Former NBA star Charles Barkley is well-known for this comment. “I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” No one believes Mr. Barkley is responsible for raising other people’s children, but he fails to understand that with millions of people watching him on and off the court he really is a role model.

Like it or not, Mr. Barkley is a role model. Millions of people saw his behavior on and off the court. As a matter of fact, we are all role models. Someone is always watching. Someone is being influenced either positively or negatively by our behavior.

A good role model is a person whose character is worth imitating to produce positive attributes and traits. A positive mentor inspires others to make necessary changes for improvement and to strive towards proper and effective goals.

We all emulate someone whether it is a parent, teacher, friend, athlete, politician, or a historical figure. Why, even the apostle Paul spoke of those who influenced him. He spoke of being educated under the Pharisee teacher Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). No doubt Gamaliel was a role model to Paul. Paul also spoke of another role model for him. He wrote to the Corinthian church saying, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

From these words, Paul challenges the church to follow his positive Christian lifestyle as he is molding his life around the traits and characteristics of Jesus the Nazarene. There can be no better role model for all of us to follow than the Son of God.

Effective role models possess the following five traits.

1. A good role model has high moral values. People respect those who not only speak about morals but also live a moral life. Role models behave ethically and honestly. They speak truth. They possess strong values and principles.

2. A good role model projects confidence. They are confident in their abilities but never arrogant or braggadocios. With a sincere desire to see others improve, they confidently use their strengths to encourage and show others  how to achieve their goals.

3. A good role model invests the necessary time and effort to help others achieve success. They don’t easily quit but instead are willing to persevere to overcome obstacles in order to achieve objectives.

4. A good role model shows respect. They treat others with respect, kindness, and fairness. Role models display unselfish actions and non-critical views of those different from themselves.

5. A good role model inspires others because they have an optimistic outlook on life. No one finds inspiration in a pessimistic individual. Role models tend to see the bright side in difficult situations and can find creative solutions to their problems

The Lord and His apostles were influencers and role models. The Bible does not specifically speak to all five of these role model traits in them, but it is not difficult to see these five traits in their actions and words.

You may not be an influencer of millions, but you are a role model and an influencer. Your family, your friends, your neighbors, both saved in Christ and lost in sin are watching you! Influence them for the Lord. Imitate the Lord’s character united with these five traits of an effective influencer. Be a role model for God and for good! — Tom