Young People Ask
Who Are My Role Models?
In this article, you will learn
WHY you need role models
WHERE to find them
HOW to follow their example
WHY YOU NEED THEM
FACT OF LIFE: You tend to become like the people you admire. That can be good—or bad—depending on whom you admire.
What you need: Role models who are worthy of imitation.—Philippians 3:17.
The problem: Many people look up to individuals who are famous—musicians, sports heroes, or movie stars—even if these have sordid reputations.
To think about: The Bible compares our personality traits to a garment. (Colossians 3:9, 10) If you were shopping for clothes, would you let a poorly dressed salesperson tell you what to wear? Why, then, let some shady celebrity dictate the kind of person you should be? Instead of doing that or just following the crowd, choosing good role models will help you to (1) select the traits you want to acquire and (2) imitate people who excel in displaying those traits.
WHERE TO FIND THEM
Mark the following statements true or false.
1. A role model must be someone you have met face-to-face.
2. A role model must be perfect.
3. You can have many role models.
1. False. You can even choose role models from the ancient past. The best of these can be found in the Bible. For instance, if you read chapter 11 in the Bible book of Hebrews, you’ll find that the apostle Paul names 16 men and women whose faith was exemplary. Most important, in the next chapter, Paul urged Christians to “look intently” at Jesus and follow him. (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus is our best role model.—John 13:15.*
2. False. Other than Jesus, Adam had no perfect descendants. (Romans 3:23) Even the heroic prophet Elijah was “just as human as we are.” (James 5:17, Contemporary English Version) The same may be said of such people as Miriam, David, Jonah, Martha, and Peter. The Bible candidly reveals the errors of those men and women. Still, they were exemplary in most aspects of life, and thus they can be good role models.
3. True. You can have as many role models as you want. One might be especially hardworking, while another may excel at being patient. Perhaps a third maintains a positive outlook in the face of problems. (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11, 12) Look for the good in others, and you’ll find qualities they have that are worthy of imitation.—Philippians 2:3.
HOW TO FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE
1. Observe your role models. The apostle Paul told first-century Christians: “Learn by watching those who are living the way we showed you.”—Philippians 3:17, Holy Bible—Easy-to-Read Version.
2. Connect. If possible, spend some time with those you have chosen as modern-day role models. The Bible says: “He that is walking with wise persons will become wise.”—Proverbs 13:20.
3. Reflect your role models’ praiseworthy traits. Hebrews 13:7 says: “As you contemplate how their conduct turns out imitate their faith.”
Ready to get started? Fill out the role model action plan below.
Pick a trait that you would like to acquire. (Would you like to be more outgoing? generous? hardworking? resilient? dependable? trustworthy?)
Pick a person who demonstrates the quality you would like to develop.*
When you choose a good role model, your goal isn’t to become that person. You’ll still have your own unique good qualities. Nevertheless, having good role models will help bring out your best as you grow to adulthood. Not only that, by following their example, you will become a good role model for others.
More articles from the “Young People Ask” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
Of course, many people of the present can also serve as good role models. These might include a parent, a sibling, a spiritually mature member of the Christian congregation, or another exemplary person you know or have read about.
You can also do this exercise in reverse. First, pick a person whom you look up to. Next, ask yourself, ‘What particular quality makes that person admirable?’ Then, using that person as a role model, strive to imitate the quality you identified.
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Why let some shady celebrity dictate the kind of person you should be?
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WHAT YOUR PEERS SAY
Layla—My friend Sandra looks at the positive side of things. She is also very familiar with her Bible. Because of that, she always seems to have at her fingertips the solutions to problems. I can confide in her whenever I have problems, big or small.
Terrence—My friends Kyle and David never minimize the feelings of others. They are always available to help people with their problems, while they put their own anxieties on the back burner. I view them as great examples.
Emmaline—My role model is my mom. She knows her Bible like the back of her hand, and she always looks for opportunities to talk to people about her faith. She fully believes that the ministry is a privilege, not a chore. I admire her for that!
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READ MORE ABOUT IT!
Do you need help finding good role models? Read Hebrews chapter 11 and pick one of the men or women named there. Start a study project with the goal of imitating that one’s admirable traits.
You can find more Biblical role models in Volumes 1 and 2 of Questions Young People Ask—Answers that Work, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. See the “Role Model Index” on the inside back cover of each book.
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WHY NOT ASK YOUR PARENTS?
Talk to your parents about their role models—the ones they had when they were your age and the ones they have now. How have your parents benefited from having role models in their life?