By: Catherine He
When someone asks you, “Who is your role model?”, who do you think of? The fact is, we tend to look to people who are older than us. We look for people deemed successful by society’s standards; people with something of a celebrity status. Yet, I don’t believe that the most incredible role models are defined by the numbers at the top of their Instagram page or a checkmark next to their name on Twitter. The best role models can often be found within our own communities: people we have interactions with frequently, making a direct impact on our lives.
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of a role model is “a person whose behaviour, example, or success is or can be emulated by others”. With that in mind, I can confidently state that my role model has a huge impact on my daily lifestyle. He has a fresh perspective on life and is very intelligent. My role model is my little brother, Jordan. I strongly believe that children are the most inspirational role models.
My brother has never been afraid of dreaming big. Since he was able to read and write, Jordan had always dreamed of success in his future. So, when completing homework he didn’t understand, Jordan would never just give up. He would persevere and figure out how to tackle the problem. He knows hard work is a requirement for fulfillment of his dreams. As a teenager, I often ignore my dreams because they’re ‘too difficult’ or ‘impossible’, when in reality, nothing is ever impossible if you’re willing to work for it. I have learned from Jordan that hard work is the key to success, but more importantly the value of dreaming big, making me more successful in all aspects of life.
Desire is what allows you to grow and achieve your goals. It’s what distinguishes people from emotionless robots. Learning from Jordan to work harder for my dreams, I was finally able to achieve my long-time dream of winning a short story competition that I had entered every single year and lost every time. The feeling when MY name was called to go up on stage to receive the award made me realize that the hard work really paid off. My dream had finally been fulfilled. We were all young children at some point; therefore, I think we can attest to the fact that children are some of the most imaginative people on Earth. Because of this, they tend to be the biggest dreamers. Children can teach us a lot about the value of dreaming.
Jordan has forever been able to express himself naturally without pretense. According to Psychology Today, one of the main reasons that children are succeeding as role models are just that: they are authentic and unfiltered (Fournier). As for myself, I have always been more of the quieter and less outspoken type. Jordan’s personality has inspired me to be more genuine and make myself heard, though his natural talent becomes extremely annoying in debates over his iPad time limits. Being unfiltered means Jordan says whatever is on his mind. He doesn’t second-guess himself or say something far from the truth to avoid conflict and rejection, which is something many of us are often guilty of. Learning these skills have presented opportunities that I otherwise would have never received, such as being a member of the winning debate team in my county last year. Debating had always been something I was afraid of. The thought of arguing with people in front of an audience had never been something that interested me. Yet, with a little push, I am now able to confidently debate and speak my mind. Learning from Jordan to be 100% authentic is what has allowed me to grow as a person and become successful.
Finally, children understand the importance of balance in play and work. In a world of responsibility, we are so caught up in our jobs and family that we often forget how to have fun. Just before Christmas, Jordan received a bad grade on a test. So, in the days right before school began again, Jordan created a routine in which he would study for 30 minutes, take a 10-minute break to play, and complete the rest of the study period. Just a week later, Jordan wrote a similar test and aced it thanks to his balanced studying. Subconsciously, he knew that imbalance would mean less overall development. According to researchers in mental health and wellness, engaging in fun activities relieves stress, improves brain function, and boosts creativity (Smith, Robinson). I have learned from Jordan to balance my own busy schedule. It has improved my mood, overall mental health, and made me more successful in time management. I am being more productive and less stressed thanks to a little bit of balance. Children can illuminate the value of being balanced in play and work.
In conclusion, role models are the people we look to for inspiration. They can’t be defined by their age or popularity, but by their impact. Many of us look up to glamorous celebrities for fake realities, causing feelings of low self-esteem, knowing all your so-called role models will forever be ‘better’ than you. The best role models exist right within our own communities. They are the ones you learn from daily and have the most influence on your life. My younger brother Jordan has taught me to balance my life, to embrace myself for who I am, and to dream and keep positive. If he wasn’t a part of my life, I wouldn’t have been as successful as I am today. The world can be awfully negative, with new viruses and threats of war causing chaos among Gen Z. Having a good role model within your community is crucial in finding your success no matter the circumstance.
Fournier, Denise. “Why Children Make Great Role Models.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 10 Oct. 2017, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindfully-present-fully-alive/201710/why-children-make-great-role-models.
Smith, Melinda, and Lawrence Robinson. “The Benefits of Play for Adults.” HelpGuide.org, 13 Nov. 2019, http://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/benefits-of-play-for-adults.htm.