With billions of people on this planet, there should be at least a handful of people who you consider an idol. No matter how old you are, it’s perfectly fine to be looking up to someone, attempting to emulate their success or follow in their footsteps.
As kids, we were asked, “Who is your idol?” I can’t recall what I answered when I was younger, but the first person that popped in my head right now is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’d bet that he would be on a Top 10 list of real American idols. When I really think about that question, I’d have to pick him. His beliefs and values regarding mankind, as well as his attitude and demeanor are highly respected by me. He definitely sets the bar of what it takes to be a true idol in my book.
Most of the time, people don’t even have to have that many qualities to be an idol. Like most of Hollywood, celebrities are idolized simply by their looks and/or acting skills, musical talent and other characteristics. Forget the reality show American Idol and the other countries’ Idols. Catchy title, but have we forgot what is important in an idol? Do people deserve to be idols just because they can do something extremely well? The easy answer is yes. But why is that?
I can think of two reasons: 1.) We appreciate and enjoy their talents. 2.) We want to be like them. There’s nothing wrong with idolizing someone. It’s way better than the alternative – haterism. That’s another slice. As for wanting to be like an idol, it’s a nice goal to have. Striving to make yourself better is always a good thing.
Here’s a head-scratcher: Are Chris Brown, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, Mel Gibson idols? It depends. These people are famous for their talents, yes, including Mr. Ex-President. On the flipside, they committed acts that aren’t idol-worthy. Huh? Anything you wouldn’t want a child doing is not idol-worthy. But since no one’s perfect, just realize that some people shouldn’t be considered idols. As Dr. King said, judge by the content of their character. If you interact with kids, make sure they’re idolizing the right person. You never know, you may be an idol in their eyes, so make sure you act right.
Last Wednesday, I was fortunate to meet one of my idols – Neil Strauss, a superb writer who writes for the New York Times, Rolling Stone and is the author of The Game, Emergency and his newest book, Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead, which I’ll be reviewing in a future slice. In a short period of time, I was able to learn his methods in researching and writing and other aspects about life. To me, they were nuggets of precious gold. Unlike golden cows, you should be able to learn, be inspired and gain insight from an idol. No need to worship them though, admiration is enough.
I recall now: In elementary school, I idolized former Oakland A’s player, pre-steroids Jose Canseco; and throughout life, Mi Madre. I love you, Mom.