This I Believe

Erin - La Mesa, California
Entered on May 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in being a role model.

I am currently 22 years old and I have a cousin who is recently 19. We have been close all our lives, despite the fact that she grew up in New Jersey, and I grew up in San Diego.

I used to live for Christmas time because it meant that she was coming to visit. Well, on one of these visits we started a book, sort of scrapbook that we pass back and forth when we see each other. Inside it is movie tickets, diary entries, pictures, and anything else we think is fun or important.

On one of my turns I opened up the book to see what was new, and I came across an essay that she had included. The essay was a school paper on someone she thought of as a role model, and she had written about me. She wrote about how my passion for my hobbies and interests attracted her to the same hobbies, how my opinions on life subjects really mattered to her and helped her make decisions, and how my way of life affected her. It has really opened my eyes.

My aunt, for years, has told me that my cousin looks up to me and emulates my hobbies and behaviors, but never before had I realized that it was actually true. I had always thought that I lived my life to make me happy and that I made the choices that would make me happy, but when I really think about it I realize just how much her opinion influences me and how I live my life.

I want to be someone she looks up to and is proud of. I want her to be able to look at me as a rough guideline if she has to face a tough situation, or be someone that she can come to with questions and concerns. I want to be the voice in her head advising her to do the right thing, and I believe that I am. I have strong morals and an even stronger sense of ethics because of her. My desire to be a good role model for her has impacted the way I live my life. I’d like to think that I will help shape the amazing person she is and will continue to be.

Being a role model is more than being a celebrity or someone famous to admire. It’s about being a real person who is faced with the same decisions everyone else is facing and making the right decisions in light of them, this I believe.