Myron Rolle: A parenting success story
Posted by sanityinjection on May 27, 2009
Unless you are an avid college football fan in general, or of Florida State in particular, you have probably never heard of Myron Rolle. I hadn’t, either. But Myron’s story is an instructive one in ways that having nothing to do with sports.
Myron was the starting safety for FSU for most of three years. Normally, such a player would be headed for the NFL. And indeed, Myron has a top-level athletic trainer to help him do just that.
But Myron is not your average football player. Many college football players struggle to graduate, or leave school to go pro without graduating. They often major in fields such as “excercise science” and avoid taking rigorous courses. Myron didn’t choose that path. His major was pre-med, and he not only graduated from FSU – he graduated with a full courseload in only 2 1/2 years. Now instead of heading for the NFL, he’s headed to Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar to prepare for what he hopes will be a career as a neurosurgeon AND a pro football player. He intends to return after a year to play in the NFL. How’s that for ambitious?
Of course Myron is not the only college football player who is smart and has big dreams. What seems to be unusual about Myron is his work ethic (in non-athletic as well as athletic pursuits) and his maturity level as far as planning for his future rather than simply living for the moment as many 22-year-olds would be. Myron’s hero isn’t a rapper, a football star like Terrell Owens or even someone like Barack Obama. He’s a gangly white dude named Bill Bradley, who successfully enjoyed a career as a nationally known pro athlete and a nationally known politician.
The question that arises after hearing Myron’s story is: Why is Myron poised for such maturity and success while so many athletes his age are getting in trouble with drugs and thugs and fathering children out of wedlock?
There are many answers, of course. Some of Myron’s fine qualities are probably inherited. The fact that he is an immigrant from a poorer country (the Bahamas) probably also serves to motivate him. But I would argue that the biggest factor in Myron’s success to date is probably his parents – Beverly and Whitney Rolle. Mr. and Mrs. Rolle instilled their children with values of respect and discipline, but also devoted themselves to nurturing their children’s minds as well as their bodies. And the proof is in the pudding, as Myron’s siblings are doing well in their own lives.
Myron Rolle is merely an extreme example of a pattern that emerges over and over again. When a child is raised by two parents who are both heavily involved in his or her life, who teach by setting a good example for their kids to follow, who stress the importance of moral values and education – such a child is far more likely than not to achieve success in life. It doesn’t matter whether the family is rich or poor, black or white, religious or secular. It is past time for our society to acknowledge that this is by far the most successful model for child-rearing and hold it up as a desirable goal. Although there are heroic single parents – many who didn’t choose that status – who overcome many challenges and raise fine children, we have to stop pretending that single parenthood is an equally valid and desirable choice. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests otherwise.
We must also reject the even more disturbing trend in which parents expect schools to raise their children for them. Today’s schools have become day care facilities, doctor’s offices, therapists, police and everything else besides institutions of learning, because parents cannot (or too often will not) take responsibility for their children. If you think I am overstating the case, ask a teacher. They see it every day.
Wouldn’t it be great if, when we teach our kids about sex and pregnancy, we also teach them that being a parent is about more than popping out a kid, feeding and clothing them and hoping they turn out OK while going on with our lives just as we did before?