We’d all do well to lis­ten to our res­i­dent teenage colum­nist and his advice on role mod­els.

When I said last year that Don­ald Trump would be serv­ing his ten­th term as emper­or in 2050, I meant it as a joke! By the time you are read­ing this, that thin­skinned cheese puff (in des­per­ate need of a good styl­ist) will be liv­ing in the White House. The office of the Amer­i­can pres­i­den­cy has been occu­pied by some amaz­ing role mod­els: George Wash­ing­ton, Abra­ham Lin­coln, JFK and Barack Oba­ma. Now Trump will be expect­ed to be a role mod­el, for his cit­i­zens and those grow­ing up glob­al­ly, dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy.

ROLE MODELS HELP US SEE WHO WE WANT TO BE. They are a big part of a young person’s life. The traits they pick up from their role mod­els will influ­ence how they act and behave as an adult, in both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive ways. Role mod­els may be sports stars, singers, actors, and the­se days, social media stars. In the mod­ern world, younger peo­ple are becom­ing more obsessed with idols who aren’t always a good influ­ence. On Insta­gram you only see the fin­ished pro­duct: the per­fect self­ie, the amaz­ing life, or the full- time cham­pi­on. See­ing this you might start to doubt your­self because you don’t live in a man­sion or have six mil­lion fol­low­ers.

SOMETIMES, WE MIMIC ROLE MODELS BY CHOICE. How­ev­er, we are also influ­enced by many oth­ers, some­times for bet­ter, some­times for worse. An influ­encer could be some­one we don’t want to be like, but because of their sta­tus and how much we see them, we take on some of their behav­iour sub­con­scious­ly. We need to be mind­ful of who influ­ences us, because as a soci­ety, we can pick up traits that are harm­ful to our­selves or each oth­er. Let’s take Mr Cheese Puff, for exam­ple. More and more peo­ple are now sub­con­scious­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in casu­al racism. Why? The exces­sive expo­sure of Don­ald Trump on Face­book, Twit­ter and the news, say­ing some­thing racist, can slow­ly seep into our dai­ly lives with­out it being noticed.

THIS MAY SOUND LIKE SOME DECAF SOY LATTE, STAR SIGN-OBSESSED PIECE OF SPIRITUAL WISDOM, but I mean it; learn to see your­self from the out­side and be your own role mod­el. You might not have as many fol­low­ers as Kim Kar­dashi­an or as much mon­ey as Bill Gates, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a good per­son or aren’t achiev­ing your goals. Social media pro­vides us with many pos­i­tives. But it also per­pet­u­ates some char­ac­ters who aren’t always the best influ­ence, pure­ly because they are famous and good look­ing; traits that aren’t rel­a­tive to being a good per­son. Under­stand that you mightn’t be like them, but you’re still great, as long as you aim to be.

WHETHER IT’S PRESIDENT TRUMP, Kim Kar­dashi­an or Bill Gates, role mod­els are every­where. And they’re all impor­tant. But when it comes to the crunch, the best per­son to influ­ence your behav­iour and to live up to, is the one you see in the mir­ror every morn­ing.

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