"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things" (Philippians 4:8, NIV).
Our son Christopher seems to be grasping some of the subtle teaching moments in his life. Yesterday he told me, "NBC Nightly News has a lot of black people." We do not watch much news on the television, but I try to watch NBC Nightly News on the weekends because it is anchored by Lester Holt, a good Christian black man (see http://www.christianchronicle.org/article2026522~A_Conversation_with_Lester_Holt). I was able to mention that Lester Holt attends a Church of Christ just like we do. We want Christopher to be exposed to good black men in the media and in life. He needs to see good black men as role models. Lester Holt serves as one of them.
Of course, we took Christopher to see Bill Cosby (http://www.billcosby.com/) a couple of months ago when he came to Tulsa. In addition to being a talented entertainer, Mr. Cosby has been a bold advocate for responsible behavior among African American boys and men. He has a message that we want to be integrated into our son's life. We want him to grow up to be responsible and decent, too.
We also follow the Indianapolis Colts because of coach Tony Dungy (http://www.mycolts.net/tonydungy/blog/Dungy_Perspective), one of the National Football League's greatest coaches and most respected men. Whenever Coach Dungy is interviewed, we try to listen. In many ways, he reminds me of Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry of a generation ago. He exhibits a calm and kind competence rarely seen among coaches at any level in sports. Perhaps Christopher will notice those qualities and seek to emulate them as he grows up.
I recognize my duty to be a positive male role model, but I also recognize that I cannot be a positive black role model. I know that young black boys need positive black role models. It would be ridiculous for me to pretend to be black, but I can point to good black men, hoping and praying that Christopher will join their ranks someday.