, Muskogee, OK

July 25, 2013

Children should learn character, too

— Parents should teach their children the difference between skill, ability and character.

Children will admire athletes and entertainers.

Children look up to the strongest, fastest and most talented.

The proliferation of award shows and professional sports leagues suggest we never outgrow that.

But adults should be able to tell the difference between a good person and a good athlete or entertainer.

Children will struggle with those concepts.

That’s why it is important for parents to have conversations with their children about their idols.

Former pro football player Aaron Hernandez is in jail, accused in one homicide and a suspect in two other homicides.

Hernandez had a tremendous future. He was a tight end for the perennial Super Bowl contender New England Patriots.

Many fans showed their love for Hernandez by wearing his jersey and cheering him during games last season.

Now Hernandez sits in jail awaiting his fate.

Former National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun accepted a 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball this week.

An arbitrator overturned a possible suspension after Braun supposedly failed a drug screen for performance enhancing drugs after his 2011 MVP season.

Now, Braun is serving a suspension in wake of MLB’s investigation of his connection to PEDs through a lab in Miami.

Parents should use these examples for their children to learn that skill and ability differ from character.

Parents should teach children that there are worthy role models closer to home.

We could learn to be fans of skill and ability, but admire character in our neighborhoods.