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Our Youth Need Role Models…Nonsense! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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When asked about the most difficult challenges that the youth face, one may assert strongly that the youth’s greatest challenge is found in the lack of role models.

Our societies seem to love those who have power over others and role models are those who influence the youth. The youth look up to these figures with great admiration to the extent that they test the loyalty of each other to their role models.

Those who insist upon the importance of role models have not actually defined the prerequisites of such a character. I do not agree with those who argue that role models for the youth are players of major football clubs or singers who appear in music videos. This is a distorted view, as to follow a talented sportsman does not mean that he is considered a role model, nor when a young girl styles her hair in a similar way to her favorite singer, does it mean that she would imitate her in every other way.

The worst thing is there are some young adults who reiterate this presumption without fully understanding the concept of role models.

Yasser Al-Zahrani, an 18-year old student says, “In my opinion, a role model is an example, whose positive traits should be emulated.” Majid Mudashash, 17-years old, says, “I do not acknowledge the concept of role models and I do not think there is an example to be followed or emulated.” Hamza Mohammed, also 17 years of age, does not agree with his colleagues as he argues that, “role models are teachers of religion,” as they are, “virtuous and I wish I could be like them one day.” As for Jalal, he had a similar a viewpoint and argued that, “societies go astray when there are no role models. We should all have a role model at some point of our lives, that is extremely knowledgeable and virtuous through his/her deeds.”

Over thirty high school students took part in this discussion with their various opinions. Their viewpoints reflect that society’s institutions and education system have failed to help the youth develop independent characters. Student unions and societies in schools and universities are incapable of developing these students or pushing them towards autonomy. What the youth needs to realize is that to build strong societies, what we really need is for society’s institutions to act as role models.

Mohammed Al-Jazairy

Mohammed Al-Jazairy

Born in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Al-Jazairy is the only accredited journalist to address issues such as education, unemployment, special needs, religion and social behavior among today's Saudi youth. With his personal experience of Saudi culture and society, Mr. Al-Jazairy has been popular amongst young Saudis and the older generations for his emphasis on the development and well-being of the adults of tomorrow.

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