When I was a child, my mother used to encourage me by telling me I might someday be the President of the United States. I was taught that the President was someone to admire. He was a role model and an example of the kind of person I should try to be like.
Today, it can be discouraging to see the role models that are being offered to our children. From the ballfields to the oval office -- our youth are watching Americans be irresponsible and unaccountable.
Yesterday, baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry received the third cocaine-related penalty of his career. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Strawberry for one year for violating the league's drug policy. But Strawberry has violated more than the league's cocaine policy.
In recent years, the Yankees outfielder has been charged with domestic violence, soliciting a prostitute, willful failure to provide child support, failure to provide spousal support, federal tax evasion, possession of cocaine, violating a court order and assault with a deadly weapon.
It is hard to understand how Strawberry drew a mere one-year suspension. Especially when compared to baseball legend Pete Rose, who was banned from the game for life after a gambling violation.
Countless other sports stars, actors and musicians are being allowed to cross the role-model line without being held accountable.
Our young people already see too much violence and wrong behavior on television and on the Internet. Society should not wrap this behavior in a blanket of acceptance when it comes from our sports arenas and our government leaders.
Accountability is an essential part of a successful life. It's a character trait that can be respected and ultimately helps all of us get through tough times. We need to expect more from those who would lead our children into the future.
Help your children and grandchildren find true heroes -- the best place to start is within the walls of your own home.
--Richard Haddad, publisher