From the time of Aristotle, who spoke about the effects role models have on people, researchers have studied the importance of role models. Role models are a powerful force for learning and realizing potential. Research studies have shown conclusively that children who have good role models learn to be motivated self-learners. They play a decisive role in shaping behavior and interests and the choices they make later in life.
Having role models is important, especially for young adolescents who are on the verge of making their own identities.
The reasons for choosing role models can vary, but the admiration they inspire is what makes them role models. They have a quality, attitude or ability that one wishes to emulate and they inspire the individual to reach beyond themselves. Role models can inspire us to aim for goals and achieve ambitions which we think are beyond ourselves.
The present research tried to explore the issue of role models in contemporary society. Who are people, especially children, modeling their behavior and attitudes after? Analysis of the responses of 2098 students (1057 females and 1041 males), reveals the following:
16.3% of the school sample did not report any role model. This implies that a large number of our school students have no one to look up to and aspire to become
Dr Abdul Kalam, our technocrat ex-President of India emerges as the number one role model
Parents /family, came a close second.
Indian youth are still grounded in family and family values.
Youth of today admire individuals who have come up the hard way, who have met success because of hard work rather than influence; and who continue to be humble and disciplined.
Gender differences also emerged. In the top ten role models, no boy chose a female role model; however both male and female role models emerged in the top ten role models of girls.