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Flawed Role Models

President Kennedy was an inspiration to the American public during the 1960s, but he, too, had imperfections (Photo Courtesy of Pixabay).

President Kennedy was an inspiration to the American public during the 1960s, but he, too, had imperfections (Photo Courtesy of Pixabay).

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Have you ever placed a person on a pedestal in your mind and later had them shatter your golden perception of them? In life’s endless turmoils and struggles, there are certain people that we cast our eyes upon for advice, leadership, and comfort. Whether those people are dazzling celebrities, world leaders, or even parents, they possess certain qualities that reassure and comfort us.

“[A role model is] someone who is responsible, wise, and kind. My mom and dad both work really hard, and my grandma has a lot of wisdom to share,” says junior Emily Marshall.

Everyone has at least one unique person in his or her life that embodies the person they desire to become.

“I admire Bill Gates for what he has done for the computer industry and his philanthropic ways. He works hard for this world, and I’m grateful,” says Director of Technology Barbara Howard.

We, as humans, often feel the need to look up to a certain person for guidance, security, and support as we trudge through the daily routine of life.

“My opinion is that humans need role models so that they will have goals to aspire to and examples of standards,” says business education teacher Winnical Robinson.

Imperfections in role models, especially those in people who are followed by the media and the general public, may make them appear more approachable and “human” to us.

“Good role models don’t have really glaring imperfections. A good role model is someone who is respected by whoever is around them. If you are in the public eye, you are a role model. You can be a role model in one area but not every area. When an imperfection becomes a lifestyle, that is when it becomes a [problem]. You should see how [a role model] responds to [his or her] imperfections,” says mathematics teacher Rebecca Luttrell.

Perhaps working through some of those flaws allows specific people to be viewed as role models for others.

“[A role model is] someone who doesn’t just give good advice but follows it. If someone is perfect in every way, it wouldn’t make sense for that person to give advice if they haven’t worked through those problems,” says sophomore Zac Jensen.  

Even though we may not realize it at first, role models have the potential to have quite an influence on us.

“A lot of people are influenced by what a role model does. Sometimes if you can’t meet your own standards, you look up to that role model,” says junior Carrington Williams.

However, some people throughout history have been idolized by entire nations despite their flaws and shortcomings. For example, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, whom the American public adored in the midst of the Cold War, allegedly had an affair with actress Marilyn Monroe while he was still married to Jackie Kennedy.

“I think that, in some cases, you can move past what that person has done. If they do those things while they speak against it, though, it’s wrong,” says Jensen.

Perhaps there will never be a person who perfectly embodies the characteristics of humanity that we all wish to see. Simply put, humanity is imperfect.

“[There is not a perfect role model] nor do I think there should be. Perfection is too difficult to achieve. It would set us all up for failure. There’s always room for improvement,” says Howard.

We can all benefit from selecting the right people to admire in this flawed world and use them as a framework for our lives.

“It’s really important to find good role models in your life. [Find] somebody you can actually get advice from because they can give you feedback on your own life. Find a role model in whatever you want to do. It can make all the difference in the world,” says Luttrell.

Overall, in our endless, unfruitful attempt to achieve perfection throughout our everyday lives, we discover that each one of us has blemishes. Often, we take characteristics from several different people to mold a perfect role model that we strive to become. All in all, there is no single perfect person; we all have flaws that we must come to terms with and grow from.

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Flawed Role Models