Public role models, marijuana and our children - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Michael Phelps was photographed smoking (is that the right verb?) a bong.

It seems that a big deal is being made of this, as if it's a shameful thing. This irritates me and I feel bad for Phelps. One, we wouldn't even know about this if no one bothered to run the photo. Two, it seems as though our minds have been made up for us by the headlines. The news editors have to get our attention somehow and so are spinning this as Michael Phelps' Shame. His career is supposedly on the line.

How?? What if I don't care that Michael Phelps smokes pot? What if a lot of people don't care? What if the majority of news reading people around the world wouldn't have cared, except that we're being told this is a disaster for his career?

The fear is that his sponsors, and he has a lot of big sponsors, will drop him because of this. So far, most have not dropped him. One, a watch maker in Europe, even said 'It's a non-issue.'

I would prefer that my kids not smoke marijuana until they're adults. I think if I'd been allowed to absorb this news tidbit all by myself, without any shameful spin on it, I'd have said, Huh, I didn't know he uses pot. But I don't really have a problem with Michael Phelps kicking back with some pot. And if my fourteen year old daughter mentions it I'll tell her straight up, I don't think this is a big deal at all. I hope my kids will continue to admire his fantastic talent and the hard work he's demonstrated.

I am disappointed to learn that he was arrested for drunk driving four years ago. He should thank his lucky stars he didn't crash and hurt someone.

So, prior to this 'revelation' did you consider Michael Phelps a decent role model for children? Is he no longer a good role model for your kids?

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#2 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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I haven't spoken to anyone thus far that gives a rat's behind about it.

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#3 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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I, like you, doubt most people care about it at all. But, see, we are supposed to care because pot is ILLEGAL! And gee golly that must mean that only criminals do it.

Can't we get these silly laws changed yet? California, for one, could really use the extra money for schools that would result of all the pot violators exiting the overcrowded prison system.

Most kids choose their role models based on skills, not lifestyle anyway. And of course anyone who listend to popular music knows that there is no limit to pot verbage.
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#4 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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He's an athletic role model. I don't generally expect athletes to be moral role models, just as I don't expect actresses or "celebrities" in general to be moral role models. They have a job and they do it, just as I have a job and do it and get paid.

As far as role models for morals and values, those are called parents.
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#5 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I don't care that he smoked, but I think it's a bunch of cr@p that people follow famous people around hoping they'll do something they can embarrass them with.

I also think it's cr@p that sports figures are considered to be role models. I'm sort of with Charles Barkley on that one. Enough with the sports worship already. Yeah, he accomplished something amazing. That doesn't mean he has to set a moral example for my kids. That's my job.

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#6 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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I'd actually completely forgotten who he was, and did a quick google when I saw this thread.

No - Olympic athletes aren't people I consider role models, actually. Too many of them abuse their bodies horribly in their pursuit of "excellence". Right now, we're seeing stories about Canada's ski jumpers being advised to eat 1000 calories a day (one of them in particular that I'm thinking of is 6' tall) and even take up smoking to get their weigh down, so they can jump farther. Abusing your body to win a medal isn't my idea of a role model.

Honestly...the coverage on Phelps made him seem more like a physical freak of nature than a man winning medals through hard work and dedication, anyway. Being blessed with a hugely unusual amount of physical talent doesn't make someone a role model, imo.

The pot? I don't care at all. It's just not relevant to me.

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#7 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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I'm trying to think of who he is, I get from the posts he's an athlete of some sort. Oh is he the swimmer?

Anyway, I don't give a flying fig if he smokes pot and how absurd that it could ruin his career.

I also don't think it discredits him as a role model anymore than someone who drinks responsibly. It is illegal but it shouldn't be and I'm open about that with my kids. Many decent productive people choose to smoke pot just like like many choose to drink alcohol (although pot is actually better in many ways).

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#8 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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No, I don't care.

I actually like that more and more celebrities seem to be speaking out about their personal pot use and spreading the word that it's not addictive, it's not a gateway drug, and it's not the devil and it should be legal.

