CBS Evening News ran a piece the other day on how the NFL ran a football camp for high school football players to teach them how to tackle properly. They included "the only person the kids might listen to," the kids' mothers.
The images of mothers flopping through football drills was disturbing in itself, of course. If one of those had been my mother I would have decided to play, I don't know, tennis maybe, or cribbage. Yikes.
But, what has happened to our social structure that "the only person they will listen to" is their mothers? They are not saying that these are kids from broken homes or are underprivileged. They don't hint in any way that fathers are not in the picture, or that if they are not that there's anything remarkable about that. They just imply that it is perfectly natural for mothers to be the most potent image in a young man's life, and I find that disturbing.
That is a trend that has been becoming greater and greater. Football and basketball players have increasingly spoken of their mothers as their support figure. Sometimes that has clearly been due to an absent father, and I get that, but I've seen quite a few where the father has clearly been present but has been in the background as the player speaks about his mother and the role she has played in his life.
I have to tread a bit lightly here, because I did not have a good relationship with my mother, in fact nobody had a good relationship with her, but the person I looked to as a role model and was my teacher and guide was my father, and that would have been the case regardless of how I felt about my mother. That was how boys grew up in my day. In fact any boy whose role model was his mother was destined to lead a pretty miserable life. Today that seems to be the norm, and I'm not sure whether that serves us well or not. I'm inclined to think it does not.