No More Idols: Who Will Inspire Our Children?

Kano & Chase & Status - Orange Rockcorps Londo...

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I’m lonely and I’m looking for a place to go; where everything’s an embrace and everybody wants to know – Chase & Status

In today’s new world where life and business is moving faster than ever before, where all kinds of information are more accessible than they’ve ever been, and children are by far more curious than their parents ever were, I have had to ask myself some pressing questions like how will their insatiable thirst for knowledge be satisfied? When do they begin to search for their information? What knowledge do they seek and for what purpose do they seek it? Where will they go to get their information, and most importantly, who is providing our children with the information they seek?

The last question deserves our special attention because whoever our young ones receive their information from have a huge influence over their behaviour and thought patterns. There are always two sides to everything in this world and ‘knowledge’ also works in this two-sided way. This simply means that knowledge or information is either creative or destructive and if someone isn’t learning one kind, they are most certainly learning the other, as opposed to not learning at all. We can never stop discovering new things and ideas for we humans are just made that way. And there is no such thing as an idle mind since the mind is forever in motion. We are always thinking about one thing or another, even when the body sleeps. However, the issue here is whether the ideas being impressed on our minds will allow for creative expression or non-constructive depression.

So, what is being impressed on the minds of our young ones today? What kinds of information are they receiving and by what means? As humans, I’d say we learn through all five of our senses; we learn via what we see and hear, and through what we feel, smell and taste. For example, I learn whenever my eyes are reading a book, watching a film or simply observing the many things that happen in life. I also discover new things and ideas as my ears listen to the words on a gripping documentary for example, or to the lyrics of a touching song. I can learn about how skilled a chef really is by the taste of his/her specialty and I can discover how hygienic a person is by the way they smell. My body learns about the emotional effects of these sights, smells and sounds through the way I feel about them and it reacts accordingly. If my mind and body are excited about the information received, then I act in a vibrant manner and express my thoughts, words and feelings creatively. Conversely, if my mind and body are not positively stimulated by the information, I cannot act or express myself in an optimistic way.

This is what I am pointing to when I ask what kind of information our children feed on and how they receive them. They too learn through their five senses like the rest of us do. So, what are their eyes seeing? What are their ears hearing? How do their bodies feel about the information they are receiving? How does the information influence what they do, what they say and how they think? Does it help them to express themselves creatively or otherwise? In what form is the information for their senses being received?

As previously mentioned, I gather information on the many things that interest me predominantly through books, documentaries, music and people. However, I also attain a great deal of knowledge through the arts (literature, performing-arts, portraits and sculptures), business, history, and science. The main sources I use for enquiring about these are galleries, the internet, journals, museums, newspapers, new technology (smart-phones, iPads, etc.), radio, television and theatres. This tells me that our young ones also receive their information more or less via the same sources. But most importantly, I noticed that majority of the books I read, or the music I listen to and the things I watch are more often than not, things that have been suggested to me by someone whose views and opinions I respect and accept as ideal. This is where the idea of an idol comes in to play.

I wanted to identify myself with the people I considered to be idols in my life so, I was influenced by whatever information was acknowledged and approved by them. The scope of people ranged from immediate family members like my mother and father, to friends, colleagues and even school teachers. And then, there were the real icons and celebrities that young people always want to emulate. This collective were my idols and to repeat, I accepted and respected anything they’d say or do. I was young and impressionable and it didn’t matter whether such things were to my benefit or detriment back then. As far as I was concerned, I aspired to be like them and I shaped my personality around their ideals and the information I directly or indirectly received through them. In hindsight, perhaps I should have chosen such people – especially friends and icons – a lot more carefully, but I am also quite fortunate to have been guided by some truly great people in my lifetime. Some of them are still my idols today and I owe them a big thank you.

Nowadays, there are many intelligent but really confused young people out there. Many of them are lost and many are simply looking for something or someone that can guide them along whichever path they choose to follow. If they do not find things and people that encourage them to create a better existence for themselves, then they will most certainly find the things and people who will assist them in creating a much different kind of lifestyle. Our society at the moment is filled to the brim with the latter and they are recruiting our young ones faster than the current rate of unemployment.

So, do you know who your children’s idols are? Do you know whether they even have any? Are you one of them? If so, are you aware of your deeds and words around them? What information influences your life? Who were/are your idols? What effect do the books you read, the music you listen to, the things you watch and the places you go, have on the people who hold you in high esteem? Do these things inspire them to become or create something better in their lives and the lives of others? Or do such things influence them to have a less constructive view of life and the world in general?

A music production duo from London called Chase & Status recently released their new album titled No More Idols. As it happens, this band happens to be one of my favourites at the moment and whenever I listen to their music, I feel an inexplicable wave of inspiration and creativity around me. Since the subject of who is inspiring our younger ones has been a recurring theme on my mind for a while now, I feel as though Chase & Status is asking me a personal question with the title of their new release. The album itself is quite sensational and I’m addicted to the song titled Blind Faith. This written piece is my personal response to that question and I believe that we do have and will always have idols and mentors, but my sincere wish for our younger generation, is that they are able to discover and secure for themselves, well informed people that can serve as their idols; kind-hearted people of influence who actually deserve to be recognized by such a title only because they are people who can inspire us to better ourselves, dream meaningful dreams and create beautiful things.

By E. Nyoreme Nakpodia

No More Idols: Who Will Inspire Our Children? © 2011 Nyoremes Books, a subsidiary of Nyoremes Inc.

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    • Emma
    • February 13th, 2011

    “…dream meaningful dreams and create beautiful things.”

    Wise words for the youth today, or those looking for inspiration from an idol.

    I wonder if people realise, that sometimes we can be our own idols. If we stop this crazy pace in the world for a minute, and look at all we’ve achieved, we will soon be our own inspiration and receive a feeling of pride to keep us searching for the next moment of discovery.

      • Nyoremes Inc.
      • February 13th, 2011

      Thanks Emma, I totally agree with you and also believe that we are our own first and last source of inspiration as every decision we make in our lives is made by us, only for us. The trick though is knowing how to make well informed decisions and that is where we need the help of others. When we consistently make the right choices that help us to get where we want to be in our lives, then we begin to realise that wonderful feeling of confidence which helps us to realise that we can also be a source of inspiration for ourselves and others.

      Thanks again for reading luv xx

    • voke
    • April 2nd, 2011

    Hmm, truly inspiring piece i must say and i agree with all you have said Efe.
    Your words: “I wanted to identify myself with the people I considered to be idols in my life so, I was influenced by whatever information was acknowledged and approved by them.” This is where it all begins. So like you said, how do we get our children to identify themselves with people who will positively impact their lives and not the ones that if followed would cause them to make mistakes along the way?
    Should we leave it to chance or do we have a responsibility to guide them to have the right role models/ idols from a tender age?

      • Nyoremes Inc.
      • April 2nd, 2011

      Thanks for reading Voke. Answering your question, we shouldn’t leave anything to chance, especially not the upbringing of our children. We as parents must be the first and foremost idols/role models our children have. What they learn from us will go a long way in helping them identify what they should be learning from others. Our own role models will also inspire our young ones so it is very important that the home is made to be a very healthy and inspiring place in order for their minds to grow accordingly. I hope that helps. Thanks again x

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