A Project for Better Journalism chapter

How will we remember President Obama? As a role model.

President Barack Obama’s eight years in office have meant different things to different people, but take just a minute and set the politics and polices aside and there is no denying the fact that President Obama has been an authentic role model. This has always been quintessential aspect of his presidency, especially to children and young adults – an impressionable bunch.

As high school students, we were all early-mid elementary school age when he came into office. This means he is really the only president we’ve ever known, and he was the man in office as our interests and passions for social and political issues began to develop. Kids and teenagers need good role models. What better place for a role model than the President of the United States at this crucial point of social development in our lives?

No matter what you think of his policies or decisions, the way he conducts himself is something to be admired. President Obama, on every occasion acts with respect, poise, compassion, dignity and kindness to everyone, no matter their race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political standing; he even cracks witty jokes and goes on comedy talk shows to boot.

He holds the highest office in the land, but he still refuses to treat anyone else as less than. A great example of this was when President Obama stooped over to let five-year-old Jacob Philadelphia touch his hair to see if it felt just like his.

Even as Obama concedes his office to president-elect Donald Trump, he has done so with due regard and duty.

Will the next batch of young teenagers who are just beginning to involve themselves in the civil discourse of the nation have that same sort of role model of a president? Will Donald Trump’s behavior, (again, regardless of political actions), set that same example of what it means to be a respectable and honorable public figure? Time will tell.