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Where have all the role models gone?

In society today we struggle to find role models among the ‘icons’ that are foremost in our children’s lives. Outside of family and school there are some areas that every parent in New Zealand should be very worried about. The advent of reality television and the instant publication via the internet of any and all happenings concerning what passes as a ‘celebrity’ is one of several aspects of our  technologically switched on society that should be of great concern to all parents.

Many young teenage girls watching programme such as ‘The Kardashians’ or ‘Jersey Shore’ are in serious danger of thinking not only that these programmes are unscripted and represent real life, but also that acting vacuous, trashy, drunk and sometimes even promiscuous to get rich and famous is something to be proud of! You only have to walk through any shopping mall in the country to see ‘wannabe’ clones of these examples.

Young boys spend hours watching professional wrestling masquerading as a ‘sport’ on television or via the web. If your children are watching this rubbish you need to be aware of what they are being taught. Carefully choreographed acts of vandalism, violence, revenge and general nastiness where there is no place for sportsmanship, virtues of any kind or even something as simple as friendship. Boys who watch it will tell you they ‘know it’s not real’ and yet schools constantly see examples of these reprehensible ‘qualities’ creep into the way children who watch these programmes behave.

As teachers we spend a lot of time teaching children about virtues such as honesty, respect and self-responsibility, yet there are few examples of these qualities outside of home and school. We cannot even rely on our elected officials to set examples of some of the most basic virtues. Watch Parliament for a short time, or listen to our politicians being interviewed and invariably you will see examples of half-truths, disrespect and rudeness. It is a long time since I saw a politician take responsibility for their own behaviour yet we are constantly asking our children to do just that. Why then do we as a public still elect to high office politicians who have been proven to have deceived us, committed acts that would see many of us end up with a criminal record, blame others, or just plain lied to cover up what they have said or done?

 The media doesn’t help either. It seems the only news they are looking for is sensationalism, and sometimes they have to create that themselves! The media constantly reports on the negative and is slow to recognise the positive that occur every day in our society. As a result we often see the people with the highest profiles get coverage rather than the hundreds of people who work very hard every day to help others with little or no reward or recognition.

So take a few minutes at the dinner table to ask your children who their role models are. Ask which celebrities they would most like to be. The answer may come as a shock!

We work very hard at Cathedral Grammar to instil in our students the virtues that will stand them in good stead for the future, and we have to work hard given that we are often up against some powerful adversaries in the form of reality TV ‘stars’, internet ‘sensations’, thugs who masquerade as sportsmen and even our own politicians! All of this reinforces the need for our school to have a strong values ethos throughout everything we do, and ultimately the best role models children can have is their parents and teachers.

Our Location

To arrange a visit please contact the School:

Street Address

The Cathedral Grammar School
26 Park Terrace
Christchurch 8013

Phone: (03) 365 0385
Fax: (03) 365 0384

Postal Address

The Cathedral Grammar School
PO Box 2244
Christchurch 8140