Do we Have the Right Role Models in Modern Society?

March 15, 2022

I’m a woman who is very passionate about protecting the younger generation. They are after all the leaders of tomorrow, and what we instil in them today is how the world will be shaped tomorrow. 

Anyone who hasn’t been living exclusively in a cave for the past two decades can tell that what we call modern society is spiralling down a path of destruction. The calibre of role models I had growing up is shockingly different from the ‘supposed’ role models I see these days. I question who the younger generation has to look up to as role models. It’s heartbreaking, to say the least, to see the characters children and teenagers are forced to admire. I use the word forced because unfortunately, I don’t see a variety of pickings when it comes to what we are bombarded with on a daily.

When we talk of role models, we must look at the avenues we have most available to us as a point of contact with those we admire. Most of the population of earth won’t have the opportunity in their lifetime to travel around the world and experience different cultures. They won’t have the opportunity to meet all their favourite celebrities or role models in person. The closest most people will ever get to that experience is with the help of technology. I’m talking movies, music videos, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and the list goes on. 

It might seem a little unfair to ask those with a following to sacrifice for the greater good of society but with great power comes great responsibility. If you’re not open to the idea of using the power that has been afforded you by your followers to pour positively into their lives then you are actually letting your followers down. Majorly!

It’s easier for humans to be selfish than it is to be selfless. Especially when you have worked super hard to get to a certain position in life. You might begin to think it is your right to unapologetically be whoever you want to be. You will be right to think that. It is your life, and you have a right to be whoever you want to be. The issue of being responsible comes into question when you know you have a following who views you as a role model. 

“Our Instinct For admiration is the instinct for imitation.” 

Jordan Peterson

Humans have an instinct to imitate the people they admire. Younger children are the most vulnerable as they tend to naturally copy adults. Imagine a child with the wrong role model as an example of whom to imitate. It’s not up to anyone to tell influential people how to live their lives, as they are humans too and deserve the freedom to live life and make their own mistakes. However, a person with a huge following cannot be naïve enough to think they don’t influence the lives of their followers. Imagine if you have a 12-year-old girl as your biggest fan. She has posters of you all over her room. She follows your every fashion. She lives and breathes everything you say and do. What message do you wish to pass on to her? Imagine if your 9-year-old child was your biggest fan, what would you want him or her to pick up from you and imitate? It becomes more serious when it’s more personal doesn’t it? This is where being selfless comes into the picture. We must see every human as a child, a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, a father, a mother. I’m well aware that life isn’t a field of daisies, but we should try to do unto others what we would have them do unto us. I’m pretty sure that’s the golden rule of life.

I won’t break down who the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ role model is but I will generalize by saying if the only message you are putting out -either by your lifestyle or via your platform- will cause physical, emotional, psychological harm to a vulnerable child, or if it will put them on a destructive or degrading path, then it’s safe to say you may not be showing up as the right role model for your followers. You might want to throw in some positivity or in some cases morality into whatever message you are putting out without of cause losing your authenticity. God forbid you lose that at the expense of a child literally imitating everything you do.

To wrap my rant up, although I believe every Actor, Singer, Dancer, Influencer, Public speaker etc has the sole responsibility of making sure they are contributing positively to the lives of their followers, I also strongly believe it is up to communities no matter how little to elect a responsible person whom the younger generation in that community can look up to and emulate. Someone who can be a good example and a leader. Someone who puts the interest of the world ahead of his/hers. Someone like Spiderman. Lol.

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