Our Role Models
A role model is a person whose behavior and actions influence others, especially younger people. What does it take to be a good role model? Well, you need to set examples, especially in public and particularly around those who are younger than you. In my experience as a mother and in my work with children and youth, I have learned to treat those who are younger than me with the same amount of respect and consideration I would a peer. People big or small, young or old, are the same, separated only by their experiences. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus said (Matthew 22: 36-40) to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Child Such As This
My second oldest child, Stephanie, is studying part time for her bachelor’s degree in social work. As part of her studies, she had to plan and execute a campaign. She works part time for the Child & Youth Advisory Center in Baar, where she manages various youth groups. When she first began, the youth were somewhat skeptical of her. Stephanie had to earn their trust which she did by showing them respect and demanding it in return. Perhaps this is a different way of thinking, but she has been able to build up a bond of trust which opened up the door to leadership and communication. With this experience in mind, the focus of her campaign has been role models and how we, as adults, are role models the younger generation. The goal of this campaign is to bring awareness to the public and remind people that their actions, whether they realize it or not, are watched and often copied by children and youth.
For several weeks, posters have been hanging up around the Zug area as well as in busses and movie theaters. They carry provocative suggestions of behavior and ask the question, “Are you a role model?” In a recent interview in the Neue Zuger Zeitung (May 19, 2014), Stephanie said that the campaign is not about pointing fingers, it’s about bringing self-awareness. “It doesn’t matter if it is right or wrong, it is about being a role model.” She also suggests that children can be role models for adults. This is clear when a young bike rider wears a helmet but parents don’t.
Children are taught to cross at the crosswalk and wait for the green light. The ones who don’t are usually the adults who are in a hurry. These are things to think about. I love to learn from my children. They are my role models.