Who is your role model? Madeleine Power explores what a role model is and how we're never too young or too old to inspire others.
My role models are 7 year olds. I know that sounds weird coming from a 33 year-old, but it’s true. I am a grade 2 teacher at a local primary school and my students are my role models. Sure I have others too - friends, colleagues, my partner, my friend’s 14 month-old – but on a day to day basis, my role models are my students.
Why? Because they are real, open, loving and true to themselves. When they are hurt they cry, when they are joyous they laugh, when they feel to tell someone they love them, they just do! They are very affectionate with each other and wear their hearts on their sleeves. It is beautiful to watch and be a part of. And it’s very inspiring.
I know that while they are my role models, I am also theirs. I am someone in the world they can turn to for a true reflection of who they are and how they can be who they are without judgement. I am transparent with my mistakes, always reiterating that it’s OK to make mistakes, we just need to clock them and try to learn from them. I am silly, honest and as real as I can be every single day. I tell them how beautiful and amazing they are, just for being them, and it has been awesome to watch them begin to tell themselves and each other the same thing.
With this knowledge of being a role model to others comes great responsibility. Every moment of every school day I have 24 children looking at me, wondering if I’m going to be a teacher who meets them for who they are and brings fun to the work and our day, or a teacher who gets lost in the education system’s pressures of assessment, time-poor lessons and stress. Every day I have the opportunity to reflect to them a way of living that is joyful, loving, connected and true to myself, or a way that is full of overwhelm, stress, anxiety and disconnect. Every day I am modelling something, the question is: what am I modelling?
The thing I’ve recently realised is that every moment of every day we are ALL modelling something.
Every time we walk down the street, into our school, work, netball or football training, the park, or the family home, we are modelling something to the people around us. Every day we have the opportunity to reflect to these people (be they adults or children) a way of being and living in this world.
I know what I want to model. What about you?