Everyone influences someone else. There is no escaping it. It is truly impossible not to have some kind of effect on someone else when we encounter them. How many people have younger siblings? How many people admire someone older then them, or even someone famous? How many people have at least one friend? I think it’s safe to say that everyone falls into at least one of these categories and probably most of us fall into more then one of them. I believe that everyone should always be consciously aware of what they say and who they’re around when they say it because you never know whom you might affect with your actions.
Anybody who has ever been around a three-year-old for any amount of time knows what it means to be a role model. I can recall a day when I had briefly spent some time with my three-year-old cousin, only to later find out what he had learned from me. That evening, my aunt, mom, cousin and I all sat down to have dinner together at my house. My aunt and mom sat at the two ends of the table and I sat on one side facing my cousin on the other. For the most part, the four of us just sat and enjoyed our dinner while we talked about random things. But later, while I was finishing up my plate, I hear a loud belching sound. As I’m laughing, I look across the table to see that it came from my little three-year-old cousin. My aunt quickly asked him where he had learned to do that. As I looked across at him I saw him pointing over to me. I back-tracked my thoughts through my day and I remembered what we had done earlier. My cousin and I had eaten pizza together while we watched TV and I remembered letting out a loud burp that made him laugh. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but apparently my cousin remembered the event very vividly, and that’s all that mattered.
I’m also very surprised at how many celebrities or famous athletes try to say that they are not role models. Charles Barkley, an ex-NBA all-star, once said, “professional athletes should not be role models.” He said that as if he has a choice in the matter. If you are famous, you are a role model. Star athletes are role models when their games are shown on TV, when their words are heard during interviews, and when their faces are shown in advertisements. Furthermore, most professional athletes grew up admiring someone of their own, aspiring to be like that person. In Barkley’s case many great players such as Bill Walton, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Pete Maravich all came before Charles as super stars and role models in the NBA.
The bottom line is that someone is always watching. There is always someone that is looking up to you to be a good example for them, whether we are aware of it or like it or not. It can be someone you are very close to like a family member, or just someone who might not even know you but admires you in ways that you don’t realize. Whoever it might be, it is impossible not to be a role model to someone and everyone needs to always be aware of who is watching us.
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