Role Models That Inspire
Kids emulate the words and actions of the important people in their lives. The words of parents, teachers, coaches, counselors, and even celebrities, have tremendous impact on how kids interact in the world. Kids repeat it all… from acts of great kindness and generosity to words of harsh criticism and judgement. It has never been a more important time to teach and role model respect, kindness and tolerance to the young people in our lives. Though our children are exposed to all kinds of behaviors and values through the internet and social media, what is communicated at home, school, camp and in their personal lives has a much greater influence. If we speak with words of kindness, support and understanding, so will our children. If we speak words of judgement, thoughtlessness and hurt, so will our children.
Parents communicate values by everything they do. So, we work very hard to role model positive behavior and instill in our children that what we say and do impacts others. Holding a door open for someone or saying thank you when someone does something thoughtful goes a long way. Showing empathy and supporting a friend when they are going through hard times or respecting someone else’s views and opinions, brings people together and opens up lines of communication. We may think our children tune us out, but they are listening, observing, and examining how we handle personal relationships and everyday challenges. Conducting ourselves with dignity, respect and kindness will pave the road for them to follow our lead.
Children are also learning from the many role models they encounter outside of home life. The coach that teaches her team to play hard, play fair, and respects the referee’s calls without creating a scene. The teacher that makes sure his class works together without excluding any students. The celebrity that is vocal about an anti-bullying campaign. The community leader that organizes fund raising events for those in need. And the camp counselor who takes on the role of surrogate parent, teacher, and coach all at the same time. Counselors lead by example and demonstrate how to communicate effectively, make healthy choices, show empathy, teach perseverance and treat everyone with respect and kindness. Their time as positive role models may be limited, but their impact is powerful and lasting.
No matter who your child’s role models are, these important people should inspire and encourage them to see the best in themselves and others. By providing positive role modeling, we are giving our kids the opportunity to perform better in school, develop strong friendships, have greater self-esteem, and more easily work through difficult situations. Keep leading by example, and even when you think you are being ignored, kids are watching and sharing your views and values.