June 15      

Today's quotation:

The most important role models in people's lives, it seems, aren't superstars or household names.  They're "everyday" people who quietly set examples for you-- coaches, teachers, parents.  People about whom you say to yourself, perhaps not even consciously, "I want to be like that."

Tim Foley

Today's Meditation:

I try to stay conscious of the fact that I'm a role model-- whether I want to be or not, or whether I think I am or not.  The simple fact of the matter is that younger people are looking for models as they learn more and more about the world, and somewhat naturally they look to people who have been around much longer than they have.  So I try always to be positive and not to do things that I would have to apologize for.  I try to share hope and love and compassion so that young people may see that example and think that that may be good qualities to strive for in life.

I have no idea how successful I am.  But it is very important to me to make an effort to teach younger people by example, not just by words.  I don't want to be that person who says one thing and then does another; I'd rather be the person who doesn't say anything at all, but who does what I know to be right and constructive and kind.  If anyone in the future ever says, "I wanted to be like him," I sincerely hope they're talking about something positive rather than something negative.

If I take being a role model seriously, then it's important for me to make decisions that truly reflect my desire to make the world a better place, even if only in a very limited way.  I can be critical of things that deserve criticism-- I don't have to be a cheerleader or to look at the world through rose-colored glasses.  I also want to be realistic, and if something is bad, it needs to be called bad and dealt with.

The young people in our world need to hear less complaining and less rationalization of mistakes and misdeeds, and more encouragement and words of hope.  They want and need us to be constructive rather than destructive, and they need us to make decisions that they can emulate to be successful in life rather than decisions that will sabotage them if they were to emulate them.

Questions to consider:

What would a little kid say about the model you provide to him or her?

Why do so few people seem to take seriously the idea that they're role models for young people?

What kinds of traits would you most like to pass on to younger people through the model you provide?

For further thought:

Children have more need of models than of critics.

Joseph Joubert
(also attributed to Carolyn Coats)

more on role models



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