A role model is defined as “a person regarded by others as an example to be imitated.”
It could be argued that young people today are lacking in role models as the status of “celebrity” can be applied to any Tom, Dick or Harry who has been on a reality show, got their boobs out in public or married a footballer. Our young women look up to the likes of Cheryl Cole, Rihanna and Beyonce as their role models, when in actual fact they only know the public persona of those celebrities.
Personally, I haven’t ever had a role model from the celebrity world. The closest I would get to admiring somebody who I didn’t know would be the likes of Karren Brady, Richard Branson, Sally Wainwright and Kay Mellor. All of them are examples of people who have worked incredibly hard to achieve the success that they currently have.
My inspiration comes from real people such as friends, family, colleagues and teachers who have helped me to fulfil my potential.
A colleague of mine who inspired me to start studying for a degree when I was thirty as she believed I should be in a better job than the job that I was doing at that time. The negative wind-taker in me dismissed this as saying “I’d be 36 by the time I completed it”, to which her reply was “You’ll be 36 anyway, you could be 36 with a degree, or 36 without one”.
This motivated me to work as hard as I could to achieve a degree. Once I signed up with the Open University, I realised if I worked flat out, took some modules together and had no breaks I could complete it in three years and six months – which is what I did. The thing that kept me going was un-named colleague telling me that she had studied for her degree this way, but she was a single parent with three children at the time so had no support at home. She went on to become a teacher, and rose the ranks quickly in her profession. I’ll always remember and be thankful to her for believing in me.
Having members of the family who believe in your ambitions and help you to fulfill your potential is also a valuable asset. Through my undergraduate, and now during my postgraduate studies I am supported by an incredible close family unit. I go to many events around the city to not only gain industry contacts, but also to hear key speakers and I’m always encouraged to participate in everything that makes me happy. In return, I offer the same level of support to those people for things that they are interested in/or help fulfill their potential.
Today’s youngsters need good role models more than ever. Sadly, there are thousands of young people who do not grow up with positive role models around them. Many live in environments where they are being raised by one parent, or in a work-less environment where there is nobody they can turn to for advice and guidance about applying for a job. Now, I’m not saying being brought up by one parent is a bad thing, but I do believe (especially boys) need a role model when they are teenagers, whether it be a teacher, sports coach or family member.
Some youngsters are not interested in working as there is a “benefits culture” happening where people want everything for nothing. It’s also very difficult to get out of the culture of not working, if that is how their parents were when they grew up. It’s a vicious cycle. I despair at my youngster who seems to idolise the Made in Chelsea crew as they portray a life of luxury, but only a handful of them have real jobs.
Finally I believe there are also not enough positive female role models either. Cheryl Cole, Beyonce and Rihanna are the latest role models for teenage girls. Yes they are successful in their careers, but I can’t help but wonder if they had kept themselves covered up in their media spotlight – would they have been as successful? Who knows?
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’m behind already but determined to catch up #wpad