I am not against idolatry. I am very much for it. I think having people or even ideas of people that you consider exemplary is a really good way to stay positive and driven. It starts with your parents of course. Until I was nine or ten I cared for no one's attention more than my mom and dad. I wanted to be as smart as my dad is and as persevering as my mom is. I love my parents and brother as much as ever, but my range of heroes grew slowly until I had an array of examples from favorite teachers, characters, and athletes to the current professors and authors I try to emulate.
Sometimes I lift these people up in my mind to a degree in which their presence overwhelms me, but this power can be used for good. If I pick the right idols the work I do to impress and be worthy of them is time well spent. I don't know if I would have tried as hard in swimming if Jacqueline and John didn't believe in me. I don't know if I would have been as successful in Shakespeare if I didn't know that my favorite authors really valued it. The trick is to pick idols that push you to read, learn, spread kindness, stand up for dignity, push yourself to be productive, be charitable, and spend your hours on good projects instead of the idols who will not motivate or enlighten you.
Everybody's got a hero. Even your heroes have people who inspire them. They had parents, coaches, and mentors too. If I ever become someone's hero I want to be a good example of how to live fully and richly. I like the idea that someone else might someday look to me as an example of how to be wise, brave, or supportive. I'm only a twenty year-old in college now, but I have idols who think I can achieve something epic.