I sat talking with some kids the other day and I asked them who their role models were.

Their answers were the obvious answers you’d expect from kids….sports stars, TV stars, and movie stars. Pretty standard.

I asked some high school students the same question, and I got the same types of answers with a few different ones: my dad, my mom, and a few friends of the family that they knew.

I split each group into gender and asked who would be a good role model for their gender.

For the children:

Girls: Disney TV stars and movie stars.

Boys: Sports stars (NFL, MLB mostly, wrestling)

For the high school students:

Girls: TV stars, and music stars, and also People doing what they wanted to do (I.e biologists, teachers, etc)

Boys: Sports stars, music stars, dad, and uncle

After this, I named some people who have done some great things: Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Senator Clinton, Lilly Leadbetter, Bill McKibben, Billie Holiday, Eleanor Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Abigail Adams, Tom Edison. Their faces went blank.

I showed them pictures of these people and there was som recognition…but not much.

I believe we need to start showing our children great people. Showing them what people are doing and what people have done. Are kids are inundated with TV, movie, and music stars. It’s all they see so it’s all they see as a role model.

Now is the time to start changing the role models by exposing kids to these role models.

There are kids changing the world right now….and most kids don’t even know them.

Abby Goldberg, a student from Grayslake, Ill., was working on an effort to ban single-use plastic bags in her community as part of a school project. After beginning to mobilize many in her community to support the effort, lobbyists with the plastics industry put pressure on statewide legislators to prevent local communities in Illinois from banning plastic bags.

This young lady is just one person who has done something.

We have to start showcasing and putting good role models in front of the students of today. Maybe then the students will see that there is more to life than riches, infidelity, violence, and excess.

Who are the people that are doing great things today?

Who are the kids doing great things today?