Role Models. We hear a lot about how children need them. However, as adults we use them to. We have role models we use when parenting. We have role models on the job and just generally for different aspects of our lives. The key is not just acknowledging that we have and need role models but to select effective role models.
Role models should embody the characteristics and behaviors that we want to emulate. They will not ever be perfect people, none of us are; but they should be people who have traits we can model. I, personally don’t ever think that celebrities make good role models. A role model should be someone you see in a variety of situations. It should be someone you can talk to and interact with.
Our first role models are our parents. Sadly, for many of us, these are not effective role models. An effective parental role model should embody characteristics of love, dependability, security to name a few. An absentee parent, an abusive parent, a parent who doesn’t want to be a parent are not good role models. Tragically, we often see people with poor parental role models going on to be poor parental role models.
I work with interns on my job. These interns have to be aware of the people they work with everyday and not just let themselves be influenced just because someone sits in the cube next to them or because they report to that person. I’ve seen enthusiastic kids beaten down by the naysayer who’s negative attitude acts as a poison, slowly changing their outlook and actions for the worst. I’ve seen productive focused kids influenced by the lazy and entitled coworker who thinks that showing up and doing the bare minimum is good enough. It isn’t.
When it comes to familial role models, we don’t have a choice. We are stuck with the hand we were dealt; but that doesn’t mean we are doomed to repeat their mistakes. We can choose to be and behave differently. Having an absentee father doesn’t mean you have to be an absentee father or choose a man to father your children who won’t be there. You can choose to look at your role model and decide to do thinks differently and consider your parental role model of what you do not want to be.
As you progress though life, you will choose the people to model. Look at their character and the results they achieve, not just financially, but in terms of the richness of their relationships and the depth of their character and choose accordingly.
Remember when it comes to role models the choice is yours … so choose wisely.