It seems to me that the media isn't going to make anyone that doesn't already think it's bad change their mind. It's one of those topics that people are pretty polarized on.

Most people that I know that think pot use is awful, shameful, terrible, choose your own word here, are the type to do what ever authority tells them too without questioning to deeply (I'm talking about people I know here, not making a broad generalization). The group I am thinking of equates the legal status of the plant with the danger of of it. They really do believe that the government made it illegal to protect us.

Then there is the group that doesn't care one way or another. I can not think of one of these people that has not at least tried it once so they know from experience that it's not a terrible drug.

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#9 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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The only people I know who are totally against pot are hardcore anti-drug (well only the illegal ones, prescription drugs of any kind seem to be A-OK) and to a fault imo.

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#10 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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I had to scratch my head at the idea that a 23yr old with a bong was considered national news.
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#11 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:32 PM
 
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I had to scratch my head at the idea that a 23yr old with a bong was considered national news.
My thoughts exactly.

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#12 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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I don't consider drug users role models. Though in general, I feel there are few if any real public role models anymore (not that there ever really were). No one is perfect in public or private - but I'd rather my DS not look up to someone who is known to use drugs. I was disappointed to hear about Michael Phelps. I realize I am most likely in the minority about this on MDC but there it is. I didn't rant about it, but my passing thought when seeing it on the news was, "him too? geez."


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#13 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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I actually like that more and more celebrities seem to be speaking out about their personal pot use and spreading the word that it's not addictive, it's not a gateway drug, and it's not the devil and it should be legal.
The *only* reason that it bothers me how many celebrities are "out" with their mj use is that it really highlights the social-economic (racist as well) war that the "war on drugs" is AND YET PEOPLE AREN'T UP IN ARMS ABOUT IT. Michael Phelps is photographed using illegal drugs and admits it in public, with no legal repurcussions. If he were of a poor colored man he would be locked up right now :

 

 

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#14 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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I don't think we should teach our children that they should only do things to please other people; and that if they are not pleasing to others, then they should be ashamed.

People each have their own lights to let shine. For many different reasons.

eta: this is a good time to teach that we do not judge and gossip. We are not better or worse than other people. It is not our place.
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#15 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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Anyway, I don't give a flying fig if he smokes pot and how absurd that it could ruin his career.

I also don't think it discredits him as a role model anymore than someone who drinks responsibly. It is illegal but it shouldn't be and I'm open about that with my kids. Many decent productive people choose to smoke pot just like like many choose to drink alcohol (although pot is actually better in many ways).
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Very well said! thank you!
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#16 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:54 PM
 
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I had to scratch my head at the idea that a 23yr old with a bong was considered national news.
LOL This.

I honestly don't care what he does in his free time, provided it isn't hurting anyone else. Michael Phelps is not my child or my responsibility. Jeez, he's 6 months older than me.

Likewise, I cannot see how smoking pot should effect his career at all. It's hardly a "performance enhancing drug", in this instance.

In the same breath, I'd like to mention that role models are not perfect, nor should we expect them to be. I'd rather my children choose role models that DO have flaws and make mistakes. Why? Because a strong person will handle those mistakes and flaws with dignity, grace and conviction.... which is the example I would love for my children to follow. Not "don't ever make a mistake", because that is highly unlikely.

Not saying that smoking pot is a flaw or mistake, since, to quote Kat Williams that adequately describes my opinion, "It's just a plant. It just grows like that. And if you just happen to set it on fire..."

Likewise, being famous for ANYTHING does not make you a role model. It makes you famous.
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#17 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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The only people I know who are totally against pot are hardcore anti-drug (well only the illegal ones, prescription drugs of any kind seem to be A-OK) and to a fault imo.
I've known two people in my life who were totally anti-drug, because they were illegal - no other reason. Okay - I've known more than two, but the two I'm thinking of stuck in my head...because they both drove drunk, but didn't see drinking as a problem, because alcohol is legal, even though drunk driving isn't....and is far more harmful than smoking a joint.

