Who were your role models when you were small?
We all have role models while growing up and 90% of the time it’s our parents. We learn everything from our parents. We get unlimited support and appreciation from our parents. We look up to them for every problem we face. Whenever we saw a negative attitude towards something, we caught up that attitude because our parents did so. When we saw something good happening, we went with the flow of goodness because our parents did so.
Actions speak louder than words. Your parents did some specific things, irrespective of negative or positive, that have created an image in your head about them. You followed this image during your childhood, continued it through your teens and will always be there till you grow old.
So, during your childhood you looked up to your parents for everything, you need to do the same for your children.
The presence of the role models shows them how things are practically done.
Imagine a father shouting at a child and saying, “Why do you get angry at small things?” Ughhhh. What do you believe, the child will learn? Will they learn to stop getting angry or will they learn to angrily deal with uncomfortable situations?
Our children need healthy role models by their side to learn and imbibe and develop desired qualities in them.
“He didn’t tell me. He showed me how.” That’s what role models do. They teach you through actions and make a world of difference in your life.
Learning is stronger and more fun when it is incidental. Rather than being told to be helpful, generous, kind etc., when someone lives those qualities, children learn swiftly. And that, my dear, is being a role model.
So how do we implement it?
- Identify the list of qualities that you want in your child.
- Pick up any quality that you want to role model to your child. For example, you want your child to never give up or be able to take physical pain easily, be that role model who does not give up easily or has a strong endurance for physical pain.
Kids tend to look around in the immediate family for a role model who has immense courage and never gives up. All you can do is identify who you want your children to look up to for strength and courage and tell stories about them. These stories will uplift the children and make them extremely strong with a “never give up” attitude.
Kids will look up to their role models and imbibe a few of the good qualities in their role model.
Learning by observing is also called incidental learning.
Your kids don’t need long speeches like “Common, you can do it”. They need a role model who they can look up to, who role model that quality.
- If you cannot find a role model in your family, you can always set your child up with someone who they can look up to. Someone from whom, they can learn the things you want them to learn in life. Company of people who are inspiring role models works.
When I was young, I was very brave and could travel on my own. I was not scared of taking public transportation on my own. Whereas my friend Roshni was very scared to travel by herself. Whenever I went to her house after school or during weekends, her mother used to tell me, “Please take Roshni along whenever you are traveling”. She was setting Roshni up with me so that she will become brave and start taking up small challenges on her own. Roshni’s mother was a WOW Parent as she was ensuring that in my company an attitude or habit of courage would develop in her. She was making me Roshni’s role model.
If there is no role model at home, if there is no role model among known people, the final option is to introduce your child to contemporary role models.
Arunima Sinha became the first female amputee who climbed Mount Everest. In 2011 Arunima was traveling from Lucknow to Delhi. Some goons threw her out from a moving train when she refused to give them her gold necklace. Her body hit another moving train in the parallel track, bounced back and fell on the track on which her train was running. The train ran over her leg smashing the bone. Unable to move, she continued to lie on the tracks. That night, 49 trains ran over her leg.
She was hospitalized and the doctors told her, she will take at least 2 years to walk, but with an artificial leg. She defied the doctors, medical science, and in only 11 months she climbed Mount Everest. She refused to give up and her sheer motivation serves as an inspiration to thousands of people.
You have 4 options that help your children get healthy role models –
- Be an extraordinary role model in the qualities you want to develop in your child. For example, if you want them to be planned well, focused, they have to see those qualities in you. If you want them to be courageous, fair, hardworking they need to see that in you.
- Talk to them about family members who have the qualities that you want your children to have. It can be the immediate family or even a relative.
- Set them up, make them interact with people who have the quality that you want to develop in your child.
- Introduce them to stories of contemporary high achievers and the qualities they live by. Remember, the focus is not on the achievements but the obstacles overcome.
Children have only you to look forward to. Make sure you make it a good ride for them. They learn everything from you. The way you behave, the way you talk, the way you respect other family members, your leadership roles and much more. They want to be like you and being a role model for your child is way more important than anything else.
In the long run, you would always look at yourself when you look at them. They will become you and if they do something bad, the blame always comes on the parents because you have given them all the knowledge about everything and then if they don’t meet your expectations, you get angry. That’s okay. You just need to make sure that you know the reasons why have they done the certain thing and why they don’t look at things from your perspective.
The best grooming ground for your children is by having healthy role models around them. Let speeches go out of the window and stories take over: of hope, pride, goodness, and life. And watch your little ones transform into awe-inspiring young men and women. Happy parenting to you.
Come let us set up great role models in front of our kids and become WOW Parents.
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