When I was younger, I used to rummage through my oldest sister’s belongings when she was out. My intentions were not bad, I was just curious about what she was up to, and what was considered important in her world. I used to religiously take her notebooks and textbooks, flip to the back pages, write, doodle, and make my mark. I don’t know why I did it, I meant no harm. I guess it was my way of trying to be a part of her world. I would look at the latest posters she put up on her wall, the books and magazines that she was reading, her “Things I want to get” list, and I would borrow her Hip Hop cassette tapes……She was extremely annoyed when she came home to a room that had been tampered with, and she would let it be known by scolding me. It didn’t phase me because I admired and looked up to my big sister…..
As I grew older I began to notice my sister’s flaws and behaviour that I did not agree with. I expected “better” out of her, and I found myself often disappointed. Whenever we got into an argument, I would question her as to why she acted the way she did. Why she said and did mean and hurtful things to me when she was angry. I remember asking her, “Why don’t you EVER apologize?!!,” and she would never respond. Not a word. This bothered and upset me deeply for years. I was frustrated at the fact that she never took accountability for her actions. This was not her fault though, I put her on a pedestal, she couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations. Her character was her character, and her flaws were a part of her character.
When I hit my “adult” years I began to learn that my sister’s behaviour and what I saw as “lash outs,” had a lot to do with the pressure that she felt being the oldest of the family. She felt she had to protect us and defend us from any and anything that could or would possibly harm us. Her anger and frustration made sense to me now. She didn’t express this by simply speaking to me or any of us, so her emotions would end up coming out in bursts of anger and rage. Although I found it very confusing and it caught me off guard, I always respected and appreciated my sister for what she taught me and all that she did for me…..
I chose my sister as a role model, but she did not choose to be looked at as a “role model.” Being a role model is a job that people don’t ask for, but regardless of whether you want to be or not, there is somebody who views you as a role model. The question is, if you know that a person younger than you in age views you as a role model, is it your responsibility to fulfil that role for them?
If you’ve made it into adult age, then you must have had some type of role model at some point in your life. Whether it was a parent, a teacher, a coach, even a celebrity. Reflect on all of the good that role model brought into you life, all of the useful information and lessons that person provided you with…..Would you be who you are today without their influence in your life?
It’s not a role model’s responsibility to live up to our standards, they didn’t choose to be our role model. The role that they play in our life and what we take from it, is our responsibility.
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