The mention of the word role model calls to mind a host of great people. We are talking Bill gates, Barrack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou and other influential people you know.
The kind we think about, dream about and dedicate our lives to. We hang their portraits on our wall and imprint their principles in our brains. We live like them, read their books, like their pages on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. They become a sacred part of our lives that a day without a word from them feels like being denied air to breathe.
When I was young, I only knew of only one role model: my mother. Even though she wasn’t a big time celebrity or a multi-millionaire, her determined spirit, hard work and kind nature took my breath away. I may not be the copy-paste version of her, but there’s no doubt I’m her daughter. And her spirit guides me, sometimes even unconsciously.
But that’s me and things have changed. And very few children want to be associated with anything from old and frail-looking men and women. They want to remain cool like Spiderman, Ben10, Green lantern or Power puff girls. Others want to be superstars like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber.
No chance for solid mentors.
The external influence is overwhelming, leaving no room for real mentors, like you and I, the kind neighbour or the class teacher. But the most worrying bit is that all these entertainers may have few credits to their name, but they are popular for all the wrong reasons.
Rihanna for instance, is a young and ambitious Barbadian girl, whose rise to fame is attributed to hard work and resilience. But she is also an exhibitionist, does drugs and is quite scandalous. Her ex beau, Chris Brown is violent.
Kim Kardashian, at 30 years only has been married more than once and has done nothing worth a trophy. The list is long and while there are celebrities with a positive influence, a host of them are drug dealers, players, violent or morally corrupted.
This must be really depressing.
This one time, I was travelling up country in a Dar express bus. A sweet looking girl was seated right beside me. She was adorable and although she may have appeared like six, her mother did a good job dressing her like a superstar. The purple and orange streaks on her hair matched the pair of leggings, which were conveniently covered up with a mini skirt.
Her nails bore the colours of the rainbow; each nail painted red, orange, green or indigo and a feint layer of lip gloss lay on her virgin lips. She reminded me of a mini Kate Perry.
And when the music started playing, every part of my face was dazed. ‘Angel’ had all the lines off head including the ones you the adult, shies away from sometimes. Beyonce sang but ‘Angel’ shouted. “We run this mother …………..world!” My eyes rolled severally, almost popping out. You could sense the discomfort of the passengers in close proximity.
Bottom line is that parents are in trouble. And in a few years to come, your role may be reduced to a giving birth machine and an ATM. Rihanna and her ilk will be there for your child’s emotional needs. How sickening!