Saturday, 14 May 2016

Role Model

 The definition of a role model is a person whose behaviour or character is mimicked and imitated by someone else, usually due to admiration or respect. But what kind of people get this amount of respect? Well, the answer is obvious: people who are better than us in one or more aspects. For example, if someone wishes to become a soccer player, or simply likes soccer a lot, then it is only natural for him to mimic the play style of a great soccer athlete. And there is nothing wrong with that. The problems start if he begins to mimic more than the person;s athletic abilities, like his behaviour because being a great athlete does not guarantee that he is also a great person. Sadly, the real problem lies even further beyond, in the fact that ,most people who are being mostly projected by the television are not fit to be role models at all because they represent an unhealthy lifestyle and make poor choices.
  More specifically, it is of great importance that the person has a role model who is worth copying from, in the sense that the traits, the behaviour, or the characteristics he is trying to imitate will result in him bettering himself and providing him with an overall positive outcome. But the role models that are currently being promoted, mostly by the US television (and generally the Western Ideals throughout the world), are far from that, since the majority of them are singers or actors who promotes a lifestyle that is based on excess sex, drugs, alcohol and generally they are giving the impression that the purpose of life is to fulfill lustful desires. This is bad for the body for the immoderate use of drugs and alcohol leads to permanent health damage. It is also bad for the soul, since the satisfaction of every desire, does not lead to happiness, but primary to the abolition of moral values, which leads to poor choices. Moreover, Hollywood movies not only promote this life style of worshipping money, that promises joy but instead leads to unhappiness (please read my relative article about it, where i explain what is the real path that leads to happiness ), but they also promote that it is fine to hurt people and then justifying your actions by simply telling to your self ''they deserved it''. That is extremely wrong because by taking retribution, we take the law into our hands and secondly, doing something bad to someone, because he did something equally bad to an other person, does not justify our actions. The only thing we do, by taking such actions is to cause more violence and bring ourselves down to the level of the ones we think we are punishing. In another one of my articles ( more specifically the one at the web address of ) I make my case that we should forgive our enemies instead of hurting them back and the mentality of causing harm to bad people. Not only does not lead anywhere, but it provides the false sense of justification, that they are using in order to exert violence in the first place. So by punishing someone else for a bad deed he committed, of course we don't help him to reform, but also we don't stop him from committing another one, plus it brings us right to his level, so in a bigger sense, we are practically punishing ourselves for something we did not do. Sadly, the list with the negative results of the Western role models and trends goes on and on, so i will stop here only to mention, that a big percentage of the rising of criminal activities, the decline of moral values and teen pregnancy are caused due to movies (that makes criminals and vigilantes look so cool) and harmful teen role models (e.g. the singer who knows better how to shake her ass than actually singing and so she also objectify woman in the eyes of man, by pushing the mentality, primary to teenagers, that females are nothing more than meat meant for sex). And the worst part is that the people who are getting easier influenced by that, are the new generation.
  As a result, one must be very careful when he chooses a role model because usually they do not only imitate the aspect of their character they admire him for, but also extend this admiration to his whole personality and lifestyle, or simply the thing they admire the person for, is not really worth admiring (e.g. money, that somehow turned Steve Jobs into a role model after his death). For example, if you admire a singer for his singing, it does not cause any problems, but if that subconsciously also makes you to want to imitate his drugs heavy lifestyle or excessive sex, then that is a problem, because it will probably lead to drug addiction or sexual transmitted diseases. Also, we must be aware of who we are having as a role model, because if it is for example a fictional character, like one of the''superheroes'', that kills without consequence and is himself the judge, the jury and the executioner, it does not result in bettering your character, but it is probably affecting you negatively. Of course, not every role model has the same gravity, as different aspects of our lives matter differently, meaning some things are more important than others, for example it is more significant to have a role model in science, because that will motivate your advance in science, than in a sport you will never make a career out of. But then it follows from logic that there must be one aspect, one category of role models, that bears the most significance. This category, must therefore include the kind of people that one by trying to mimic,will receive and be provided with the biggest benefits. And according to my previous article, one draws the biggest benefits when he elevates his character,
