The other night my son was watching the Golden State Warriors game and giving me the play-by-play. He then mentioned that, “Stephen Curry is so awesome—he’s my hero.”
I completely overreacted. “Oh, no,” I said, “We don’t have heroes who just throw balls into hoops. Just because someone is good at a sport doesn’t make them a hero.” I was pretty lathered up about this, and my son launched into Stephen’s defense.
“Mom, he’s a good guy, he doesn’t get in trouble, and his kid was even at his press conference, so he’s a good dad.”
My response: “Is he married to that kid’s mother?” (Even writing this, I can hear how judgmental I sound… I am a terrible person.)
My little guy responded, “Yes, and they’re having another baby soon. I saw the wife—she was pregnant—at the game cheering for him.”
“Ok, but does he get in trouble?” I asked. “NBA’ers have a reputation.” (I am the worst.)
My son: “No, really, Mom. He doesn’t get arrested. Even his mom comes to the games. When he got hurt the other day, she was in the stands saying, ‘It’s ok baby, get up, you’re ok.’ So she’s like you, Mom.”
I relented. “Ok, if you say he’s a good guy and you understand that he should have good values and be a good husband, dad, and son, then he’s worthy of your admiration.”
My son: “So he can be my hero?”
Me: “Sure, one of them.”
Even after this sweet conversation, I had to Wiki Stephen Curry. His dad was an NBA’er, his mom started a Montessori School. He’s a Christian. I couldn’t find any criminal record. Stephen Curry is a good boy. And I’m the judgmental one who jumped at a stereotype. Even worse, I thought I could choose my son’s hero! What is wrong with me?
I’ll work on the judgmental bitch part, but even more interesting is that my son really defended Stephen Curry’s character. He wanted me to accept him and see him as a worthy role model. At 9 years old, he had some good facts to back up his affinity for Curry both as a man and as the 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player.
I realize little boys look up to sports stars, but I do not regret challenging his worthiness. This led to a conversation about values. Being a good husband, father, son, and citizen are what I want my son to be, and I want his heroes to model those traits. I’m not ashamed to proclaim this out loud to my kids or anyone. I am a little embarrassed for jumping to a conclusion about a man I knew nothing about… Until now. Thank you, Stephen Curry, for teaching me to chill before I chide, and for being a man worthy of my son’s admiration.
This week I wish you a moment of pause before leaping to any conclusion, and to have truly worthy people you can call your heroes.