In today’s society, many of our young people look to professional athletes, actors/actresses and politicians to serve as their role models. They usually see all the glitz, glamour, fancy homes and big cars and want to emulate that lifestyle. But sometimes behind all that stuff is a story that may not reflect what we see on television. Many of the people that we look to as role models had to struggle and fight to get where they are today. The road to stardom is not always pretty!
It’s very important in today’s society that as adults we always carry ourselves as role models. Please understand that I am not saying we should act like we are perfect; rather, I’m saying that we should always be proud of who we are, what we say and what we do. I think this is very true for those of you who have kids. We all know that kids emulate what adults do and say and that is why as parents you are always on stage. As kids, I’m sure many of you heard your parents say, “Do what I say not as I do,” but I am a firm believer that our actions should match our words.
I recently read, How The Poor Can Save Capitalism. One of the major points that John Hope Bryant stresses in his book is that we need better role models in our communities other than drug dealers, rap stars or athletes. In the book, Bryant asks, “What would happen if our young people had a proper business role model or a business internship?”
I recently received a Facebook message from a former employee. The message read:
“Martha Wash was one of the performers at my work conference and it just reminded me of our time at Old Navy. You were one of the first openly gay guys I met and you became a great role model. I can’t thank you enough for you being who you are. It meant so much in my coming out.” That was over ten years ago and we never had a coming out conversation.
As adults we are always on stage, modeling behavior and influencing others even when we aren’t aware. We should always try to make sure our actions and words mirror each other because we never know who is watching our performance!