When did we start to get concerned about people like sportsmen and politicians being role models? When I was growing up, I don't remember being told that this football player or that cricketer was a role model. They kicked a ball or bowled a ball and then got prodigiously and famously drunk. World record drunk. And we adored them for it.
But were they role models? Did we want to live our lives like them?
I don't remember ever wanting to live like Dennis Lillee. I wanted to be able to bowl like him (ha ha ha), but his lifestyle off the field was a mystery to one and all. Gossip mags had not been invented, and frankly, I don't think 12 year old boys really cared whether Dennis ever had an altercation with a taxi driver after a night at the pub or not. If he did, we would have backed Dennis, and castigated the driver for not giving a Real Man a free ride.
But positive role models now seem to be all the rage, with various groups seeming to be almost desperate to promote this person or that person as a model for our youth.
And they are sadly disappointed not long after when their latest model soils their pants and falls off the pedestal.
I am sick to death of this entire role model caper. It's only come about because we have moved from trying to motivate people via the "carrot and stick" to just using the carrot.
When I was at school, if someone acted up badly enough and often enough (which was usually twice, not 200 times), they were expelled. Simple as that. The first bad event would be treated with the cane, and if that didn't set you on the straight and narrow, out you went.
Negative role models were identified and attempts made to correct them. If those attempts failed, they were simply weeded out. Bad apples were not allowed to infect the entire barrel. Expulsion was seen as doom for the kids involved, and it worked well in encouraging the rest of us to moderate our behaviour for a while.
That doesn't seem to happen these days. The cane is long gone and expulsion seems to be a dead issue. No one will use it for fear it will jeopardise the future of the little miscreant, whilst ignoring the terrible influence the little bastard/s is having on all the other kids. In my humble opinion, and experience, kids much prefer to follow negative role models than positive ones. There is no point in promoting positive role models - the aim should be instead to eliminate the negative role models as rapidly and expeditiously as possible.