Young man recently asked me to help him with his senior project about idolizing successful people in America. I found the term idolizations not positive and “warned” him that my prospective might be little different than most. It was formed by growing up in Czech Republic and playing professional hockey for two decades. Being amongst many who were considered role models yet shy away from that responsibilities. Everyone wonders and is trying to figure out how to make the country better place yet they do not want to change their behavior enough to make a difference. The story goes like this.
It was early to mid 90’s,my career just beginning to take off when I hear some members of the NBA on TV saying they are not role models during an interview. I can not remember who it was because it did not concerned me. What peeked my interest was the players were turning down the opportunity to be difference makers on the court and in the lives of many kids who were looking up to them. I made a decision at the exact moment I will not be selfish and bail on kids, my team or the society ever. I did not accomplish my success by myself. First it was my parents and my grandparents then coaches in youth hockey, veteran teammates in the pros and other mentors throughout my career and life. None of us becomes successful in whatever we do without external help. Those people felt responsible to be there for me and help if needed. I feel responsible to give back. No matter your field of success mechanic, teacher, doctor, small business owner, athlete or artist. If you are successful someone is looking up to you because they want to “make it”. Success breeds responsibility because no one needs to be mentored by someone who’s mediocre. Sounds harsh but being average at anything does not take much.
The problem we are having these days is people are just plain old selfish once they become successful, not all but enough of them. Too focused on self promotion, bragging on social media and letting us know every move they make. They’re not documenting their long road to success and what it took. It’s not the only problem. The other is how media portrays success. They do not emphasize all the hard work and sacrifice that was needed to be the best, but they focus on the cars they drive, houses they live in etc. you get the picture. The focus should be on the “journey” to success not the result. I tell young hockey players at every opportunity it is not the goal you score but what you do as a team to accomplish it. Lessons learned during the process can be apply over and over again in sports, science, art or everyday life.
If we truly want to change the world for the better we need to be better. We need to be better parents. It is not education system’s responsibility for your child to study hard and succeed, it’s yours as a parent to demand better grades. It’s not your local, county, state or federal government’s responsibilities to make your life better. It’s us that have to work harder, lead and be accountable. That’s how you create responsible citizenry and form responsible government. It is my responsibility to be a role model for my younger teammates and children who looking up to me. Many times they do not have both parents at home or none at all. I embrace these responsibilities. I did not shy from increase role on the team I played for, I embraced it. I wanted more every time the game was on the line. You want to be difference maker, do not talk about it. DO IT! Nobody’s holding you back. They can not. This is a free country and the only reason you are not doing better is you.
Personal responsibility is one of those dirty words in liberal dictionary. More responsible people we have, less big government we’ll need. There is a reason why President Obama’s administration has driven wedges (or attempted to) between citizens of our country. Break up the unity, self reliance. Bring them all down to their knees and then take care of them. That’s a page out of communist play book. I still do not believe American people fell for it, twice. But his time is coming to an end and it’s not too late to be more responsible, self governing nation again. It will not be easy. Self governing is lot more work than dictatorship. I had two grandfathers who never experienced what freedom is like but they always taught their children when it comes, embrace it. My father never quit fighting for his children to have better opportunities. As my sister said shortly after his funeral. Some people have responsibilities when they grow up, we had them since we were little kids. And I would not want it any other way.
GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES!