Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

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?


4 Responses to “Myron Rolle: A parenting success story”

  1. Ms. D said

    “If you think I am overstating the case, ask a teacher. They see it every day.”

    Okay, so I will answer. 🙂 Yes, this happens every single day. Here is an instance: I have 114 students. Of those students, each 6 weeks, I have about 25-30 failing my class. Each 3 weeks, I take 2-3 conference hours to call all 25-30 parents and let them know that Johnny is in danger of failing or did fail the 6 weeks. If you can imagine, many of these parents do not have working phone numbers on file with the school. Isn’t that insane? Johnny gets hurt during soccer practice and who can be reached? No one. I leave messages and call back frequently. Out of 25, maybe, and I mean maybe, 2 parents call me back to discuss an intervention plan.

    On their failing progress/report cards, I write “Parent conference requested.” This school year alone, do you know how many parents have ever called me saying they saw that statement on a report card and wanted to get involved? Out of the 180 or more times I wrote that in a single year? One. One parent called me after seeing that, all year long.

    Then, at the end of the year, I have to call the ones who failed the entire semester and would you believe some of those parents have the nerve to accuse me of not telling them until it’s too late?

    I am more to many of those students than their parents are, which is so sad, because it shouldn’t be that way. If parents and teachers could work together to better help these kids, so much more could be done, but so many, too many, parents think it’s the teacher’s job to do everything for the student, especially at the high school level. Despite that, I still and will always continue to do everything I can for each child, because you never know what they are getting at home.

    So, I whole heartedly agree with you, sanity, that involvement will make them or break them. A few times a year, I call my A students’ parents to tell them how proud I am of them, and what a good job they are doing in class and that whatever the parent is doing at home, please keep on doing, it’s working. Do you know how many of those parents can be reached at home or on a cell phone? ALL OF THEM.

    I believe involvement to be the single largest influence on whether a child succeeds or fails.

    Thank you for sharing that with us.

    • sanityinjection said

      Ms. D. – Thanks for the confirmation from the trenches, and thanks for the work you do in trying to give kids the opportunity to succeed.

  2. Ms. D said

    Well, I wouldn’t be a good teacher if I didn’t bore you with proportions, percentages and calculations! 🙂

    And you are right, in a way it IS from the trenches. It’s a battle, and the sad thing is, it’s often lost. But the times when it isn’t, those are glorious times!

  3. first trimester…

    […]Myron Rolle: A parenting success story « Sanity Injection[…]…

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