So recently I got a new favourite band: AJR. It’s a group of brothers who write really interesting songs that are usually commentaries on modern society and its quirks. Plus their instrumentals are out of this world😂. So anyway, I was listening to one of their songs recently: Role Models, and one of the lines really got me thinking. It went,
” All my role models are on TV for the wrong reasons, and I will unravel if you rip away my best pieces…”
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but from time to time, some really respected people, hailed and looked up to by thousands and sometimes millions of people, get caught up in all kinds of scandals; from sexual harassment, to money laundering, to outright fraud, it feels more and more like the people we look up to are just let-downs waiting to happen. And sometimes it gets really frustrating because you really don’t know who to trust.
I really don’t want to bring up this example, but remember Ravi Zacharias? He was this really famous Christian apologetic, renowned for all his fascinating intellectual arguments on matters regarding faith. I may not agree with some of the things he says doctrinally, but there’s no denying that tons of people found their faith through this man, and in many ways, perceived him as someone they could look up to as a guide on their Christian journey. So imagine their shock when it finally came to light that Dr. Ravi Zacharias was found guilty of the sexual assault of many women who worked at massage parlours he owned. Here’s the thing, I know nobody’s perfect. I know that we all stumble in many ways. But this wasn’t a man slipping and falling into temptation, this was premeditated sexual assault of women who worked at his spas, which he elaborately covered up through bribery, and by taking advantage of a system which failed to hold him accountable. *sigh* . I would understand if devout members of his church would feel betrayed, they should. This is someone they looked up to.
Ever heard about the hotdog rule? It goes,
“If you ever really really like something, never ask how it’s made”
In a weird way, I think sometimes this might apply to people too. Sometimes when we really idolize someone, it’s completely heart-breaking to find out they’re not the flawless, morally upright people we’ve pictured in our minds. So maybe it’s better not to do a lot of deep research about them, because we might just find some unpalatable skeletons. But the fact is, we need role models, I can’t deny that. Sometimes the future feels like it could go a million different ways, and it’s helpful to have someone whose life can serve as some sort of blueprint, so life get’s a little more clear-cut. But what do we do when our role models let us down, as they sometimes might?
Remember that they’re Only Human
No matter how decorated someone might seem to us, chances are that they have their own flaws and problems to worry about. A friend once told me that the best of men are men at best, and I think we should remind ourselves of that as often as we can. Just because someone has authority or some talent for which they’re given recognition, doesn’t mean that they are exempt from the many flaws that plague human nature. When role models let us down, we’ll probably feel a little disappointment, but that should fade after a while – after we recognize that human beings will inevitably let us down at some point. Once we realize the fallibility of man, these things won’t be so shocking anymore
Learn to move on
And now here comes the hard part: Letting go. So your role model has disappointed you, let you down and you feel betrayed. What do you do with all the things you might have learnt from them? Is it possible for you to still love the art, while hating the artist? I don’t know. What I do know, is that you chose that person as a role model for a reason. You thought you could use him as a guide, but you thought wrong. Maybe there were some aspects of his life that are objectively worth emulating, and maybe others…not so much. The choice of what to keep depends solely on your discernment. But above all, learn to forgive the mistakes of role models gone astray. Understand that they’re flawed, just like you, and hope they do what’s right in the end. Isn’t that all we can do?
Thanks for making it to the end of this…thing I wrote. Be sure to leave a like and respond with your comments below – I really want to know what you think. Till next time, stay safe everyone.
PS: If you want to listen to the full AJR song, here it is: