How to be a role model
Children and young people have their role models, adults that they respect and who influence them. The adults they listen to might see the world as a bad place to be endured and will pass this belief on to the child. A good role model will help children and young people develop positive beliefs.
We can be charitable in many ways. We can have some empathy for those people who are less fortunate than ourselves. We can take a hard line with people whose behaviour we don’t understand or we can try to understand and take a softer approach. Educated people try to understand, bigots don’t even attempt to understand but expect others to empathise with them. Adults have a responsibility towards children and young people who will copy their behaviour and part of that responsibility is to show tolerance. To be charitable to people who are different from us and try to understand. Lack of formal education doesn’t excuse the ignorance of intolerance.
Children feel a need for security. They need to know someone will help them when they are in trouble and someone will take the time to listen. If you show them that you take the time to listen, not only to them but other people who need a helping hand they will learn those values. They will grow up to be tolerant and supportive too. They will learn respect and you will earn their respect.
Honest is another value that you can pass on as a role model. Not just honesty as in ‘thou shalt not steal’ but the honesty that comes with being honest about who you are and what you stand for. I mean being honest and truthful while perhaps maintaining a diplomatic approach to people that doesn’t turn honesty into a blunt insult.
Educate and inform
We have a duty to educate and inform children and young people. That often means explaining why we give a particular piece of advice. They may respect us enough to take the advice and rely on blind faith but they need to learn to weigh the evidence and be able to make decisions when we aren’t around to advise. This too is part of being a good role model. We not only have to set an example but impart our wisdom to a naive generation.
Whether you are a parent, a teacher or even someone who has little contact with children and young people you are still a role model. You have a duty to them and your reward is respect.