( ), because the most important thing in our lives is what we truly are and this is our souls. So, by having a role model who by his exemplary behaviour will lead him towards living a just and good life and also self improving himself and elevating his character and soul, allowing to enjoy the maximum benefits. As a result, the best role models we can have in our lives are people like Socrates, Plato, Gandhi, Buddha and Christ (even if someone does not believe in His divine nature, the fact remains that His words and preachings, changed the face of humanity and are forever engraved into history and so he must pay attention and respect to what He said), because having a singer as a role model will motivate you to sing better, but having Socrates as a standard to live by will motivate you to live a good and fair life, where you will ensure the improvement of your character and a happier life! Plus, someone usually becomes a role model for another one due to receiving a lot of respect from him and these people deserve the greatest amount of respect, because they died and suffered for their ideals and they actually managed to do some good in this world! So, if someone wishes to make a difference, to improve himself and the world around him, then he must take as a role model the ''wise persons'' I mentioned above, or others like them, because by studying their behaviour he will only learn how to be just, fair and good, how to love and forgive, but mostly how to tell apart what is right from wrong and how to help the people around him! There is nothing more important in life than to learn how to love all the people around you, even the ones who instead of loving you back are trying to hurt you and by looking at the way these people lived, someone may finally learn this very hard lesson. Just remember that when Jesus was on the cross dying, he said on Luke 22-23 ''Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing''. Is there something more admirable than this? Praying for the salvation of the ones who are torturing you and are taking your life? That is what truly people should try to imitate, this immeasurable love and not how to sing.
  Moreover, when someone admires a person so much as to make him his role model, usually, subconsciously he replicates all the traits of his character, good or bad, for example, young boys imitate the behaviour of their fathers, and they acquire both good, but also bad characteristics. That is the reason parents should be very careful how they behave in front of their children, especially in their childhood, due to the fact that no one is perfect and of course, they would not like their sons to copy their bad habits and to repeat them in the future. If we extend that reasoning, one should avoid taking people as a role model that are still alive or very close to him, for this way, he will replicate, not only the aspect of their character that he admires them for, but also their bad traits. As a result, the safest choice is to have as a role model people that are not walking amongst us, so only the things they were known for will be copied and not their poor habits. If, for example Socrates had a bad habit, no one would be in danger of subconsciously mimicking it while studying his philosophy. Even further, when we love another person we tend to idealize him and so we ignore all the negative aspects of his character and we blind ourselves to their mistakes. For example, no little child's parents are perfect, but from the view point of the child they are and so by being unable to tell right from wrong, they might  imitate a behaviour that is bad, even against the parents will, but in the mind of the child it is right. Sadly, this extends well beyond the childhood age, even to adults, but especially on teenagers, who might pick up a negative trait, thinking it is right, from people they love, for example their parents, relatives or teachers, because when people love someone, they close their eyes to any bad aspects the person might have, for they wish to believe that the person is perfect. Of course, understanding that no one is perfect and that no one close to us should preferably be a role model (or at least, if he is, we should be very careful not to copy his bad traits), does not mean that they deserve less of our love or respect or admiration. Plus, loving another person does not mean loving a hypothetical image of him that does not truly exist, except in the lover's mind, but loving the actual person, with his good and his bad and also his unlimited potential for improvement. Finally, a wise person once said that all people have positive and negative things to offer and give to us, but we should just try to take only the positive from them. Even the worse person might help you, sometime in your life, when you are in need, so be nice to everyone.
 Summarizing, people become role models due to excess admiration or love, but we should be very careful which such person we choose to imitate and for what aspect of his character, because no one is perfect and all people have positive and negative traits that one may copy. Also, the better role model one can hope for, is the person who dedicates their live for ideals like love (Christ), justice (Socrates) and salvation (Buddha), for they will lead us towards the path of knowledge, self improvement and happiness.

                                                                                               Andreas Sarchosis

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