Where Are Our Role Models? Still Waiting for Godot? by Ayoyinka Johnson

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It is natural for our psychological essence to yearn for that someone that we hold in high esteem or someone we could use as a benchmark to measure what we would like to be or see ourselves become – a beacon of light to follow along life’s dark paths. This person could be a family member or might well be someone in the public domain or (dead or living) religious, historical or mythical figures – still, someone whom we hold dear in our lives, and someone we think we can learn the ropes from when climbing the mountains that we encounter during our formative years.

We are warned in Greek mythology that Achilles, that ancient hero from the Trojan Wars, whose mother fortified him against his body being penetrated by any weapon, did so holding him by the heels, dipping him in the river Styx as an infant. However, though he was strong everywhere else, he was vulnerable around the feet and heels as a result. This mythical hero was eventually killed when Paris shot an arrow at his heel. All heroes it seems, have their Achilles heel. Some of us hold on too dearly to these people such that when they fall, it appears a part of us also falls – it shakes us to the marrow!

When you look around in Nigeria, there are stories from every sphere of life exposing skeletons in the cupboards of these heroes of ours. Some of their Voltrons would even very aggressively engage you on social media seeking to justify the actions of their heroes. Who can blame them? After all, one of the stages of coming to terms with a major loss is denial before they eventually reach the stage of acceptance leading to true grief. Meanwhile, others rejoice and give a thumbs up to anti-corruption agencies that call them out – naming and shaming them, but do these pause to ask themselves what vital lessons they can learn from all this?

Given a similar set of circumstances, young people often profess, “who Nigeria epp?” announcing their readiness to dump “truth” for “loyalty”; dump “community advancement” for “individual gain” and dump “justice” for the sake of “mercy” as they see it. They don’t seem to recognize the moral dilemmas they are facing as being the same ones that brought their heroes down. The see the speck in the eyes of public figures but cannot see the log in their very own eyes! They believe they have the moral right to point at flaws in others whilst explaining away the serious shortcomings in theirs. They paint the picture of a bed of roses ignoring the putrid smell oozing from the attitudes and behaviors they exhibit when they believe no one is watching.

This is not a call to sainthood, whatever that means! But what values do you hold dear and exhibit? Do you follow the bandwagon? Or, do you act on issues because you are convinced about them? Would you hold back from doing some things simply because you believe they are wrong? Or, would you do the right things only because you are being watched or might receive some form of gratification for it?

This is not to leave us in despair but to cause us to reflect on how we are presently living our daily lives. While thinking about building your career and family life and other areas, do you forget to build our Character, which is the inner you and the real YOU?

Are you living a life worthy of emulation by others? People are watching and the world is constantly searching for role models. Would you answer the clarion call and be that true Role Model? People are in search of those whose value system aligns with the greater good. Would you be that person that others can truly look up to? Perhaps in your generation GODOT WILL FINALLY ARRIVE AND THE BEAUTIFUL ONES WILL BE BORN!




Article by  Ayoyinka Johnson

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