Man Talk

“If the Children are untaught, their ignorance and vices will in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences than it would have done in their correction by a good education”

~Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell, 1818

Recently, a nationwide survey was done consisting of teenagers between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. They were asked to identify the person with whom they most admire as a role model other than their parents. Previous research showed that when mentioning parents it became almost an automatic response to recite parents as role models.

So whom do teenagers have for role models? Even while limiting the answers to non-parents, family members still come out on top. The most commonly mentioned role model is a relative- 37% of teens named a relation, other than their parent, as the person they admire most. This is typically a grandparent, but also included sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. After family, teens mostly mention teachers and coaches (11%), friends (9%) and Pastors or other religious leaders they know personally (6%). The other role models unfortunately named in these communities are either incarcerated or gang lords.

A majority of teens indicated that the people they most admire and imitate are those with whom they maintain a personal connection, friendship or interaction. If this is true, what happened to African American or Hispanic communities, where the majority of their family members are female?

Statistics say that young boys raised in single parent households, run by men, are not as likely to go to jail as households run by women.

I feel truly saddened when I see large numbers of idle young males filling our neighborhoods on a daily basis. We see them hanging on street corners, with sagging pants below their butts…smoking cigarettes, weed and drinking beer. What’s happening in our communities? Again, its the lack of parental guidance, role modeling and responsibility to children. Many of our young people have opted to join the military where they can at least receive the opportunities to obtain a good education and receive benefits.


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