Being able to sing, act, or throw a ball does not make someone wise, and it does not guarantee that they will make good life choices. You hurt your children when you set these people up as role models. Just stop.
I was recently in a meeting focused on educating children about underage drinking. During the conversation, someone asked what celebrities should be brought in as role models; moms were naming actors, sports stars, and singers left and right. One mom suggested a "I don't drink; neither should you" celebrity movement, saying that her kids (who were not yet even teens) were much more likely to listen to their favorite tv star than to her.
I was the only voice of dissent in that meeting, suggesting that instead of having celebrities make commercials saying, "I don't drink; neither should you," we could give our kids the facts about underage drinking, and have honest conversations about alcohol with them. We could focus on teaching our kids how to make good decisions, instead of telling them to follow a crowd - a crowd that might not always go where we want it to go.
Role Model: a person who serves as a model in a particular behavioral or social role for another person to emulate, especially younger people
You are your child's first role model. From the time they are born, they look to you to learn about life. That is a precious responsibility, don't hand it over to someone else. Talk to your children. Be honest with them. Listen to them. Get to know their hearts, and show them yours.
Would you walk up to a total stranger on the street, and ask him to tell your kids what to do with their lives?
That is what celebrities are - strangers. We might feel like we know them, they are on our televisions and magazines everyday and we hear humorous stories about their lives on late night shows; but we don't actually know these celebrities, and neither do our children.
You can teach important life lessons without having celebrities as examples.
Please don't put your trust in a celebrity to show your kid the right path to take in life, even if they are in a kid's show, have an inspiring personal story, make great music, contribute to charities, have amazing athletic abilities, or gave a great speech yesterday. Do not hold them up to your kids, and say, "Be like this person."
You have no guarantees that the celebrity you praised won't make new decisions about what they believe, say, or do tomorrow. That is a lot of trust to give to someone you don't know, and have no personal relationship with. I am not willing to take that kind of gamble with my kid's life.
I am not suggesting that your children won't have a favorite actor, singer, or ball player. I am saying it is our job as parents to put those favorites into perspective.
Your plans, your relationship with God, and your personal decisions should not be based on someone else's life or beliefs.
You will not empower your children to make their own good decisions when you tell them to follow someone else, and do what they do. You empower your children by giving them knowledge, sharing your values, having open and honest communication with them, and teaching them to think for themselves.
Stop building celebrities up as role models for your children, and you won't have to worry when they get busted for drugs, have an affair, say something dumb in an interview, get arrested for assault, or give a hyper-sexualized performance on national television. It won't be a big deal to your kids, because they were not modeling their lives after that person anyway.
And you won't have to spend time complaining that someone, who never asked for or earned the job, stopped being a good role model for your children.