28 October 2010

Good Role Models


Society is starved for good role models today. This applies to adults and youth alike. Considering positive role models are essential to the development of young people into good Christian adults and upstanding, productive citizens, this is particularly troublesome. 

Coming from the South, I need look no further than the fine collection of Confederate Generals for role models. For example, Robert E. Lee is rightly considered one of the finest gentlemen ever to live and produced much wisdom for living that is as applicable today as over a century ago when he wrote it. These are historical role models, though. Environment is important to development, and so youth in particular need living role models around them to look up to. In addition to those role models around them, they need positive societal role models to confirm to them that what is proper behavior really is proper behavior. 

I can certainly think of some living people who are good role models. Perhaps Ed Viesturs, the first American to climb all 14 mountains in the world that are above 8000 meters in altitude without supplemental oxygen would be a good one. He set a big (very big) goal and worked hard to overcome the odds, even giving up his veterinary practice to pursue mountaineering full time. And then there is the physical and mental accomplishment. This is not a bad choice at all. The only trouble is that, while he is well-known in the mountaineering community, he is not exactly a household name in America. The kids aren't all wearing Ed Viesturs t-shirts.

Now...contrast this to the over-paid egomaniacs in professional American sports today. What kind of role models are these? Even college athletes have it put into their heads that they can do whatever they want and have other people to do their work for them. Adultery is the norm. I just don't see a thing in their behavior or the general culture surrounding them that promotes good values to anyone, much less the youth of today. The message seems to be "do whatever you want, for there are no consequences." Yet, these are the household names. These are the ones to whom America's youth looks up to?

What about the popular music stars and other celebrities? I hesitate to call most of it music, but nevertheless, it is popular. Look at their far-from-moral behavior in the news. Is this positive? Not hardly. As with the sports players, they communicate to our youth that there are no consequences. They can do whatever they want, and they don't really even have to do much to work. It's all about the glitz and glamor. And then there is the complete and total lack of morality in Hollywood. These are the ones to whom America's youth looks up to?

We need role models for our youth and for society in general, and we need them now. It is time that those who are public figures, celebrities, movie stars, pop singers, and sports players are made to realize that there are consequences to their actions, if not to them, then to society. They need an injection of social responsibility instead of whatever else they're getting high on. They need to deflate their egos and help other people. They need a good dose of morality instead of booze. They need to start setting a good example for everyone now.