words: 'Role model'
Inspiring, motivating, buck-passing.
Professional football players who swear or are violent are usually
castigated for being bad role models to the nation's youth. Celebrities
who don't do drugs in public and resist the temptation of acting
in a depraved way are usually embraced as positive role models.
As a public figure you do not need to be particularly brilliant
at anything to assume the status of an officially sanctioned role
In the late Nineties, the New Labour Government was constantly
on the look out for willing role models. "Role models are important
in the development of teenage girls," declared the then Minister
for Women, Baroness Jay, as she sought to rope Spice Girl Geri Halliwell
into the planned army of New Labour role models.
Today, disoriented institutions opt for training potential role
The Royal Society has published a Role Models Study Guide. "Being
a role-model is extremely rewarding," it advises potential
recruits. Why? Because "you can help to change the wild hair,
white coats and glasses image of scientists."
Once upon a time leadership was part of the job description for
teachers; now we train inspirational role models. According to Role
Model Programmes for UK Teachers, a role model is a "person
who would like to inspire and help motivate pupils from a variety
The parenting industry is less worried about absent fathers than
absent male role models. According to parenting experts, if there
is a problem with your boy you should get in a male role model.
If that does not work then at least find a picture of an inoffensive
sports personality cuddling his son. Passing the buck is another
way of saying role model.
published on The First Post, 9 March 2006