GRE Issue Essay 132
“Too much emphasis is placed on role models. Instead of copying others, people should learn to think and act independently and thus make the choices that are best for them.”
Role models are those people who inspire us with their success stories. They need not be renowned people; instead, they can be simple people who we come across in our private lives, say a parent, a teacher or a friend. The author seems to be peeved about the concept of role models; he feels they gather too much attention and people tend to copy them blindly. I differ in my views from the author. I do not think role models are overemphasized upon, nor do I think that they cripple our independent thinking.
Primarily, the author seems to think that we all have role models in our lives. It is true that most of us are inspired by others, their tales of success, valor, values, principles, conduct etc. Nonetheless, it is not necessary that we have a particular role model as such. Mostly, societies have numerous leaders of the past and the present. These people leave their impressions in the minds of people and influence them. These impressions could be permanent or temporary. In most cases, they are temporary. How many of us think of our leaders and their ideas on a day-to-day basis? How many of us get inspired by the words of great men and remember them daily? Certainly, very few. Hence, by and large, we do not have such strong impressions of these people on our minds that we think of them in our routines. Take for instance the principle of non-violence followed by Gandhi. Though we appreciate it, we seldom adopt non-violence and tolerance. Leaders, thus, cast a shallow impression on our minds when it comes to acting on their principles.
On the other hand, there are people whose ideas we do remember. For instance, a child could take the example of his parents and react correspondingly in similar situations. There are people around us who influence our conduct. This influence need not be very prominent; it could be subtle and dormant. In fact, we could be influenced by a number of people without our realizing it. Take for instance the teachers of a student. Each one of them has a peculiar method of teaching and behaving. Even if students mock their teachers in their schooldays, they are sure to remember them when they grow up and get inspired by their words of wisdom later on in life.
More often than not, role models are people who we interact more with. They are real people around us and not those who we hear about but never meet. The influence of a person who we see in flesh and blood is more active in our minds and more dominant in controlling our actions.
Now let us consider the author’s idea of people getting influenced so much by role models that they tend to imitate them. There is no denying that people imitate others to become like them. Nonetheless, the percentage of such people is very low. Moreover, if you take a decision in your life that is influenced by others, the decision is yours nonetheless. You are the one who has to bear the consequences. Ultimately, the decision becomes yours, irrespective of who the brain behind the idea is.