Tuesday 22 March 2011

Role models/Mentors/Godfathers: Do all humans need them?

It is not very uncommon to hear someone saying: He/She is my role model and has always influenced me. When I heard those words, I was just quiet, wondering whether everyone ought to have someone like that in their lives. Many people influence and inspire us but can we find all glowing qualities in a sigle individual?

People fail us. Not everyone is perfect. Well, every human has his/her own feet of clay. Now, I don't mean to say that perfection is what I am looking for. I just want to be amazed at the intrinsic characteristics of every individual I meet. Spiritual leaders are an inspiration for many but what their image stands for and what they are, is something most people don't realise.

When I was a child, I always held my mother to be my role model. Well, everyone said that they had someone as their model and I didn't have any, so I said that my mother was my role model. Today, that makes me smile. I love my mother and can relate to the many problems she faced but I just cannot see her as a role model and keep her apart. She is very much a part of me. She is real, tangible and human. Role models don't make mistakes, so say the people. But my mother is human and humane, prone to mistakes. Well, I am not talking of my mother here, so let me carry on.

There have been many who have stood for various things in my life. While I can admire one quality from x and another from k, I cannot think of anyone who is flawless and most perfect. Everyone can become a model for me at some point in my life. I seem to have a peculiar weekness for the common man/woman as my role model instead of celebrated people like Gandhi, Einstein and their ilk. They seem quite far away and stand for something that is distant. Well, sometimes I can relate to those streaks of greatness in them during my 'other' moods.

Well, do you have a role model who has never let you down? Do you look up to someone when you think you are facing something that seems quite endless? What is your take on this subject?

Image: Internet


  1. Hi Susan,

    nice post.

    in my personal opinion, i have been influenced by many people and all of them have had clay feet, but I have not looked up to one person or a set of persons as the only role models.

    People i have received inspirations from through their life, stories, attitude, resilience, talent, courage and convictions have been ordinary people who live or have lived ordinary lives.

    I guess who one looks up to would largely depend upon what one is looking for. don't you think?

  2. I have role models. I do not believe in perfection. My role models are those from who I can learn from and value their wisdom and experiences in a certain area of life or job. Role models are important but not all may find one or need one. It depends on the person. I do like this post of yours.... this one has me scratching my head!

  3. I hear you when you say this, Sav. I would like you to shed more light on the part where you have said "Role models are important." Thanks for coming by, dear Sav :)

  4. I'm not sure if I ever had a role model as a person. I know I always looked up to super mario, and certain anime characters, but then again maybe the role model is the person who created those characters with their personalities(cuz they never let me down) I think that's probably a huge hurdle to jump over. To have someone you have so much respect and love for, let you down.

    I actually have a good friend who hasn't let me down to my surprise so there's hope

  5. Role model? No, I just want to be me, little ol' me. I want to be the best I can be, but don't tailor it after someone else. I have people that display characteristics that I admire, but may not necessarily want those characteristics for myself because they don't blend with 'me'. Just sayin':)

  6. For me the real role model would have been my maternal grandad. I cannot think of any other. A highly principled man who did very little preach

    Irony is my Dad was nt very fond of him!

    The other role model is ARSENE WENGER. but i have nt seen him only thru TV

  7. There has been many people in my life that at one point I thought were my role models just to be let down later on. I agree with Mary just be you and be the best you can be. Life is to short to try and be someonelse! Own it and live it your way! Sure their are many people I admire but I wouldnt call them role models anymore : )

  8. I don´t think we need role models but there are people who set a very good example. I had people like that in my life like my Granny. I have learnt so much from her.

  9. the thing with role models is we have to keep in mind that no one is perfect...when we put them on a pedestal we set them up to fail...i think we can admire others for certain aspects but also we have to stay true to ourselves and not just try to mimic others...

  10. There have been many people I've admired, some could be called role models. I am grateful to them. Still, I don't think we should expect perfection from them, they are just guides along the way and above all they are human.

  11. I don't equate role models to perfection (if I found someone who is perfect, then I'd that person God!). They are also flawed beings, but they are role models in how they deal with their flaws to still make something that is admirable.

    My dad is a perfect (pun intended) example. He was acutely aware of his flaws, and so he had a human understanding of people. That made him my role model.

    Cheerio, Sus! :)

  12. Susan - You sure make me think...And funnily I've never had a role model. I admire various people - and like you prefer the everyday variety, not the big names - but have never tried to model myself on any one.
    Great post - again! :)

  13. I have many role models for each one has a quality in themselves that I admire and wish to add to or master that same quality in myself. Keeping in mind that all of them are human and have faults, weaknesses and struggles, I focus in on the quality that is a constant part of them. Something that i can aspire to. something that enhances my own character so that i may be the best i can be.

