Sunday, April 4, 2010

Role Model by choice

Like all people I get frustrated from time to time. I will get cut off in traffic or someone might be talking loudly on a cell phone next to me in a restaurant. For the most part I ignore these type of bad behaviors but admittedly, there is still a part of me that just wants to cut loose and return the favor ten-fold. I don’t however, not because I’m too weak to stand my ground, but because I CHOOSE to be strong and maintain my principles. I want to set a positive example whenever it is possible, even when it hurts.

Now that does not mean in all situations, I should or do ignore bad behavior. In fact, especially for the younger set, I will insist that playing basketball with the store fruit is unacceptable behavior, EVEN if the oblivious parents are nearby. I think it is ok to courteously ask someone talking on a phone or blowing smoke in your direction, to desist. I always try to maintain my good humor in such situations as I am less concerned with exercising my dominance and more interested in encouraging future thoughtful consideration, towards ME and hopefully society in general.

Many of the world’s ‘little’ problems are often a result of poor choices and negative role models. If you want your teenager to drive safely and carefully, then it is YOUR JOB as a parent and a role model to act appropriately as well. What is the model that is reinforced if a parent sneaks a secret smoke in the car after kids are lectured repeatedly that smoking is detrimental to long term health? Why would anyone expect teen drivers to avoid talking on cell phones while driving, when their older siblings and parents routinely ignore the EXACT same safety advice. Yes I know, high pressured society demands phone accessibility 24 hours a day – yeah right? The country and business specifically seemed to be moving along quite nicely two decades ago, BEFORE the advent of instant communications.

I was recently perusing random websites and I came across a purported school teacher’s recreational blog. I was shocked to see that many of her posts were laced with profanity and fairly negative in tone. Now certainly I understand people having a bad day, but for a teacher to open up like a field dressed deer, in front of all the world to see, is unthinkable to me? I understand it is supposedly a ‘personal’ blog to vent and such, but isn’t even THAT premise a questionable example for today’s kids? Do we want our youth unleashing more of their anxieties, vulnerabilities, and drama on-line, or do we want them to come TALK TO US in person?

I am not perfect nor do I expect others to be. Regardless of how people see any of us, each individual should bear the responsibility to provide the best examples for others to follow. Even if you don’t choose to act as a role model, your behaviors will still inadvertently affect those around you. Therefore if you act in a principled positive way, it is a strong possibility that others around you will feel compelled to act that way as well. Practice what you preach and treat others in the way that you wish to be treated. The philosophy is as old as time, but still just as good today for role models or anyone that chooses the success of strength over the failure of weakness – even if it hurts.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - excellent post! I think I read that same teacher's blog (wink). I enjoy your writing and will be reading more.