A popular African proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Many parents have a story or two to verify the truth of this adage. Child rearing is a team sport. We rely on our support systems to help us meet the needs of our children. Amongst the collective of special people who contribute to our kids’ upbringing, are role models of all kinds. It’s human nature to seek out people we admire and want to emulate. One day your children will begin to search for role models of their own. When they do, make sure to surround them positive influences who you trust. Here are four role models that every child needs.
Famous Role Models
Fame is attractive. It’s no wonder many of us daydream of our chance to be amongst the stars. Though celebrity is rare, it’s natural to fawn over the power, talent and riches of the selected few. Because celebrities hold great influence on culture, entertainment and the latest trends, it’s important to guide your child toward positive celebrity role models instead of those we’d rather our children not imitate. Expose your children to people who are impactful, inspirational and bettering the community. Point them toward people who use their position for good. Children should have celebrity role models who set the bar high and encourage them to strive for greatness.
Family Role Models
Children also benefit from role models within the family. Immediate family, distant relatives and even longtime friends who’ve earned the distinction, can serve as role models. Unlike other types of relationships, with family your child is able to build a unique bond that comes with familiarity built over years. There is a different comfort and trust level, which gives your child the opportunity to engage in a way they can’t with others. Instead of only having the opportunity to admire from afar, your child will have the chance to frequently interact with their role model in a genuine manner. Because of this, family role models are the perfect bridge between children and their parents.
Peer Role Models
Peers have the power to affect the way one thinks, their self esteem and their daily choices, making them one the greatest influences in a child’s life. When you’re young, your reputation and others’ opinion of you can hold great weight. Peers’ ability to easily elevate or lower the social standing of the people around them heightens their importance in the eyes of your child. Consequently, children sometimes fall victim to the trap of negative influence. The best way to stay on the right path is to surround children with peers who motivate them to make beneficial choices. Your child needs friends who won’t embarrass or abandon them for doing the right thing. They need friends who they can look up to. They need friends who help them be the kind of child you raised them to be. The ideal peer role model reinforces the lessons you’ve instilled in your child instead of tempting them to do otherwise.
Teacher Role Models
Because your child already has you and several other influential adults around, a teacher role model may seem redundant. However, teachers garner a different type of respect. To earn the title of teacher, one must be a trained expert on a topic. Because the time spent in teacher-student relationships is strictly devoted to the selfless act of passing on knowledge, children tend to hold their teachers’ advice in very high regard. Consequently, students sometimes put more weight into their teachers’ opinion. This is especially true when it comes to academic or career advice. Teachers also make wonderful role models because they often communicate with parents and can reiterate messages that need to be restated.
Great role models can serve as a second line of defense when it comes to raising, encouraging and protecting your children. You will always be the first and most important example for your kids, but you can’t (and shouldn’t have to) shoulder that weight alone. Successful children grow by collecting valuable lessons from multiple sources and experiences. Positive role models can provide the extra boost of support parents need to raise happy, well-rounded young adults.