I spoke to a very dear friend of mine last night. We hadn’t spoken to each other in years, not for lack of trying. I’d reformatted my phone and lost her number. She also lost mine. So, life went on.
We were friends on Facebook (and still are) and kept tabs that way. I guess it didn’t occur to us to send a message to each other until two days ago when I received a message from her on Facebook asking for my number.
After we spent over an hour on the phone sharing stories, laughing and just reconnecting, it then hit me how true the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” is.
In Africa, using the Igbo community of Nigeria as a reference, it is not unusual for a child to be raised by the extended family. I’m testament to that fact having been brought up by uncles and aunts after the death of my parents.
A child has the best chance of becoming a healthy adult if the community takes an active role in raising the child. But my post today is however, not about the extended family. I’m going to focus on the wider environment who also contributes to raising a child albeit indirectly.
Going through life, you will meet people that will, one way or the other, shape your future either positively or negatively. They can do this through words of advice, monetary assistance, rejection, heartbreak, offering comfort and so on.
This friend of mine served as a listening ear and sounding board for me during a particularly difficult time in life. I was in my fourth year (400 Level) in the University and she had already graduated, been called to the Bar, and was working with one of my uncles as a lawyer. Suffice it to say that I saw her as my mentor.
I admired everything about her; intellect, fashion, beauty, you name it. In my mind, she was the ultimate goal; who I wanted to be as a lawyer.
Unfortunately for me and luckily for her, she got a better offer and left my Uncle’s chambers. We lost touch and as they say, the rest is history.
Why am I taking a trip down memory lane? Just to re-emphasize that so many people, knowingly or not, have raised us at one point in life. And the funny thing is, more often than not, the person may not know that, through her words or action, she is actually shaping someone’s life.
So, are you part of someone’s village? What are you telling or showing that little child or teen that looks up to you? Are you influencing people positively? Are you a good role model?
Do you have the characteristics of a good role model? Here are some of the qualities you should possess:
When you project confidence, you earn a lot of admiration from people. Good role models are able to appreciate their accomplishments without seeming arrogant. There is absolutely nothing wrong with tooting your own horn. I do it sometimes. You just have to strike a balance between acknowledging your achievements and sounding like a pompous a**.
People, both old and young, appreciate being treated with respect. When you respect people, you earn their admiration. No matter how successful you are in life, the way you treat others will impact greatly on the way you are treated.
Hard work can never be over-emphasized. Good role models are those people who persevered when confronted with difficulties. They generally have a can-do spirit and will always try to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. This passion to succeed is a great source of motivation for all, especially the younger ones, who look up to them.
It is very important to have an optimistic outlook to life. Of course, there is no way you can be a good role model if you have a negative attitude to life – “a glass half-empty” kind of person. To be a good role model, you have to see the bright side of life. Matter of fact, in difficult situations, the creativity in most people is unleashed.
Please, do not be perfect! Nobody is saying that to be a good role model you have to be perfect. Your imperfections will have more impact on people than your “perfections”.
So, let’s help to make this world a better place in the little way that we can. Be a good role model! You never know who is watching and learning from you.