My friend was worried about his sensitive youngest son. The hockey coach said the boy was distracted. His teacher (fourth grade) reported worse work than usual. Dad decided it was time for a talk.
Ok buddy. What's wrong?
Sorry Dad. I don't feel good.
Really? Should we see a doctor?
The boy started to weep. "It's Heather."
Heather? Hockey Heather? (The only girl on the Mighty Moose team.)
What about her?
"I'm in love. And it hurts inside... so much." The tears are falling hard, now.
Dad put his arm around his son and just sat for awhile.
Then, "Listen Buddy, I understand. I've been there."
Yeah. But listen. You need to leave a little room in your head for the rest of your life. You don't want to be like me.
"Look at me. I'm old. I'm chubby. You're mom tells me what to do." He opens his empty wallet. "I don't have any money. I don't have a degree. I can't even skate."
His son stared like he'd never really seen his own father. Then they hugged again.
"You're right, Dad", he blubbered. "I don't wanna be like yoouuu..."
Later, after they'd beaten the Mooscateers, the boy asked his father if he'd really ever been in love to the exclusion of everything else in his life. "Still am", He said. "Thank goodness you're half your Mom or you'd be worthless." He winked.
My friend hopes the boy carries a picture of him, pulls it out whenever he faces a life decision, shrieks, and does the right thing.
There is more than one way to be a role model.