Hello all! Welcome back to the “What Are You Taking In?” series! Today, we’re covering role models, and their affect on our lives. (To see the previous post in the series, see What Are You Taking In? (Part One: Music))
The other day, I randomly decided to write down the women in my life that I see as role models. I wrote the first two on my mind; the first one has consistently inspired me on a daily basis, because she’s literally Superwoman and can do ANYTHING! The second woman had just recently inspired me, and I realized that although she never flaunts her abilities or skills, she has always been one of the most godly and capable women I know. So, I wrote down these two women.
But almost before I realized it, I was writing down the names of every other woman in my mom’s regular hangout group, shocked to realize that ALL these beautiful women have amazing qualities, godly characters, and are models of how I’d like to grow up and become!
And the reason that I was so shocked, was because I have taken these women for granted. But I have been so SO blessed to have these women in my life – I can hardly believe that they are in MY little world, going about THEIR business in the LORD’S way, shining THEIR example onto my life and demonstrating what its like to be a woman of God …
I am so completely overwhelmed by the blessing of the example of these women, and their generous, encouraging relationship with me.
Who is a role model?
“[A role model is …] a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others.”– Merriam Webster Dictionary Online, (definition of role model).
Its fascinating to see how a person’s character stems from their influences of others. When someone admires another person and spends time thinking about or interacting with that person, often they will come to imitate this “model”, by taking on their personality traits, opinions, or ways of thinking.
Role models can be highly motivating. Seeing the success or accomplishments of someone else helps us to think “I can do that too!” These days, its easier than ever to know about the successful people whose career paths and life decisions we’d like to model. However, sometimes the financially successful could be morally or spiritually corrupt, and I’m afraid that my experience with other teens is what has inspired this particular post …
For an example from my own life … I have a love for the people of God. I love getting together with them for some good worship and bible study sessions. And within that group of people are several who are so inspiring in the way they’ve decided to live for God, and set apart their lives for His purposes. Sometimes, I catch myself imitating the personality traits of the people I respect: not because I’m trying to laugh like he does or speak like she does, but because I’ve spent time and thought on their example.
Unfortunately, it seems that not every role model is a good one. (Shocker, right?)
What makes someone a “good” role model?
- Their areas of specialty align with the same basic points of your personal convictions.
- They speak with care, wisdom, knowledge, and confidence.
- They act in a way that lines up with what they say.
Many singers and businesspeople and politicians and authors, all those with a huge influence on the world, are not only spreading their financial or business-related assistance to the world, but are also affecting the personal thoughts and convictions of young people (and old people too, for that matter!) that they’ve never even met.
I don’t think the average teen even realizes this. They’re certainly not thinking, when they get interested in, say, listening to secular pop, “Well, after about a year of listening to this music, keeping up the news about the best singers, and imitating their fashion and personality, I’ll be almost ready to take on their spiritual beliefs as well.” No: imitation, although it may be the sincerest form of flattery, doesn’t happen overnight, and it sneaks up on you.
Now, its not necessarily the presence of something secular in your life, that can cause you to become weak in your faith; in my opinion, it will tend to happen when there is an absence of the elements that grow your faith. Let me give an example …
Without water, a (normal) tree will shrivel and die. You can throw confetti, wind, and minor hail at the tree, but as long as its getting its water and sunshine and soil nutrients, it will do just fine. However, if that’s taken away, its easier for the tree to succumb to the pressure of all the other elements, the affect of which has grown immensely since the nourishment is gone. It shows just how important that spiritual nourishment really is.
So, just as the effects of listening to music which does not align with your personal beliefs, (as mentioned in the previous post in this series), so can you be affected by learning about, “interacting” with, and unconsciously being influenced by people whose lives evidence no knowledge of or desire for the truth. This is so dangerous, because something we don’t often realize, is that we change very easily, based on where we are and who we allow to influence us. If we’re strong enough to stand up to peer pressure, we may escape the secular school environment unscathed, but its hard to be different. If we’re independent enough, we won’t need to strive to be friends with those who will slowly break down our convictions, but its hard to be alone.
Its also hard to be “sheltered” and seen as “the naïve one” … but I can tell you, it sure beats knowing what the other girls giggle and whisper about on their cell phones!
We need to really dig deep down and think “Is this role model a godly example?”
We need to really stop and consider, “Are my actions reflecting secular morals?”
We need to really study the Word so we know the answer when we ask, “Is my faith getting weaker as a result of this influence, or is it being encouraged and nourished?”
We don’t have to be influenced by people we wouldn’t want to become.
I think its so important not only to look for and recognize role models in the popular media, but also the ones that we’re so close to that we almost miss; the believers at Bible study, the friends at school or sports, the pen-pal-ers and emailers that genuinely care about us, our siblings and parents and grandparents; these people have character and have learned so much in their own life. We have a lot to learn from people like them, and we don’t have to look to the magazines to find an inspiring figure to emulate.
So, in closing, I want to mention these woman who have inspired me so much. Thank you, to all of you who I consider role models for treating me like one of your own friends, encouraging and loving me, and for spreading your virtuous example to me and other young ladies. I love you all so much and am so blessed to have you in my life.
P.S. Thank you all for reading, and tell me; who do you think young people revere, that we ought not to revere? Which kind of people are your role models, and which people can no longer be? Let me know your thoughts!