Role Models

James - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on February 21, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that all children should have a role model, even if it’s not their parents.

Ever since I can remember I’ve grown up with abuse in every form. With two older brothers, each of us two years apart, I’ve come to witness some punishments that would bring any civilized human being to tears. My oldest brother surprisingly experienced a garage door to the top of his head when he was eight years old. Around the age of ten my middle brother thought it might be cute to moon his friends at school. Unfortunately, his decision resulted in him being stripped of his clothes and forced onto the roof of our house as punishment. The kicker here is that our home was conveniently located across the street from our neighborhood park swimming pool.

As for me, the first night my family arrived to Tucson, it was late in the evening sometime around 11 p.m. I was six years old and still sleepy from the drive. My family slowly exited the car and headed towards the rear to remove our bags and settle into the hotel. Being the smallest of the three and the last to get out, I was last. By that time my father’s patience had run thin and decided to shut the hatchback door to our blue Datsun 210. Sobbing to death, I entered the E.R. where I met many lovely, caring, and helpful nurses, smiling as they assisted in stitching my thumb back on. At last, I felt secure, as my thumb was mended together, so was my belief that I was better than him. “I can be better than my dad.” I told myself inside half thumbed, but whole hearted.

I pride myself on breaking the chain. I believe role models have the ability to save millions of children’s lives. In that regard, I cherish having a role model who may guide kids towards making productive decisions, someone who can propel you into the future, similar to your dreams and goals. John Leguizamo never stopped my father from hurting me, but he did give me a reason and purpose to escape. His flexibility and diversity encouraged me to keep on living. Maybe not always as myself, but definitely as a character with a smile. A role model can be an athlete, an entrepreneur, an impressionist, an Obama, or any of America’s finest wearing a uniform. “Who brought out your passion in life?”

If you’ve experienced the impact and value of having someone who has helped mold you into a respectable member of society, and have inspired you to work hard for what you believe in, then share that with a friend. The experience of love over pain makes a difference in anyone’s life. I couldn’t tell you if my father ever had a role model, but I figure when you have someone to look up to, you don’t spend so much time looking down on others.