Are celebrities good role models for children? – A teenager’s debate

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Prelude: Writing by my two boys in the form of poetry, crazy riddles, little stories, their own personal travelogues, wickedly hilarious sibling messages, birthday greetings and writing assignments in school on various topics, have often been my window into their souls. These treasured pieces give me a fascinating peek into their developing personalities, opinions, independent world views and an inkling of their future adult selves.

Their sensitivity in navigating the madness of the adult world around them, the ability to assess situations and events, and form fair, unbiased thoughts, their healthy respect for people and viewpoints dissimilar to their own, and the grace with which they forgive my own infrequent and frequent failings as a parent and as a person, yet continue to stay fiercely protective and endearingly unconditional in their love, provide much-needed life perspective.

This is a debate speech written by my 8th grader who happens to be a total news junkie, for a recent English test in school. His line of thought and lucid expression impressed his teacher and much to his horror, my rebellious yet shy teenager was asked to read the whole debate aloud to his class.

Replicating it here word-for-word, as I too feel that this debate makes valuable arguments against celebrities as role models. The two images are of the original debate in Arnav’s hand from his test paper.

I loved the clincher in the end that points to the right sort of role models for children.

Beyond mere marks or rote learning, it is the capacity of critical thinking that is a valued skill to nurture in children. Here it is….

Write a debate speech, to agree/disagree with the motion, “Celebrities are good role models for children.”

“Good morning respected judges and my dear friends! I am of the opinion that celebrities are not always good role models for children.

There are a number of points to support this idea. Celebrities, being movie stars, cricket players etc., are inevitably a few of the richest people in the country. With so much wealth, most of them are bound to spend on expensive cars, gourmet meals, luxurious mansions etc.

Children, with their young minds will want to be like them and look like them. Hence, they are bound to splurge on things when they are older, even if they are financially incapable of doing so.

Celebrities also endorse products which claim to make a person fairer or give them muscle mass. When children see that their idol uses a particular product, they too will want to use it. They are bound to get depressed if they are not as good looking as a particular celebrity.

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My opponent may feel that not all celebrities like to expose their wealth. Though I agree with this point, I feel that majority of the country’s celebrities love to spend on things and to appear in the newspaper.

Many celebrities lead lavish and luxurious lifestyles, while there are so many people who struggle to afford a meal a day. Most celebrities are ignorant towards this fact.

Therefore, respected judges, I would like to conclude by saying that children should look up to people who want to take the world forward and not people who show the world their wealth.

Thank you!

Arnav