Do Roles Determine Role Models?
As I flipped through the TV channels, my curiosity got the best of me when I landed on a show called “Big Fan.” In it, three contestants competed to determine who was the ultimate fan; then the winner faced off against his idolized guest celebrity.
On the night I tuned in, Kim Kardashian was the featured star, and her biggest fans worshipped the ground she walked on. One young woman dressed like her, wore the same makeup and hairstyle, and did everything she could to imitate her idol. In the end, the winning fan knew more about the star than she even remembered, including the size of her diamond engagement ring and the name of her prom date. Frankly, it was scary how the contestants revolved their lives around this reality TV star best known for taking selfies — with or without clothing.
Role models. They exist in a multitude of forms. The most visible and well-known are entertainers, professional athletes, business tycoons, and political leaders. Lately, many have voiced concerns about our new President serving as a role model. He’s arguably now one of the most powerful, visible, and influential people in the world. Since the election process began, Trump is in the news nonstop and continues to top trending stories every day. It’s almost impossible not to hear or read his name throughout the day. But should his role automatically make him a role model? I don’t believe so.
Although the POTUS’s position embodies the highest level of political power and prestige, the occupant of the role has not always lived up to its reputation. Even though a public figure may draw media attention 24/7, doesn’t mean he/she is worthy of being held up as an example to be followed. Fortunately, we have the freedom to choose who we follow and who we wish to emulate — from Kim Kardashian to President Trump.
And speaking of following, Twittercounter.com now reports that Katy Perry holds the top spot with 95.5 million followers globally. Justin Bieber is in second with 91.4 million. In third is former President Barack Obama with 83.7 million followers -- the only political figure in the top 40. Much further down the list is Donald Trump, holding the #56 spot with 22.7 million followers (but don’t tell him or he might initiate an investigation!)
And remember Kim Kardashian, who openly admits to having no talent at all? With 49.8 million followers, she ranks #12. As exemplified by “Big Fan,” stars wield a lot of power, and followers may not only be influenced by their ideas but can become consumed with their lives.
As a Christian, the word “follow” packs a punch and provides immediate direction. With two words, “Follow Me,” Jesus provided clarity. He knew there would be competing voices for our attention. He knew culture would embrace a different message. He knew tools would be created one day that could help propel His message but would also enable distraction. In his sermon "Follow Me" on August 31, 2014, Traders Point Pastor Aaron Brockett said, “The first thing John wants us to know about Jesus when disciples were following him was he said, ‘Come and see’ — get in close proximity.” It’s about spending time, opening your heart and mind, and just hanging out with Jesus — alone and together in community. It’s about a relationship with the One who is truly worthy of being followed.
Relationships have been the foundation of my life, and God has blessed me with several role models who have supported me, challenged me, and helped me grow in my faith. But my number one role model is Jesus Christ, and each day I strive to follow Him — despite no Twitter account.
Who are you following?
My role models beginning with my mom, Lori Mansell (top left), Betty Edwards (front left), and Dr. Joan Malick (front right).