Respect for role models to role modeling

how-to-be-a-dad-Role-Model-24-7-365It is funny how we went from talking about respect for ourselves to respect for others and property to who we respect and being a role model.  All of us not only have people we admire, but we are looked up to and admired by others.  Even if we are a child in the family, the younger children look up to the older ones – and they many time pattern themselves after them.  At the very least they want to do everything that the older one does.

In school the younger students look at the older ones and determine for themselves how they should be acting.  In sports or in martial arts classes, those with less experience look up to those with more to determine how much effort it takes to get to a higher level.  Every parent is the ultimate role model for their children, and I reminded the kids and parents this week that children will all grow up and have many of the same habits and ways that their parents have.  Of course there was a groan from many of the kids – even after they had said that their parents were their role model.  But it is true.  How many of us adults find ourselves sounding just like our parents in some way?

The reminder I gave to the kids this week: 

  • When choosing a role model or someone you admire, be careful not to follow blindly.  While they may have some areas of their life that are admirable, there may be other parts that are not.  Always check in with yourself and see if the example they are setting fit with your morals, values and ethics.
  • Knowing that you are a role model – even without knowing for whom – every decision, every behavior, every choice, we should be asking ourselves, ‘is this the way we would want others to behave’.  Is this choice one I would recommend to a person I was mentoring.

These thoughts may even cross the mind of every parent and adult.  This is what makes parenting so difficult and such a heavy responsibility.  Both your own children and other children are watching you, me and others.  Are we making choices and behaving in a manner that we would like to see our children behave now or when they are parents?