I Wanna Be Just Like…?- Who Teens Look To As Role Models

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Parents & Families, Youth Culture & Trends

I’ve been in youth ministry for almost 16 years now, and one of the biggest myths I still hear out there in the youth culture world is the one that suggests teens are looking anywhere other than to adults as role models and influencers.  Now I understand the power of peer influence…of the entertainment and media world and the people placed on society’s pedestal.  I get the pursuit of tribal acceptance and input, but are teens really of the impression that adults within their own sphere of influence are ‘out-of-touch?’  I don’t think so, and in fact I think teens are not only open to, but craving the influence of loving, caring adults in their lives…and the stats out there back me up. 

Sure there’s a few teens out there who’ve had some bad adult relationship experiences which has jaded their perception, many times justifiably so.  But the majority of the times I’ve heard the  ‘teens balk @ adult influence in thier lives’ line…it’s notcoming from teens…it’s coming from adults…and usually as an excuse as to why they say “no thanks” to an involvement in youth ministry!

Yes friends are important…yes athletes, celebs, and media darlings have pull and sway, but are they the first choice for teens to seek input in decision-making?  Just who are teens looking to as role models in life?  Check out this recent snippet from The Barna Group on whose influence teens seek out on a regular basis;

The people teenagers look up to as their role models matter a great deal in determining the shape and substance of the next generation of churchgoers, consumers and citizens. A study conducted by Barna Group among a national sample of teenagers gives new insight into whom teens select as their role models and why those individuals captured their attention.”  (barna.org- Jan. 31, ’11)

Click here for rest of the article

What’s your thoughts?

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