Role models surround us. Those closest to us--parents, spouse, siblings, relatives, and friends--have a powerful impact. Influential people also include religious leaders, teachers, coaches, bosses, co-workers. Our culture, the world in which we live affect us, too.
learning how to learn from example is important since certain moments change lives. But we must not follow anyone blindly. "Never idealize others," says author Leo Buscaglia. "They will never live up to your expectations," he warns. This is a constant fear of parents; that their children idolize celebrities or athletes who send them a mixed message.
Jan Faull, an educator and author, advises parents that at "age 10, a child is old enough to understand that people are complex and have many dimensions." She says that if an athlete a child admires has been in the news for troubling behavior, parents should discuss with their children why they look up to that person.
Acknowledge the player's amazing free throws, incredible record, and great charity work--but also point out bad off-court choices, " she continues. Children may be disappointed to find that a superstar has feet of clay, but they might also realize that their "hero" doesn't really deserve their adulation or emulation.
Without introducing a wholesome range of good examples for young people, "you are deferring to what's on television," noted Dr. Antonette K. Yancey, co-author of a study on young people and role models. Dr. Yancey advises parents to "make sure there's a diversity of images available in your home--in all books, magazines, artwork.
It takes a village to raise a child--is good but it needs to be extended. I say it takes a tribe to raise a child...If you don't pass on accumulated wisdom and experience, where does the child get it?
Growing up with a single mom, my aunts were hanging out by the windows of our home, looking after us kids in the street...I couldn't get into trouble by this network of aunts and uncles and cousins, and when you were caught, the speed of my relatives brought it to my Mom and Grandma for retribution before I even made it home.
It's known that children who have positive role models are more likely to succeed at school, have higher self-esteem, and are less likely to fall into substance abuse.
What they see is what you get... it is indeed difficult to be a good role model. Good luck!