Being a role model does not require being famous.

Positive Role Models; Keys to Encouraging Others



Society today has designated certain people as role models and as individuals that should be looked up to not because of any special characteristics, but because of their careers.

Athletes, entertainers, politicians and others who are so often in the public eye have become the example of positive role models that young people should emulate.

Unfortunately, their unsavory lifestyles and negative activities often make them unsuitable as positive role models causing the field to remain wide open for people who have the characteristics and lifestyle that would better serve as a positive role model for young people.  

The development of our young people and the keys to motivate them is not something that needs to be left to a celebrity or an athlete. Positive role models can be everyday people who do extraordinary things closer to home.

According to Susan Carney in her piece, “Positive Role Models for Teens,” on, there are a number of reminders that adults can use to be positive role models and help to guide young people regarding how they should act in everyday situations.

First, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, thus becoming a positive role model from the inside out. This ranges from making wise food choices to exercising regularly and avoiding drugs and negative behaviors. 

Second, encouraging a love of learning and helping young people to appreciate education and lifelong learning fosters a creative mindset as well as a positive attitude that is open to ideas. 

Third, a positive role model is someone who takes responsibility for their actions and works towards fixing it. When young people see their celebrity role models avoiding blame or “passing the buck” for their actions, their credibility is diminished. They realize that this person is not reliable, nor are they behaving ethically.

Furthermore, positive role models are able to use good problem solving skills to deal with issues so that they are handled maturely and with less emotional stress. Showing “calm during a storm” generates a supportive environment and raises the credibility of the individual.

Finally, positive role models can be counted on to do what they say they will do. This honesty and reliability is crucial for young people who are so often let down by people they admire.

Being reliable also goes hand-in-hand with being respectful.  Young people constantly mirror what they see and if the adults around them are treating others with kindness, they will do the same. 

This kindness is also highlighted in helping others less fortunate either through community service or giving back. Positive role models who are involved with charitable activities or social causes show young people that it is important to help others.

From eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and enjoying learning to being respectful, reliable and helpful to those in need, the strategies to being a positive role model are available to anyone. 

This provides an opportunity for everyday people to inspire young people and to make a proactive difference in the development of our future leaders.

Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

Leave a Reply