Given the unique wiring of an adolescent, how do kids make decisions about who they want to really be? How do they learn their values? Who influences them? Who do they look up to who can provide guidance?
In the post below there are some links to interesting young people doing interesting things. Who shapes you? Who influences you?
Clearly, parents, extended family, teacher mentors, and other role models have a huge part in shaping young kids. Having said that, I believe young people can find tremendous role models within their peer group and through their social networks. We can find really positive role models who are teenagers who have posted their accomplishments on youtube or personal websites or blogs or through presentations at organizations like TEDxTeen. We have alumni from LCS who are excellent potential role models, and close in age to our current students. If kids are willing to explore these networks, there are inspiring young people out there.
Adolescence is challenging. Knowing that there are young people out there who are working hard to figure their own paths and are willing to share their thoughts and challenges with one another through social media. It holds really very powerful potential.
Here’s an inspiring role model!! Recently, 14 of our students returned from the Global Issues Service Summit in Nairobi. One of the speakers was Cassandra Lin. She’s a teenager from Rhode Island. Talk about a role model!
She’s awesome. She was also a huge inspiration to all of our students who attended the GISS in Nairobi.
Here’s another role model!!!
Below is a great Ted Talk given by a 15 year old. Here’s the description off the web site. She’s good fun to listen to and an inspiration to 15 year old females!
“Fifteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson had a hard time finding strong female, teenage role models — so she built a space where they could find each other. At TEDxTeen, she illustrates how the conversations on sites like Rookie, her wildly popular web magazine for and by teen girls, are putting a new, unapologetically uncertain and richly complex face on modern feminism. (Filmed atTEDxTeen.)”
Here’s her Ted Talk at TEDxTeen
Here is another interesting individual. I heard him speak at a conference a few years ago. It is worth hearing the story of
One reason I am interested in this topic is that our teens are challenged daily. Take the entertainment industry for example. Chris Brown, the music artist, recently performed a concert in Ghana. We had many students flock to the concert. It’s not often that a big name in the entertainment industry holds a concert in Accra, Ghana. I can see the lure. Having said that, Chris Brown is known as a convicted felon, a history of violence and drug use, someone who physically assaulted his girlfriend and yet he is a celebrity who draws a huge crowd. How can this be? What type of role model is this man to our students. Why expose our kids to this individual? How come our students were so eager to see this concert?
I think our kids need powerful role models. They must have powerful role models if, in fact, they are lured to concerts and entertainment like a Chris Brown.
We are talking about values and mindful behaviors. We are talking about smart choices and principled actions.
Learning principled actions, treating others with respect, honoring respectful and caring behaviors is essential during formative years of adolescence. Positive role models support such learning. Finding them through sports, entertainment, one’s family, at school, or through other resources is the challenge. There are many positive role models out there. Helping guide kids towards those role models is a collective responsibility.