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Likewise, being famous for ANYTHING does not make you a role model. It makes you famous.
:
I don't get why fame, in and of itself, is considered a virtue these days.

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#18 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 04:10 PM
 
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I had to scratch my head at the idea that a 23yr old with a bong was considered national news.
Yep. I am also scratching my head at the fact that we seem to elect people who actually believe it's a good idea to lock people up for years for smoking pot. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that pot is a great idea, but it's not the worst thing ever. I'd rather someone smoke pot and stay home stoned than get drunk and drive. The fact that Michael Phelps took a bong hit isn't even a blip on my radar. He has no responsibility to anyone's children or to anyone to be a role model. He's just a regular guy who happens to be really good at swimming.

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#19 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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I personally don't care, even though I dont want my ds smoking doobies, but the reason it is new is because ... it isnt just a 23 yr old with a bong. IT IS MICHAEL PHELPS!!!!! OMG!! Bow down now, kidding. Another board I visit that consists of that age range worships him. The girls want to marry him (nail him) the guys want to be him. Hero worship. Whatever. I think he is unnattractive. Yes, they do care. Yes they do follow. I dont care, I am 36.

Also, those that really get into the sports always want to know how the megastars (Lance Armstrong & Phelps) do it. So is smoking pot the answer?Lets all get loaded and see how far we can ride a bike

Look how long Anna Nicole Smith was featured in the news! This country only goes for the tabloidy news anymore anyways. Jessica Simpson gaining 10lbs just knocked Obama off a cover.

sigh.
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#20 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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I personally don't care, even though I dont want my ds smoking doobies, but the reason it is new is because ... it isnt just a 23 yr old with a bong. IT IS MICHAEL PHELPS!!!!! OMG!! Bow down now, kidding. Another board I visit that consists of that age range worships him. The girls want to marry him (nail him) the guys want to be him. Hero worship. Whatever. I think he is unnattractive. Yes, they do care. Yes they do follow.
You know...I "followed" a few heavy metal bands in a big way when I was younger. That doesn't mean that I would take up cocaine or trashing hotel rooms just because I heard they did that. I didn't quit smoking pot back then just because my "heroes" (Iron Maiden) weren't known as druggies, either.

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Also, those that really get into the sports always want to know how the megastars (Lance Armstrong & Phelps) do it. So is smoking pot the answer?Lets all get loaded and see how far we can ride a bike
Anybody who thinks that smoking pot is the secret to being a world-class athlete isn't paying any attention. I loved pot when I was young, but a physical performance enhancer it wasn't!

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#21 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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I am sick of the misinformation in this country regarding pot use. And yeah, I could care less who smokes pot, Michael Phelps included. It would be one thing if he were using a performance enhancing drug, but I think we all know that pot does not fall under that category. Celebrity worship in general is just so stupid to me, but that's a whole other thread.

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#22 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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I also generally don't consider athletes to be role models. The one thing about Phelps that I can see some people finding inspirational is that he used swimming in a positive way to deal with ADHD and overcoming some bullying he was experiencing.

I personally thing pot should be legal and don't care who smokes it. I think it's nuts that some over-zealous DA is looking into charging him with a crime.

However, for now, it's not legal. If my kids bring it up, I'll use it to discuss how sometimes our decisions have ramifications that we cannot anticipate. For example, if you have an arrest record, that arrest record can surface in the future in ways that might surprise you.
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#23 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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I believe that someone can be a role model even if not all of their behaviors are worthy of being modelled. I'll be teaching my kids that. Going by the Desiderata--although the quote is about comparing oneself to others--I believe that it can also be applied to learning something from everyone:
"If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself"
Each person is going to have some positive attributes that are worthy of emulation, but not all will be. I don't like in a world so black and white that I won't try to teach that to my kids. Barack Obama was a pot smoker and he still smokes cigarettes. I find many positive attributes about his character but I'm going to reject as a role model for me because I religiously and on principle decry smoking (of anything).

