Role Models

You don’t have to be a parent long to find yourself wondering whom your child will look up to and want to be like. As our culture creeps slowly and more deeply into the protected areas of our life we parents often wonder and fret over how much influence entertainers, athletes, and other celebrities have over our children and teens. Recently I read an article from the Barna Group that addressed this very question:

So who do teenagers name as their role models? Even while limiting the answers to non-parents, family members still come out on top. The most commonly mentioned role model is a relative—37% of teens named a relation other than their parent as the person they admire most. This is typically a grandparent, but also includes sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, and uncles. After “family,” teens mention teachers and coaches (11%), friends (9%), and pastors or other religious leaders they know personally (6%).Notice that a majority of teens indicated that the people they most admire and imitate are those with whom they maintain a personal connection, friendship, or interaction.

In the end, Barna Group surmises that teens model their lives after those they know best and would want to be like. As a youth minister for the past 10 years, I find this conclusion to be right on the mark. Teens develop a sense of identity, direction, and passion from those who love them for who they are and who at their core have personality traits that they value.

Church! This is what we do. We are family. We know each other. We maintain a personal connection, friendship, and interaction with our teens. We show care for others, we love and are polite, we are courageous, and we have great Joy and are fun people to be around. This is who we are because this is who God has called us to be.

Let’s make sure that our teens see these qualities in us and that out of all of their potential role models, we are the ones that they choose.


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