    Thank you Susan!

    thought provoking post!

  14. "Others are merely mirrors of me.
    I can't love or hate something about
    Any other person unless it reflects something I love or hate about ME"

    (Pssst: I didn't make this up--grin!)

    Love ya, Toots--OH! I mean DOCTOR TOOTS!!! LOL

  15. Dear Susan, I can so relate to your thinking here.;)
    As much as I was never infatuated with any movie or pop stars as a teenager, neither could I ever find one single person that I would look up to and view as a role model. I have however been enticed by enigmatic people that made a difference in our history, whether they were artist or scientists, such as da Vinci and Einstein.
    I guess my parents have always been someone I admired and admire even more the older I get, as I have the wisdom to look back and realize what they have accomplished and what wonderful people they truly are.;)
    Lovely thought provoking post as always.;)
    And thank you dear Susan for your poignant comment on my latest post, your words and visits mean so much.;)

  16. What an interesting topic Susan Deborah! As always.:)

    I have to agree with you in that so many different people can be role models at different times of life and different circumstances. I can't think of any "one" either, just a bunch of people with different qualities that I admire and learn from.

    As a Christian though, I do suppose that the ultimate role model is Jesus Christ. But just regular human beings? Nah, we are all flawed.:)

  17. Oh yes :-). Many role models! My mom is still a special one. My dad as well! Both have loads of character and my mom is the most caring person I have yet on this planet! My best friend, Jess, is facing a huge obstacle and she is brave beyond belief. I was fortunate to have met the Dalai Lama and I admire him, his peacefulness, his wit, even while suffering displacement! xo

  18. Role models? I don't wish to follow others... They may set good examples to me but I don't necessarily have to follow their footsteps... I like to be unique and just be the person I want to be.... Thanks Susan.:)

  19. I see my role models as either people who have inspired me in certain areas or whose lives I look up to as an example. And I also see them as ordinary human beings in the same breadth so I don't think I can be set up for disappointment. In that regard I have had several role models - each for specific fields. There is the person who inspired me to go to a different level intellectually and though we might have our differences, I think that without him my intellectual make up would not be what it is. Then there is a person who taught me how to apply all I ever learned to the workplace, a person that I would always go to whenever I had any doubts at the workplace, I knew I could rely on him....my point is that I have several role models for different contexts, some people I know, some people I have never met...but I don't hold any of them as perfect

  20. As a child and as a teenager, there were some people I used to look up to : teachers, and bigger cousins who had "made it" in life.

    As a grown up, I can't recall having any "role models". I'm an individualistic sort of person with a mind and taste of my own. In fashion matters, I sometimes learn from looking at others whom I resemble physically, what not to do, what not to wear.

  21. Very interesting most, Susan! Really made me think back to when I was a kid..I thought my role models were people like Indira Gandhi and Mother Teresa and much later, Kalpana Chawla. Growing up, when I came to appreciate the multi-layeredness of human beings I became an ardent admirer of people like Bertrand Russell and Douglas Adams. Now, at this point in my life, I dont think I think of anyone as a model for living my life. But the people that I admire, I try to emulate their distinguishing qualities so I can be more like them, if not as memorable in history.

  22. I like the way you think:) I look to many folks for inspiration, but if there was anyone I would like to be more like, that would be Mother Teresa. I won't ever be close to what she was, but she certainly was a very selfless and giving individual. Good post!

  23. A role model for me is someone who can make you realize what kind of person you are... someone who always bring new wisdom and inspiration... someone who knows how to pull out the best in you... someone who cheers you up and shows you how to be strong no matter how heavy your problems are... and that someone is none other than but my parents... my role models are both my Mom and my Dad.... they're not perfect... they do commit mistakes... but they never quit in any battles in life... they never showed me their faces down for they always smile despite of the burdens they carry inside...they're both amazing in different ways.... i know i will not have them forever but their wisdom and good deeds will remain forever in my heart.... i love them both...!!!:)

    [...sorry if i sounded different here... i know i should have shared something else with regards your subject not involving my parents... but i just can't avoid myself from thinking this way.^^]

    Take care.


  24. I looked up at my mother with much respect, admiration and love just as you do with yours. I learned a lot from her and regarded her as a well-rounder. From her gifts, skills, intelligence, and so on - I would say, she fits the Proverbial Woman described in the Bible. But I could never remember ascribing her as my Role Model. She was a model of good virtue alright but to see her in a perspective as if she is a Goddess and that I must be like the person she was... no I don't think so. To me, that mentality is putting you in competition to your own mother as a Role Model and much expectations would be involved. No, I don't think I can stand that.

