Students at Desoto Central Middle School in Mississippi were lectured on the life of rapper Jay-Z as a role model for success.
This caused concern among parents who were baffled at the idea of their children learning about a rapper whose music discusses the topics of drug dealing and gang life. Using Jay-Z as a model of success only gives one narrow viewpoint to the meaning of success.
“I would define success as being happy with where you are in life. Happiness is an important factor in success,” senior Karl Steiger said. “If you live life without any regrets, you’re doing well.”
Success goes beyond diamond rings and a lavish lifestyle. It should be a contentment that results from within. Teaching young teenagers that success comes from material possessions and an overabundance of money only limits their potential.
“I wouldn’t consider Jay-Z a good role model of success simply because he’s not a pebble that creates a positive ripple in the water,” senior Michael Hooten said.
There is no doubt that success is a term that is subjective for each individual. One individual can view him or herself as being the most successful while doing things he or she is passionate about. Another individual could view that same success as a failure and instead base success on what materialistic items he or she has come to acquire.
Desoto Central Middle School should have created a curriculum that showed various viewpoints of success. The measurement of success is not a “one size fits all” standard.
Jay-Z and his rise to the top is an idea that can enchant a person with the classic story of rags to riches. However, do riches equate success? Alongside that, was his climb to the top something that should be broadcasted to school aged children?
Maybe using his music career as an example of his success was not their best idea. Jay-Z has done more than just music, having his own clothing line and also building a career as a sports agent. There is no doubt he has excelled, but has the image he’s created made him the ideal role model for children?
What about the story of Bill Gates? Or the story of Steve Jobs? They both climbed their way to being well-known.
Success can also be seen in those who surround us. What about our parents? Our professors?
“I find my last football coach, Ben McEnroe, to be a good role model for success, because he has a family that he loves. He’s doing something he loves since the day he started playing. I know he enjoys every day of his job,” said Hunter Horn, California Lutheran University alumnus.
Success should come from accomplishing a goal. It is an experience that differs from one person to another. It should not simply stem from the attainment of unnecessary things and a life filled with vanity. There is no one answer to defining success. It is an individual experience.
Published Oct. 9, 2013