YOUNG PEOPLE ASK
How Can I Choose a Good Role Model?
“When I faced problems at school, it was helpful to think of someone I admired who had gone through something similar. I then tried to follow that person’s example. Having a role model made it easier to get through difficult situations.”—Haley.
A role model can help you avoid problems and reach your goals. The key is to choose a good role model.
Why choose carefully?
Your choice of role models will influence how you act.
The Bible tells Christians to take note of those who are exemplary, saying: “As you contemplate how their conduct turns out, imitate their faith.”—Hebrews 13:7.
Tip: Since your choice of role models will influence you for the good or for the bad, select those who have truly commendable qualities, not merely those who are popular or who are close to your age.
“I learned a lot from a fellow Christian named Adam—both from his attitude and from his overall demeanor. It’s amazing how I still remember specific things he said and did. He has no idea of the effect he had on me.”—Colin.
Your choice of role models will affect how you think and feel.
The Bible states: “Do not be misled. Bad associations spoil useful habits.”—1 Corinthians 15:33.
Tip: Choose someone who has good qualities, not merely an impressive outer appearance. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
“It makes you feel very small and ugly when you constantly compare yourself to glamorous people. It can make you obsess over your appearance.”—Tamara.
To think about: What may be the pitfalls of choosing celebrities and athletes as role models?
Your choice of role models can affect whether you achieve your goals.
The Bible states: “The one walking with the wise will become wise.”—Proverbs 13:20.
Tip: Select role models whose conduct demonstrates the good qualities you want to display. As you observe them, you may learn specific steps you can take toward your goal.
“Rather than setting a vague goal like ‘I want to be more responsible,’ you can say, ‘I want to be more responsible like Jane. She is always on time and takes her assignments seriously.’”—Miriam.
The bottom line: When you choose a good role model, you take control over the type of person you will become.
How to choose
You can select a role model in one of two ways.
You can pick a quality you want to work on and then find someone you admire who has that quality.
You can choose someone you admire and then select a quality he or she displays that you want to develop.
The worksheet that accompanies this article can help you do that.
Your role models can include:
Peers. “My best friend is someone I want to be like. She is never too busy to stop and show concern for someone else. She is younger than I am, but I see in her beautiful qualities that I lack, and it makes me want to follow her example.”—Miriam.
Adults. These can be your parents or members of your faith. “Without a doubt, both of my parents are role models for me. They have wonderful qualities. I do see their faults, but I also see that they are still faithful despite them. When I am their age, I hope the same can be said of me.”—Annette.
Bible characters. “I have chosen several role models from the Bible—Timothy, Ruth, Job, Peter, the little Israelite girl—each for a different reason. The more I learn about Bible characters, the more real they become. I’ve really enjoyed studying the accounts in the book Imitate Their Faith, as well as the ‘Role Model Index’ found in both volumes of the book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work.”—Melinda.
Tip: Don’t limit yourself to only one role model. The apostle Paul said to fellow Christians: “Keep your eye on those who are walking in a way that is in harmony with the example we set for you.”—Philippians 3:17.
Did you know? You can be someone’s role model! The Bible says: “Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking, in conduct, in love, in faith, in chasteness.”—1 Timothy 4:12.
“You can be a work in progress and still help others to be better at the same time. You never know who is watching, and you never know how what you say can change a person’s life.”—Kiana.