What makes a good role model? That, of course, is the question I asked in the title. I think it is a really difficult question. Often times, the answer depends upon the same thing that beauty depends on – “it’s in the eyes of the beholder.” :-) At least, as I begin this writing for learning exercise, that is the only reasonable statement I can make.
Consider some of our celebrated athletes like Albert Pujols, Sarena Williams, Tiger Woods, Marion Jones, Brett Favre, Cheryl Miller, LeBron James, Danica Patrick and Rafael Nadal. Six out of nine of the athletes, listed in the previous sentence, have their own websites dedicated to promoting themselves. Should we use their websites to determine if they are good role models? I wonder why I couldn’t find a website dedicated to promoting Albert Pujols. Oh, there are many sites about Pujols, but none are dedicated to promoting him as a great baseball player AND with him in control of what’s on the site. At least, I couldn’t find any. Why do some promote themselves and others do not?
Does a good role model need to promote her/himself? Ideally, I would answer NO! Of course, ideally isn’t always reality. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with someone promoting her/himself. It just seems to me that if you are worthy of being a role model, you wouldn’t, or at least shouldn’t, have to promote yourself.
You see, I think good role models live in ways that help us see the way(s) we would like to live our lives. They serve as mental images of how we would like and/or want to be. A website can help, but I think a better role model is one who you can actually interact with. Someone who you can ask questions and observe, in person, the way to live a good life. Someone who can show you actual possibilities for living your life.
A good role model is usually a friend, parent, grandparent, teacher, minister, etc. – a good model that can have a powerful and regular impact on your daily life. Now, I realize that some will say that a well-known athlete is a good role model. I’m sure there are a few young and good athletes that have used the role model of a well-known athlete in a positive manner. Though that may be true for a few, I think most of us are better off choosing our role models such that we can interact with them and they can show us good possibilities for ourselves.
Finally, I think it’s important for the role model to first “walk the walk” and then, reinforce it with “talk the talk.” Most children will learn a lot more from what the role model does, than from what s/he says. According to Wiktionary, the term role model means, any “person who serves as an example, whose behaviour is emulated by others”. As you can see, a role model is about behavior. The children need good role models that manifest good behavior. The good behavior needs to be the “walk the walk.” After that has been demonstrated and established, then it can be reinforced with some “talk the talk.”
What makes a good role model? A person who can have a powerful, regular impact on daily life AND manifests good behavior that can be emulated. Or, a person who regularly walks the good walk, then talks the good talk, AND does so powerfully!
How about a comment about role models? You can “write the right!” :-)