The dictionary defines a role model as a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people. When you ask most people what they believe a role model to be, they would probably come up with a similar version of that definition. However, they would most likely insert the word ‘positive’.
I think we can all agree that the average person has crossed paths with a positive role model at some time in their life. Interestingly, there has been an ongoing debate about who should be considered role models, particularly whether or not celebrities should be or not. Their personal lives have always been under close scrutiny where this topic is concerned because children look up to them. The general public has an expectation that celebrities uphold a positive image because there are children that want to emulate them.
This whole debate about celebrities was refueled in 1993 when Charles Barkley, former NBA basketball player, so boldly stated that he was not your child’s role model. His comments opened a fire storm in the media, around the water coolers and at dinner tables across the country. Based on the dictionary’s definition, Barkley can be seen as a role model because his success as a basketball player can be emulated by others.
I have no doubt the debate will continue. My perspective is that I choose for God to be my child’s first role model. He is the only perfect one. He makes no mistakes. I believe as our child’s parents that we should be the second role model. We are not perfect. However, I am the only person whose behavior I can control. My husband’s is the only one that can control his behavior. We teach that we are human and we will make mistakes but we try to be the best example we can be.
Parents, whether you believe celebrities should be a role model or not. I encourage you to be the person your children can count on. I don’t care how many celebrities children may like, your influence is the one that means the most to your children. Step up to the plate because whether you like it or not, you are their REAL role model. Good or bad. Like it or not.
Until next time, I hope you have been encouraged, empowered, enriched and enlightened.
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