedestal to hide.

True power is revealed when one releases power – this is what showed Jesus’ power.

3.  Jesus alone deserves a pedestal.

Jesus alone was able to handle power.  Jesus, who being in the form of God, didn’t think that power was something to grasp or control, but he was willing to let power go.  This is why God exalted him to the highest place, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Jesus, to the glory of God the Father.   (Phil 2)

When we began to watch the Cosby Show, I didn’t say to my boys, “Boys, Bill is a good man.  You should listen to him, look up to him, and follow him.”  They did it naturally because he was funny.  Because he is famous.  Because he is on TV.

How important it is for me to daily present Jesus in a good light.  For us to sit around and read about his life.  How important it is for me to say, “Jesus is a perfect man.  You should listen to him, look up to him, and follow him.”

Today, may you point your children to the only role model that will never fail.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is the father of three awesome boys who keep him reflecting on authentic faith in a changing culture.  If you have questions for him, you can contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

4 Responses to “Daddy, is it true? – Helping our children deal with Bill and a world of fallen role models.”

  1. johnhughmorgan3 December 9, 2014 at 08:26 #

    Maybe you shouldn’t look to the famous people for role models or anybody else you don’t know personally. It may be wise to look at the Godly men in your own community and take the family off the pedestal.

    • gdavidboyd December 9, 2014 at 16:09 #

      You are right. Encouraging our children to follow those who are family members, or people whom they can know is important. However, even those people can let us down, that is why I hope that the first person that I direct them to is Jesus. Thanks for reading!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] How many men will we broadcast exposing them to a spotlight that their faults cannot hide?  How long will we set pastors upon pedestals that they cannot maintain? […]

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