Whom do we look up to? Most everyone looks up to someone. Most people look to somebody as a role model, an individual that exemplifies particular characteristics or accomplishments which they would like to emulate. We need to be careful who we look to as role models, and why we see them as such. The very concept of a role model is to look at their example and to try to be like them. If their example is flawed, we could end up reproducing the same flaw in our own lives, to our detriment. As parents, we especially need to get this understanding across to our kids.
A person can accomplish impressive things while, at the same time, possessing some terrible character flaws. While we might strive to achieve similar successes, we need to be careful to recognize and avoid the failures of that individual. It’s like eating fish; the meat is good to eat, but you have to be careful to look for and pick out the bones.
Many an athlete has accomplished remarkable feats in his particular sport while setting a terrible example in his personal life. It is easy to admire the physical ability of Mike Tyson, the boxer. But Mike Tyson, the man, is a completely different story, having spent considerable time in jail on charges related to sexual assault and later facing filing bankruptcy, despite having earned $200,000,000 in his career. He is just one example in a seemingly never ending list of exceptional professional athletes who tainted their reputations with serious behavioral problems that were out of control.
The Hollywood crowd may be an even greater example of extreme contradictions. On the one hand, we see incredibly attractive and talented people. On the other hand, we see a culture that is raked with blatant immorality, drugs and alcohol. At the same time, many of the Hollywood elite, in spite of their own disastrous personal lives, keep trying to educate the rest of us as to what is right and wrong, as to how we should think and act. Talk about hypocrisy!
The examples could go on and on. Many wealthy, successful business people are as unscrupulous as the day is long. Many people appear to be good husbands and wives publicly while continually cheating on their spouses privately. Many civic leaders put on a good face in public while living an evil lifestyle in private. And how many of our politicians sound so virtuous in talking about how they want to look out for our good interests while all the time dealing in corruption behind the scenes?
We need to look up to Jesus Christ as our ultimate role model, hero and example (Heb. 12:2). That’s not preacher talk, it’s not trite or unrealistic. It’s common sense. We can do no better. We need to teach our children to follow Him as their example. We can give them no better direction in life. And, we need to live good Christian lives, to the best of our abilities to do so. Then, when our children look to us as their role models, they will see something worth looking up to (1 Cor. 11:1)…
Gary L. Hutchens