Role Model-a person who is looked at by others as an example or someone to be imitated.
This strikes a cord with me as some professions (like mine) categorize us as role models AT ALL times. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being a great example to others, I do it daily. HOWEVER there’s a lot of weight that comes with that. In classifying some one as a “role model” we leave no room for error. We attempt to carve perfection out of a human being. This is where it gets problematic. I think that in being a role model people dehumanize you. You are created for the world’s joy. When you are not living up to that expectation the world turns on you. The reality is that role models curse, pick their noses, have probably cheated before, enjoy liquor, and many other things. The moment the role model has a human moment, they are thrust into a scandal. AND That’s not fair!
It’s not fair that we point at people and tell our kids to strive to be like them without highlighting some of their pitfalls and imperfections. In children, it creates this fantasy of what their lives should be. We always say “Oh everyone makes mistakes!” but we reinforce something totally different. We make mistakes a huge ordeal. In reality they would have been better off knowing that mistakes happen, and this is how role models pick themselves up from this dark place. You show that kid “This is how we fix it” versus dark posts in newspapers, social media, and news sites. D’atra tells me all the time, “We have to separate people’s actions from who they are…” RESILIENCY is more valuable than perfection.
Because at the end of the day, WE role models enjoy the same things everyone else gets shamed for. WE’RE just better at hiding it.