Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Heroes, Gurus, and False Prophets

Little boys and girls idolize their parents when they're knee-high to a duck, but what happens as they age and realize that their parents are beautifully flawed creatures?

Are we so shaken that we can't rebound from such a startling revelation? Do we become sullen or withdrawn when we realize that momma forgot to bake the cupcakes because she was exhausted from having to work two jobs?

My momma and granny were my earliest heroes and sources of strength. Our family structure was seemingly impenetrable to me as a child. I felt nothing could harm me while they were around.

The saying goes that, "little boys grow up to marry their mother, and little girls grow up to marry their father," because there's comfort in who and what is familiar. I love my momma, and loved my granny, but I don't want to marry a woman who reminds me of either them. Each person is an individual, and should not be viewed as a carbon copy of someone we treasure.

There are many wolves in sheep's clothing in the world. We'd all do well to keep a watchful eye on those we allow into our inner circle and confidence. This isn't the sky is falling, but the world I knew as a child at my granny's apron is truly a thing of the past. My hiccups and boo boos can't be soothed by kiss and hug from momma. I don't mean to sound like an alarmist.

It's easy to shift our focus to a teacher, coach, politician, celebrity, or professional athlete when we want or feel that we need someone to guide or inspire us. But again, they are human, and similar to childhood parental disappointments, they, too, will undoubtedly fail our expectations. What can we do in these situations? It's best not to put all our faith and belief in one person, but learn to disperse our energies among several people, hobbies, and tasks.

I've never followed a pied piper, and don't believe anyone should. When they crash to the earth, as we all do, they won't take us with them. It's not be selfish, but a survival tool.

It's easy to fall under the spell of a charismatic person on a college campus, a con artist on the streets of New York City if you're a recent transplant or tourist, or remain at home too long after high school or college graduation with a Svengali type parental figure.

The disappointment we experience when someone doesn't do what we think they could or should can be overwhelming at times. What does this tell us? Are our lives otherwise incomplete if we're not watching The French Open, the NBA playoffs, or a presidential primary?

There's no need for you to sit around moping, dejected, and unable to move from your armchair with the remote melded into your palm. Get out and live your life! You can bet that your self-appointed heroes, gurus, and false prophets are doing the same.

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