Crosspost: Let’s Talk About Tim Tebow For A Minute
HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kathryn Brightbill’s blog The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person. It was originally published on June 9, 2013.
I don’t know Tim Tebow, never met the guy, though from what I’ve heard from people who knew him at UF, he’s a genuinely good guy. He’s definitely someone I’d rather have representing the University of Florida than some of the other famous alumni. What I can say for certain though, is that Tim Tebow is no saint.
Wait, wait, before you get the angry mob with pitchforks and torches to come after me, hear me out. Tim Tebow is no saint because nobody is. We’re all flawed human beings trying to figure out how to live our lives, and nobody is perfect. Nobody can be perfect. Even if Tebow is the nicest guy to ever walk the planet other than Jesus himself, he’s still not perfect. Perfection is impossible. Not only that, but we don’t all agree on what “perfect” even is. No one can possibly keep everyone happy.
I’ve alluded from time to time about the pressure that comes from being put on a pedestal in the homeschool world. Being a homeschool poster child who everyone in your homeschool community looks up to as an example isn’t exactly what I would call fun. It’s something I hated as a kid, and something that I couldn’t figure out how to escape. I eventually managed to gracefully get down off the pedestal by going away to college and drifting away from the homeschooling world.
Even after having been away from that community for as long as I was though, one of the nagging things in the back of my head as I was mentally preparing myself to come out was the knowledge that there was a non-zero chance that as the story made its way through the homeschool grapevine, people would talk about me in hushed tones and wonder what went wrong. It’s why I’ve referred to myself as a cautionary tale to the homeschool subculture (and also one of the reasons why I said I could never figure out a way to even rebel). All I know is that despite being small potatoes in the homeschool world, the pressure of the pedestal that others placed me on isn’t something I’d wish on others.
So what does this have to do with Tim Tebow? Easy. Tim Tebow is, by orders of magnitude, by far the most famous homeschooler on the planet. He’s been put on a bigger pedestal than any of us ever have been, all because he’s pretty decent at the game of football.
Maybe he likes being on the pedestal, perhaps he sees it as an opportunity to be a witness for God. That’s certainly what any good little evangelical missionary kid homeschooler has heard all of their life. Whatever the case may be though, staying perched on a pedestal as high as the one he’s on for as long as he’s been on it is not something that’s easy to keep up. One misstep and you come crashing down. And as much as the cynical sports and entertainment media love to tear a person down, the church world is even more brutal.
I cringe when I see how the homeschooling and conservative Christian world talk about Tebow. With the way they’ve built him up, he really can’t win. I don’t know how he can possibly be himself when the hopes of every homeschooler, or at least every religious homeschooler, are riding on his shoulders.
Can we please have a moratorium on homeschoolers and Christian culture treating Tim Tebow as a living saint? Let the guy just be another football player for once. Stop treating him as the homeschool poster boy and let him be an actual, real person, flaws and all.