29 December 2011

The Best Of Role Models

My English teacher has this blog called 'Express Your Opinions!" where, well, the name says it all (see for yourself here). One of the questions thrown at us was "Who are your role models?" When I read the comments that came before me, Parents and Teachers seemed to be the most common answers. Yes it is undeniable that they are role models. However, for me, the biggest role models in my life don't fall under any of those two categories. The people on this earth who are my biggest role models have changed my life indirectly but in a very adversely positive way.


A role model to me is someone who I know inside-out, or at least know quite well. Thus, people like Oprah Winfrey and Bruno Mars, famous people, though are great people, don't qualify as a role model of mine. There is a simple reason behind that. Who knows what they are really like? I've experienced this first hand. I looked up to someone for such a long time just because of the reputation that he had and just because everyone talked good about him all the time, even though I didn't really know him well. Then, one day, when I did get to know him, and knew more and more about him, only to realised that I had been fooled by "The Cover". I'm not saying that a role model needs to be like a best friend who does everything with me and tells me literally every detail there is to know about him. What I'm saying is that a role model must be someone who has been able to convince me that they are admirable inside and out. The whole point of this is so that I truly learn the process behind what we see. There is no hidden conspiracy behind a person. Imagine admiring a great athlete who claims that he trains for 8 hours a day but what you didn't know was that really he's just taking steroids or whatever other drugs and just so happens to be really good at getting away with it. To see someone go from zero to hero with your very own eyes is just most ideal and convincing. This can only mean one thing, my role models are people who I know personally.

I truly do look up to my parents but the thing is, I just can't really compare them to myself well enough. I did not live to see them being my age. Circumstances were and still are different for us. Even though they do inspire me, the inspiration is not the strongest. In order for inspiration to really hit me at its strongest, it needs to be so applicable to me that I am genuinely fully inspired. In my opinion, the best role models I can have are those who are younger than me or at least the same age.

Every one looks up at all the "tall" adults around but does anyone ever "look down"? I'm sure that we are no stranger to the line of poetry "If you can do it, so can I!" Well, to better illustrate the point I'm about to make with a very extreme example, if my 40-year-old father can earn a million dollars an hour in the year 2011, can I, a teenager, with school and everything, earn a million dollars and hour in the year 2011? Most probably not. Impossible I guess, unless my father gives me his company or something. Maybe yes in the future, but who knows what the circumstances of our world will be like in 2050 when I'm 45 or even in 2012. However, if my classmate can get full marks on last week's Biology chapter test, can I get full marks on next week's Biology chapter test? If my younger brother is able cook dinner for the whole family one night, might I be able to cook dinner for the whole family the next?

I used to think that there was absolutely no way a Junior High student could win science fairs. In Indonesia, this was one industry conquered by the Senior Highs. Then, I had just terminated my science project and deemed it hopeless when two classmates, Becky and Owen, called to tell me that they won the national science fair and have been chosen to represent Indonesia in the international competition in Brazil! If Becky and Owen had never earned that ticket to Brazil (even though they didn't place in competition in Brazil), I wouldn't have even won the science fair the following year, let alone earn my ticket to Houston. They really have become role models in my life. Furthermore, they had the heart to help me with my project. They shared with me what they had learnt from their experience, allowing me to learn from their mistakes and repeat their right-doings. They were able to make me better than themselves. They lead me to a Bronze medal. In turn, they have really become my heroes.

I find much inspiration from my peers and from my Juniors. It amazes me sometimes to see a kid years younger than me obtain such amazing achievements. Whenever I do, I begin to ask myself "What was I doing when I was his age?"

I take the effort to tell all my role models how they affect me. I feel that they deserve to and need to know for their better. You don't have to look far and wide or up and high to find your role models. They may not even be the best ones. Heroes are all round us, and sometimes, you just have to look, well, down!

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