What’s a role model and what’s its significance in today’s world?
When speaking about the young in our society it’s a term some throw around lightly, yet its observance and potential holds the key to the formation of a child’s character.
I seemed to have many role models in my lifetime although I never referred to them in those terms and maybe was not even aware at a young age.
The word “role” didn’t fit because they weren’t playing a role; they were just themselves.
And “model,” why that could mean a mannequin or a figure, a representation or an archetype – sort of unreal.
Sometimes, I wonder about comprehending our English language, especially for immigrants. How we interpret the different meanings must sound strange and complicated at times.
In the German language, they just keep adding on to the same word. That makes a whole lot of sense to me. What we’d say in a sentence, they can say in a word 20 or more letters in length – well sort of.
But getting back to my original quandary, what’s a role model, because it’s a catchy phrase meaning someone another person could possibly emulate by following their behavior.
My dad had a habit of saying, “if you want to get something done, don’t complain about it, just do it.”
And that was long before Nike coined the phrase.
“Never put off ’til tomorrow what you can do today” was another decisive truth he’d advise. He was so immediate – so role modelish because he’d follow through on it.
Then there was Sister St. John in my elementary school years. She too was so real, like in your face real. I swore no student ever tried lying to her, even in desperation, for not turning in assignments.
She had no “class pets” and no kid ever tried. I admired her spunk and honesty so much as a 14-year-old that I wanted to be just like her.
In fact, Sister Gertrude of Queen of Angels Monastery, who is presently studying in Rome, reminds me of Sister St. John’s delightful nature and candid trustworthiness.
I go on and on about the wonderful people role modeling kindness, generosity, compassion, etc., but simply put, they were exhibiting the good stuff humans admire in one another in everyday situations.
They had character.
Intuitively, we start selecting our heroes and heroines at an early age – completely unaware of a role model mindset.
It takes time and age to absorb the good fortune coming from encounters with solid people along life’s path.
If my heart could express my gratitude to each role model in my life, it would burst before I could finish.
There were so many.