Just like buildings that require strong foundations, everybody requires mental and emotional support. People need a higher power and God takes that place. In a moment of crisis, the role model brings hope.
The early stages of life require a moral role model, and parents and teachers conveniently fit into that role. Fairy tales told to the little ones often talk of good and evil. Interests and tendencies, aptitudes and inborn likes and dislikes may decide the nature of the adult life.
A variety of hobbies and early experiences, at home, in school and in society would program the young mind well. The moot question: What is your role model?
Do you fancy Chetan Bhagat the writer, Saina Nehwal in badminton, Anurag Kashyap, the filmmaker, Sachin Tendulkar in cricket, Alia Bhatt in acting, or Baba Ramdev and Sadhguru in yoga and spirituality? Politics, business or digital technology icons?
The need for inspiration
Professional horizons open up at least 17 years after the toddler days. The chosen sector of work would probably remain lifelong and provide a firm foundation of dreams, values and services to the family, community and country. Just like the worshipper needs the image of God as a focus to attract prayer and concentration, people of all ages require idols.
Living icons in some senses are better than images of stone and clay. They are present in the flesh and set better examples of achievements, particularly in the chosen field. An aspiring painter or musician, dancer or singer worships an icon who has already made a mark.
A digital speeding up of study, training and service goals
The experiences of the last three decades have witnessed a gradual opening up of worlds never imagined before! Software applications have proved fluid like water and applications have serviced every kind of work. Aided by AI and VR, study and work have become faster and better. In this changed scenario, training and jobs come fast, and so do promotions. What is sad is that some jobs have become redundant, like robots working in factories, medicine and restaurants.
Learning to live with grace and dignity
A growing child requires exposure to the sweet things of life. Though the effect may be of creating a dream world like living in a palace away from life’s grim realities, that is best. At a tender age, the child should be exposed to integrity and optimism, hope and compassion.
Positive thoughts need to fill the little mind early to endure through the long decades. Within the neighbourhood, school and town may live the warm influences. Civic leader or clergy member, sports coach or drama teacher – some impacts may be strong and endure for long. Role models often inspire great responses along positive lines. What is your role model?
Following in the footsteps
Perhaps the ideas of imitation and superheroes are getting outdated. In an increasingly selfish and DIY world today, kids are maturing very fast. And even the little ones carry around gadgets and speak and think maturely. Yet, some things cannot change, and the traditional world of values continues.
Passion for work and achievement
A teacher trainee may admire the experience and breadth of knowledge of professors with decades of experience. Isn’t it a professional boost at that early career stage? That is why the architect needs building models from around the globe. Such inspiration works wonders like a tonic. Like fresh air and sunshine, models refresh the senses and show the way.
The power to win over harsh circumstances
One does not know what problems like health and money, family and professional trials may arise later in life. A sign of innate courage and ability to survive go a long way. In some sense, it is the success of the fittest like living in the concrete jungles. Patience and perseverance go a long way. Maybe the idol’s life shows triumph over hardships like harsh childhoods.
Supporting noble causes
Environmental concerns, poverty and food for the hungry are some of the most pressing problems today. Education and health for all along with peace initiatives are others. In a world where values still prevail among some people, the role model shows dedication to humane goals. Raising funds online to help is one possibility. Throughout history, a handful of such angels have helped uplift the weaker sections of society and develop the roles of women.
Selfless dedication to the community
Such an idea may seem an irony in the face of increasing materialism and the division of joint families! Yet, both doves and vultures need to co-exist in a world that experiences an eternal tug of war between good and evil. Though such angels are few, they are not extinct. Religious leaders showed the world the true meaning of selfless devotion to the cause of humanity. ‘Others before self’ has been their goal.
Eroding belief systems!
The danger of not having a role model is just as risky. A large number among the seven-plus billion inhabitants of Planet Earth say that they have no religious beliefs. Probably, some people are walking the same planet now who look up to nobody in particular. Because human beings are complex personalities with a multitude of facets like a diamond, that is very strange. How can life be lived successfully without role models?
Lucky is humanity that so much has been given by the grace of the almighty God. Though the planet earth itself is in danger with excessive pollution and global warming, hopefully, such a crisis will be alleviated through a concerted effort by the rich nations and NGOs.
Poverty and hunger are gradually being addressed. One day, war will end, and killing will cease.
Let the role model light up the darkness and promote a life of justice and excellence. May smiles spread through the cosmos and replaces hopelessness and misery. Along with common sense, self-reliance, emotional intelligence and empathy are crucial.
Add expertise in a chosen field along with generalist thinking for leaders. The recipe for a role model is done. Never give up the fight for a better life. Find ways and means to conquer the burdens. Eventually, what is your role model will matter.