Leaving a legacy

I was interviewed on radio the other day and the female show-host asked me why I was so passionate about parenting. I responded as I always do when asked this question. ‘How can anyone not be passionate about the creation of a human life that is in essence an extension of you.’ She thought this was an insightful response. I just thought, as I always have, that it’s really nothing out of the ordinary, because I believe this is how it should be.

Watching the world’s greatest tennis player extend his greatness in Australia this weekend, I was surprised during his acceptance speech. Roger Federer made mention of the fact that this was his first Grand Slam victory as a father! I watched the game and had hoped that Andy Murray would have put up more of a fight, just to make it more interesting. But, looking at Federer’s quiet confidence and steely resolve, it was obvious that the champion would prevail.

And I wondered if in the back of his mind he had his recently born baby in mind. Would this be part of the legacy he leaves behind? How to win, how to succeed, how to fulfil your destiny on the planet? I’d like to think that he was indeed thinking that.

And of-course, as the yin-yang principle dictates, we have to go from the sublime to the “huh!-not-again”! Yes, our beloved president has made the headlines again, and again it has to do with him sowing his wild oats, and it’s not with one of his three wives. This time he has fathered a child out of wedlock, who’s now four months old.

Also in the news is John Terry, the English Football team captain, who’s been having an affair with a former teammate’s ex girlfriend. The debates are running thick and fast as to whether his moral indiscretions should be a factor as to whether or not he should retain the captaincy for 2010. Some commentators are saying that the one thing’s got nothing to do with the other.

And some are saying the same about Jacob Zuma’s presidency. In essence they’re arguing that it’s fine to display questionable morals in their personal lives, and that this in-fact has nothing to do, or does not affect their very public day-jobs.

Is it fair to be remembered only for the bad and forget the good? Can a man (or woman) for that matter be a good parent despite adhering to questionable morals? And should public figures endure the kind of public ridicule that follows the exposure of their cock-ups?

If a public figure is a parent, do we expect higher standards from them?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams
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