When you are only a little kid, you look up to every one, you can't help it.
And the kids of today are not so different from us when we were growing up - they idolise sports stars, movie stars, musicians, scientists and social media personalities (well... that’s a new one) - just like we did back in the day.
Who didn’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, Bruce Willis, MC Hammer or Wally Lewis. And this style of idolisation isn’t necessarily a bad thing! In fact, choosing the right public figure to idolise and look up to can teach children a huge amount about success, passion, drive and charisma.
Sidenote: We’re not going talk about the bad role models in this blog… that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
But who is their biggest role model? Who are the most influential people that they look up to during their childhood and beyond?
Yep, you guessed it. It's us - their parents.
Make no mistake, it doesn't matter how much TV they watch, how much they obsess over an Instagram celebrity, how many times they watch their favourite music video, or how long they spend pretending to be their favourite sports star in the back yard - we, their parents, are without a doubt, their biggest role models and the most influential people in shaping them as people.
It is our job whether we like it or not, to guide them through life as best we can. Influence the way they make decisions (good or bad). Help them deal with their emotions, even when we don’t understand them ourselves. Help them learn how to be good human beings and deal with a constantly evolving society.
And if this scares the shit out of you… don’t worry… you’re not alone! Being anyone’s role model is a daunting task and a huge responsibility. But if you think it’s hard for us as parents, cast your mind back to what it was like when you were 13 years old… it wasn’t bloody easy was it!?! Growing up was a very challenging and confusing time for most of us!
Now, take a breath. It doesn’t have to be that hard to set a positive example and become a strong role model for your children. But you do have to work at it.
First and foremost, you need to think about how they observe you doing you. They see your relationships, the way you look after yourself physically, the way you interact with people around you and of course the way you interact with them.
Nobody is perfect (obviously), and nor are they expected to be - but being mindful and understanding that your lifestyle has a huge impact on your children’s life (good or bad) is imperative.
So really you have to start with you. It’s time to look after you so that you can be the role model you want and need to be!
It can be really simple to begin with... If you aren't one for regular exercise, just get outside and have a go at something easy and inexpensive.
If you normally eat a less-than-healthy diet, start by making simple rules like Monday - Friday = No Take-Away, or 3 vegetables minimum on your dinner plate each night. Your kids will notice you trying to make a difference!!
If you haven’t asked your kids - "how are you?” in a while... then bloody well ask them!! (and listen to what they say in response).
It is never too late to become a good role model and a great parent, you just need to want to make the change and go for it. And most importantly, involve them as much as possible… they might just even think that you’re cool!
- DadBod Davo