    In my opinion, I think people in general especially the younger generation are being spoon fed by that word as hyped up by media. Media loves to create and dramatize words and make them appear like something that sparkle in the sky. And so you must Sparkle too!

    And some "Role Models" are inclined to push and pressure their followers to be like them berating and belittling them if they cannot keep up to their expectations.

  25. Not one role model for everything, but a few for different things. Over the years I've become a little jaded, I suppose, and as such I've begun to look for the flaws in the people I admire. Isn't that terrible?

  26. interesting post Susan :)
    The concept of having role models is both fascinating and confounding (at times).
    I have role models and curiously enough they change from time to time :D keeping with what aspect of their personalities or achievements I want to draw inspiration from. I do not try to 'be' like them but just glean out anything which could help me learn how to come to terms with difficult situations and people, how to behave if you have achieved something and so on.
    Role models can never be perfect A few of them did let me and numerous others like me who looked up to them down.

  27. I dont have a role model. I don't think I ever did. I can't even think of anyone right now who I would like to remotely call a role model. I remember "things" about many people. The way they handled a crisis, the way they carry on in the face of problems, the way they love their kids, their mates, the things they do to help others. I dont look beyond that. If I did, maybe the good that they do would get downsized by my perception of their flaws.
    Couldnt delete my original comment, but noticed a major mistake that changed the meaning of it.

  28. Sharbori:

    Welcome here. Thanks for that lovely insight. Your comment made perfect sense to me. It all depends on what we are looking for.


    Now who is Super Mario? No clue. Good for you about your mate. I like your idea of having anime characters as role models. Quite unusual and amazing :)

  29. Mary:

    How nice is that to say: "little ol' me." Fine thoughts Mary but I do think that inspite of hvaing no role models, we do look upto someone.


    Your grand dad sounds like a very interesting person. Is he still alive? Who is Arsene Wenger? Wait, I will look up now.

  30. Lisa:

    I guess all of us follow that chart of looking upto certain people but not following them through and through.


    Welcome here. Glad to have you join the board. We learn things from an assortment of people around us, I reckon.

  31. Brian:

    Everyone has got their own feet of clay. Mimicking is something I detest but all round me I see that in abundance.


    Perfection is like happiness. It never exists always.

  32. AJ:

    God is all perfect but sometimes I do find some traits in him which are far from perfect. Well, those are just thoughts. I like your dad (from pictures mostly!).


    I'm glad that you think when you are here, Corinne. You are like me, I reckon. Nice to know that.

  33. Hope:

    Aspiration is something which I can relate to with you. Some people just aspire us to be better individuals and humans. I would go for that rather than having role models.


    Ohhhhh. Really? Steve, you do inspire me to aspire for perseverence and committment.
    Big hugs and warm wishes from India.

  34. Zuzana:

    At different times, many people inspire us to perform better in our lives. Sometimes our own lives give us the best teaching. Don't you agree, Zuzana?


    We are all flawed, indeed. Being on the face of this earth for about 31 years, I can say that I haven't seen any one who is perfect in everything. Life, sometimes, is the best teacher.

  35. Pamela:

    Glad that you have strong people around you, Pam. I did see your picture with his holiness. I like his sense of humour. He just cracks me up. Great man.


    All of us, with or without role models are special and unique, same yet different, Jorie. How wonderful is that, sin't it?

  36. OtienoHongo:

    I liked the way you have described this topic in great detail. Even I have to say the same for myself: There have been people who at various times, have helped me in the course of life. And the other kind, you have mentioned: Even they teach us something.


    As we grow up, we learn to figure out things for ourselves, DUTA. Life becomes the best teacher. Ha ha, the last line had me cracking.

  37. Karishma:

    Multi-layered is an apt word to describe humans. You lingo is amazing. I just like it! I guess every individual has something that we can learn from.


    Welcome Ashley. Glad that you stopped by. Mother Teresa does inspire many of us. She always is a beacon of light shining amidst the galaxies.

  38. Kelvin:

    never quitting is something I aldo admire in people. And Kelvin, you haven't sounded different. Your thoughts and insights are quite welcome here, however different they are :)


    I liked the way you have expressed your insights, here. I hear you when you say that media has always fed people with how and what they ought to be.

  39. Angie:

    Jaded? All of us become so, Angie.


    No one can be perfect, Ruchi, not even role models. Humans always let me down. How about animals as role models? Sounds interesting.

  40. Myriam:

    A very wise way of learning from others. We do it all the time, I reckon. For eample when someone does something which I don't much like, I think: I shouldn't be doing that. Well, we all have our systems of learning, unlearning and relearning and people always help us towards those goals.

    Joy always :)



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