|WWF Parents/Parents and Kids/Learn From the Superstars
Interview with Al Snow
Al Snow, a lifelong resident Lima, Ohio, is one of the World Wrestling Federation's most humorous personas. He sometimes carries a mannequin head with him to the ring, and claims that "Head" talks to him. His character may be goofy, but Al takes his responsibility as the father of two very seriously.
How old are your kids?
Al:My son is 11 and my daughter is 12.
Do you let them watch World Wrestling Federation programming?
Al:Nine times out of 10 the kids are right there beside me watching the show. If by chance the kids happen to go somewhere else in the house to watch TV, I get up to see what they're watching. And if I don't approve of what they're watching, whether it is this show or any other show, then I exercise my parental rights and say, "No, you can't watch that right now. Turn the channel."
Are there any shows that you don't let them watch?
Al:Not really. There are specific elements of different shows that I would care for them not to see. I'll turn the channel when those specific elements, theme or segments come up. I'll turn the channel back when that segment is over. I know that younger kids view the world differently than adults do, so they're going to take things in a different context than what may be intended for an adult audience.
How did you make the decision to let them watch Federation shows?
Al:The same way I make the decision to let them watch any show. If we all happen to be there watching a particularly enjoyable show, then I'm there to supervise it. When I'm on the road, my kids watch the show with my wife.
Al:For every right you have in this country, you have a responsibility. Your parental rights have parental responsibilities that go along with it. I don't ask anyone else to raise my children. I don't ask teachers, friends, neighbors, co-workers and I certainly don't ask the entertainment industry or the news media to raise my children. I raise them. Why? Because if I decided to have them, then I feel it's necessary for me to raise them and have the responsibility to do so. I think that it's not too much of me to ask for somebody out there to do the same thing. It's a shame that in this country, today, I have to get a license to have a dog, but anybody can have a child.
What do your kids think about Head? Is it safe to say that they get what Wal-Mart didn't?
Al:Yeah, they get it the way that it's intended to be gotten. I understand that it's a double entendre and adults take it one way, but the kids take it exactly the way it was meant to be taken. When I refer to "What does everybody want? What does everybody need?" I'm actually referring to that plastic mannequin head. The idea being, here I've spent all this time working to get some recognition and I still am not getting recognized. Everybody's chanting for a plastic head, and not me.
You're a comedic persona on television. Would you consider yourself a normal father?
Al:I guess. You'd have to ask my wife and kids that question. They'd probably say that I'm not exactly normal. Life with me is anything but boring. But for the most part, I'm an average father. I have very conservative values and I try to instill those in my children, which for me is what I do. Now, you may have liberal views, and I guess that's basically what I'm saying, don't look outside the house for a role model. People have pushed this ideal lately, especially since Hillary Clinton wrote, It Takes a Village. To me, that's a way of shifting the responsibility you have to raise your own child. I'm not a role model for your children. I'm a role model for mine. Why? Because they're my kids. My wife is a role model for my kids. She is a not a role model for anybody else's kids.
Al:Your child should have whatever values and moral outlook you instill in that child. You should instill it strong enough where he can look at me, and if I'm doing something that doesn't jell with whatever values you instilled in him, then he can make the decision that I'm not the person to emulate. And this is because of the values you, his parent, instilled in him. Instead of you shifting the responsibility to me to instill some kind of values and moral turpitude into your child, you should be doing that. If at any time your child is looking outside of his or her home for a role model other than his or her parents, there's something missing in your household.
Al:It's okay for your child to idolize me. My own children idolize public figures such as my when my own son idolized Stone Cold Steve Austin for a time, and The Rock and Michael Jordan. It's human nature. We as adults do it. We idolize politicians, actors and sports figures. It's normal. But when you have to look outside of your house for somebody other than your parents to be a role model, then your parents are not doing something for you. And you can make every excuse you want to make. My wife is basically a single parent 99 percent of the time because of my job and me being on the road. But those kids don't look outside the house for another role model. They look to her and they look to me.
How can certain experiences shape a person's sense of parental responsibility?
Al:You can claim that you've got it hard. You've got to work at McDonald's; you don't have this much money. That's just an excuse because your parents, your grandparents, their parents, all went through a lot more. They went through war, famine, pestilence, the Depression, dustbowls. We've gone through nothing. The worst thing that we can complain about is that we can't afford a big screen TV. I know there are a lot of people out there that have hard times, and believe me, there were plenty of times when my wife and I didn't have money for food and things like that. But we picked ourselves up and went on. We didn't use it as an excuse or a justification for behavior that didn't fit socially or civilly within society.
Al:I'm not saying this because I work here; I truly feel this way whether I worked here or not. I know there are a lot of well-meaning special interest groups out there. Any special interest group, for one thing, has more interests than they do publicly say. If they're coming to you and they're saying they'll take over the parental responsibility for you, or any responsibility, understand that when you give up those responsibilities, you're also giving up your rights. If you're going to have somebody be responsible for raising your child, you're going to lose your say in how he or she is raised.