In an ideal world, all adults would be good role models for children.
Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal word - and even some folks who appear to be heroes turn out to have feet of clay.
Some 40 years ago, we lived in a small Pennsylvania community about 30 miles from State College, home of Penn State. Joe Paterno was already an icon. He insisted that his athletes keep up with their schoolwork - they were there to get an education. The program that he ran appeared squeaky clean.
He proved his loyalty to Penn State by turning down a huge contract offer from an NFL team to coach in the pros. He vowed that he was more interested in coaching college athletes and being part of campus life at PSU than in gaining the riches and fame of professional football.
For almost half a century, Paterno appeared to be the epitome of what every college coach should be. He and his wife lived modestly in a small home and made continuous, generous donations to the school.
So how could someone so seemingly decent and incorruptible have his whole career tarnished? How could he help cover the tracks of a sexual predator?
Sadly, at some point Paterno bought into the idea that protecting the football program he had built was more important than protecting Jerry Sandusky's victims. It was the college football equivalent of becoming "too big to fail" - the program had to be shielded from scandal.
Now Paterno's legacy is in ruins. The power of the program he built corrupted him. A decent man became indecent. And Sandusky's victims paid the price.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.