Participants were asked to name their heroes, aside from parents. Next in line after relatives came teachers and coaches, then friends and pastors or religious leaders. The study noted that these heroes were all friends or personal acquaintances of teens. Ending the pack were entertainers, sports heroes and political leaders. Coming in at the smallest percentages were authors, science and medical figures, artists and military members.
Teen respondents valued most highly the personality traits of their heroes (26 percent), and secondly they valued someone they wanted to emulate (22 percent) and grow to be more like (“Teen Role Models: Who They Are, Why They Matter,” Barna.org, Jan. 31, 2011).
Choosing a hero is a tricky thing, but these points of value are good ones, depending on which traits we choose. Valuing perseverance over raw ambition, tact and kindness over manipulation, and humility over vanity is the way to go. For more advice on this subject, read the biblical books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs to learn how to identify the traits of true heroes, as well as those of antiheroes to avoid.