In modern day society, there has been a lot of conversation surrounding the term role model. For better or for worse, many celebrities are viewed as role models. Some celebrities have embraced this, and have strived to be a good role model. Others have rejected this, feeling that they shouldn’t shoulder the responsibility of being anyone’s role model. Along with celebrities in Hollywood, some athletes have been viewed as role models, two notable examples being Bethany Hamilton and Tim Tebow.
I suppose today’s topic is somewhat of a continuation of my previous post, which pertained to defying cultural stereotypes about young people and doing great things. Today I would like to branch off of that train of thought to the second point in the Bible verse 1 Timothy 4:12: Set an example. Even if you aren’t a celebrity or an athlete, there may very well be younger people in your life watching you. Perhaps you have younger siblings, cousins, or neighbors; are you the kind of person that you’d be comfortable with them emulating? I know that I personally try to be conscientious of this, and set a good example. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and as important as it is to speak about your faith, it’s just as important to live it out. I found a quote just now that says “Character is doing the right thing when no one is watching.” J.C. Watts. I believe that being a role model applies not just to the moments when others are around, but also those secret moments with only the company of yourself and God. I don’t know about you, but I want to walk the path that I’d feel comfortable with others following in. Within the insanely crowded depths of my brain, I’ve often wondered what that looks like for me, as a Christian teenager. I doubt I’ll be able to cover all of the bases, but here’s the basics of what I’ve come up with. The following points illustrate my definition of what it means to be a role model.
Stay connected to God- I believe that this is the most important point. Psalm 119:68 says “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” In order to be a good role model to others, we need to know how God teaches us to live. Now, obviously none of us are going to do the right thing all of the time, as we’re all fallen. Nonetheless, I believe it’s important to try to do the right things in life, not out of duty to God, but out of love for Him. If we stay connected to God, He’ll lead us and guide us in making the right choices in life.
Love others-This is another important one. Too many Christians nowadays are known for being hateful and judgmental. This should not be the case, considering that in Mark 12:30-31, Jesus commands us to “Love the Lord your God with all your soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” I believe that loving others, and caring about who they are and what they’re going through, is an amazing example to set.
Remember your younger self-One thing that I try to always keep in the back of my mind is my younger self: Would my eight-year-old-self be happy with the choices that I’m making today? I feel that keeping our younger self in the back of our minds can serve as sort of a compass for making good choices. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus even instructs His followers to become like children. This does not mean that we shouldn’t have the intellect and wisdom of an adult, but it does mean that we should maintain the belief and purity of a child, as children are often quite innocent and filled with belief in the unseen. Thus, I believe that remembering who we were as a child can help us pave our way towards becoming an adult.
Be transparent-One of the things that I most admire in people is transparency, or in other words, realness. I have a lot of respect for celebrities like Britt Nicole and Demi Lovato, who have been generous enough to share their own struggles and pasts in an effort to teach their fans the things that they’ve learned so far. It’s not always easy, but I try to be open about my own struggles and experiences, sharing what I know currently and what I still have questions about. On another note, It drives me crazy when people act like they have everything figured out, because the truth is, none of us do. There are so many things that I can only raise questions on, rather than provide answers to, but that’s OK. As long as we turn to God for wisdom and continue to “love our neighbor as ourselves” we’re allowed to have questions; we’re finite humans, not mini gods.
Know what you value-What are some of the things that you value in life? What negative behaviors irk you (Bullying, phoniness, lying, etc.) and what positive behaviors do you celebrate (Kindness, transparency, honesty, etc.)? Model the positives and be concientious to avoid the negatives. What are some values that you’d like to see more people model? Be the spark that starts a fire.
Respect yourself-In order to be a role model for others, you have to have respect for your own self and your own life. I believe that if we have self respect, we’ll be less apt to engage in behaviors that are harmful to us. This isn’t pride, it’s acknowledging that God created us as His temple, and that He wants us to respect it. If we respect ourselves, it will set an example that others ought to respect themselves as well.
To sum all of this up, I believe that the song The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets illustrates some of the truths that I hold dearly and would like to demonstrate to others in my life and in my words.
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”-Rosa Parks