Role Models

Athletes. Actors. Singers. Religious figures. You. Me.  We all have one thing in common: we are role models.

Today, at his highly publicized Easter appearance in Georgetown, Texas, NFL quarterback Tim Tebow had this to say when asked about professional athletes “who insist they are not role models”:

“Yes you are. You’re just not a good one,” Tebow said.

A.) True story.  Preach! (No pun intended.  Gosh darn slang.)

B.) Whoa.  Possibly the least positive thing I’ve heard Tebow say, and I like it.  His positivity is polarizing (yet contagious; how does he do it?), but I think the key to his longevity as a public figure is steadfastness to his beliefs and the courage to be transparent enough in all aspects of supporting these beliefs that people can identify with him.  If anyone is capable of finding such a balance, even their critics will respect them.

More than athletes though, this is really about every single one of us. So many people claim “I’m not a role model!” A reaction like that leads me to wonder whether it’s because they think their reach is limited or if it’s because they’re not proud of the example they’re setting.  Of course, modesty prompts some people to be coy about the influence they think they have, and humility can similarly stifle outright ownership of a persons’ influence over others; however, I find that the responsibility associated with the idea of being a role model is what many people are really trying to get away from.

Sure, it can be draining to constantly worry about staying accountable to yourself and those you love, but like it or not, the role you are currently playing is one that others will watch as an example, for better or worse.  Something you did, are doing, or will do will inevitably result in an outcome that others can learn from… it’s up to you to determine exactly what lesson they’ll learn.

You’re a role model.  Be a good one.

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