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Being a role model: Is there a choice?

 

posted by Focused on July 28, 2009 @ 6:44 pm in SOCIETY

 

     Having  positive role models is essential for all young people, from toddlers to teenagers making their way to adulthood. A role model serves as a guide to how a young person will approach his or her life. When discussing the issue of role models, one of the recurring questions is that of whether or not one can choose or refuse to be a role model.

 

       Being a role model is not a choice. We become role models (often without knowing it) relatively early in our lives. An eight-year old child is, to a certain extent, a role model to his or her four-year old sibling. Adults are definitely role models to children. Every household, neighborhood and community has role models.

      

         The degree to which adults have embraced their responsibility is a different story. Unfortunately, today's common assumption is that public figures are the only ones from whom 100% accountability is expected in the role model department. Where can a society go with that type of thinking? No country can build a solid social fabric if people underestimate or reject their roles as life guides to younger people. Why does being a role model come across as such a heavy burden?

 

         This is perhaps due to the misconception held by many that role models are supposed to be perfect. Wrong! We are all human and will make mistakes. The expectation of perfection from a role model is a recipe for future resentment and cynicism. On the other hand, acknowledging that he or she made a mistake (and apologizing when necessary) is the best thing a role model can do. This creates a healthier expectation from those who look up to the role model in the sense that one will see that it is normal to make mistakes. They will not feel let down or abandoned, feelings that can scar an impressionable youth.

 

     

 

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Tags : Role model, mentorship, youth guidance, community building
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