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#24 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Barack Obama was a pot smoker and he still smokes cigarettes. I find many positive attributes about his character but I'm going to reject as a role model for me because I religiously and on principle decry smoking (of anything).

That's a great point. I am disappointed that he still smokes cigarettes, but I lost my mom to lung cancer, too. Obama is most definitely a role model, IMO.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#25 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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The *only* reason that it bothers me how many celebrities are "out" with their mj use is that it really highlights the social-economic (racist as well) war that the "war on drugs" is AND YET PEOPLE AREN'T UP IN ARMS ABOUT IT. Michael Phelps is photographed using illegal drugs and admits it in public, with no legal repurcussions. If he were of a poor colored man he would be locked up right now :
He would have been arrested (quite publicly too I'm sure) if he had been caught with that bong and a bowlful. But having a photo of you and a bong is not enough (thank goodness!) nor would be confessing to using.

Does anyone think it was stupid on his part to allow someone to photograph him smoking out?




Wow... page 2 and nobody has posted anything anti pot. I'm kind of surprised.

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#26 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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How did I miss that Obama used to smoke pot? For sure he's still a role model in my eyes, in fact I think I like him a bit more now :

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#27 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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I'd rather someone smoke pot and stay home stoned than get drunk and drive. The fact that Michael Phelps took a bong hit isn't even a blip on my radar. He has no responsibility to anyone's children or to anyone to be a role model. He's just a regular guy who happens to be really good at swimming.
:

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I also generally don't consider athletes to be role models. The one thing about Phelps that I can see some people finding inspirational is that he used swimming in a positive way to deal with ADHD and overcoming some bullying he was experiencing.

However, for now, it's not legal. If my kids bring it up, I'll use it to discuss how sometimes our decisions have ramifications that we cannot anticipate. For example, if you have an arrest record, that arrest record can surface in the future in ways that might surprise you.

yep

i'd also like to add that, even though i choose not to use pot when i'm pregnant, nursing or responsible for child care, this is the same attitude i have about alcohol.
i don't see anything wrong with having a few drinks when my husband and i are on a date-- granted i'm not pregnant, and wont be nursing before it's out of my system!
the fact that pot is illegal is my biggest reason for staying away from it, for the reasons i quoted from the PP. i would prefer it if my LOs waited until they are adults (it'll be a while-- one is still in fetus form ) to use it, but i would be MUCH MUCH more upset if i found out they were using alcohol before they were adults.
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#28 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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I never really thought of him one way or another, but I don't have a problem with him smoking marijuana, and it wouldn't make me think less of him as a role model if he was someone my kids looked up to! We don't like or watch the Olympics, so I'm sure they don't even know who he is.

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#29 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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I didn't consider Michael to be a role model before and my feelings on that haven't changed. All I know about him is that he's an excellent swimmer due to hard work and winning the genetic lottery.

I would prefer my children to have local role models like our pastor or maybe a coach if they have a good one or a teacher if they have a good one - and of course I hope that my husband and I would be role models. I don't think celebreties make good role models because unless you really get to know them face to face, I don't think you can really know what makes them tick...kwim? To me, it isn't the actions but the motivations behind the actions. I am cynical and never really trust the motivations of celebreties when they do stuff.

I don't know enough about pot to really comment on that aspect of it...I myself enjoyed it when I was younger but am too afraid to smoke it now since most employers around here test for it.
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#30 of 181 Old 02-03-2009, 09:27 PM
 
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I also don't consider Michael Phelps a role model- I agree with the other posters that said being famous does not necessarily mean you are a role model. I feel that it is my responsibility to teach my children and set examples for them, not some random athlete. Even if it was someone my child looked up to, I think it would be a great teaching moment.

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Does anyone think it was stupid on his part to allow someone to photograph him smoking out?
I would be very surprised if he knew the picture was even taken- it sounds like it was taken at a party. Everyone has a camera phone these days- it would be easy for someone to snap it without him knowing. I feel bad for him in that regard.

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