I’ve been pondering what being a role model really means as the country shifts it’s values and focus about what really matters, and what really counts, during this Coronavirus Pandemic.
We’ve just seen the remarkable achievement of Captain ‘Tom’s 100th Birthday Walk For The NHS’ – JustGiving
and we all go outside on Thursday evenings at 8pm to bang saucepans and clap for our NHS heroes, carers, teachers, volunteers and the unsung supermarket workers.
There has been a shift in kindness, supporting the elderly and looking out for the vulnerable.
Some children idolise footballers, athletes, film stars or business dragons and I actually think that it matters who they choose to be their heroes because it says a lot about them.
Heroes and heroines are the figures and people we wish to become or wish to emulate.
They are the people we secretly admire in our quiet moments of pondering and daydreaming.
They represent our potential and our unlimited possibilities as they inspire us to become the best we can be.
So, what about us?
Why does what we say and do matter?
As parents we consciously and unconsciously pass our values on to our children who look up to us as role models & as their role models we provide our kids with a moral compass, a destination that they would like to reach or a core value that speaks to them
Because our children are watching, listening and learning from us all the time standing outside our houses in lock down and self-isolation banging saucepans and drawing pictures of NHS heroes will now broaden & shift the focus from footballers, Instagram Influencers, YouTubers or X Factor judges perhaps away from social media ‘stars’ as some research by Kids Industries suggests. Perhaps we’ll see a shift in who children believe are heroes, and what they might aspire to be now, towards nurses, doctors, care workers & volunteers.
Sean Wise in his interesting book, “How to be a Business Superhero” talks about the characteristics that all superheroes share:
H is for honourable – the ability to stick to a self imposed moral code – a code that commits them to do the right thing regardless of personal sacrifice.
E is for extraordinary. Heroes aren’t afraid to stand out. In fact they stand up for what’s right when others keep quiet, they work longer, harder or are more focused than others, or they might well wear red nail varnish and have two toned hair as they are not frightened to be themselves and commit to making the world a better place.
R is for relentless. Being a superhero takes dedication. Heroes are constantly training, constantly striving to improve, to be the best they can be or learn new things.
O is for outspoken. Being heroic is about speaking up for what you believe in and not just going with the flow when you know the flow is flowing in the wrong direction.
I is for inspirational. Heroes do more than simply turn up. They lead, they believe in others and they see the best in others, and they inspire them so that others can believe and achieve for themselves.
C is for courageous. Heroes have the courage to keep going when others would have fallen by the wayside long ago, they have courage to smile when it’s seems the darkest, they are different and they are brave for having a go and overcoming fear, and they triumph eventually, over tough times.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer wrote a poem about courage and bravery and it’s not all about climbing Kilimanjaro or winning a gold medal.
“It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.”
~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It’s about getting up in the night for the 8th time to soothe your troubled baby, or ironing a shirt or a skirt at 5.30 in the morning for another, or giving a Toffee Crisp chocolate bar to your young son at university with a smile, as you pay his last demand bill because he hasn’t got enough money to pay it.
That’s being a hero.
That’s making a difference.
Being a hero is nothing more than striving for greatness – whatever that means personally for you.
It’s about striving to be extraordinary and daring to dream about changing your family circumstances, your family relationships, your community, or the world, through your personal dedication to success, rather than to be satisfied simply going through the motions of life exhausted, disillusioned, angry or just stressed.
It’s about applying a heroic mindset your life….. and stepping up to be brave enough to see it through.
So grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down who your heroes are and why and what they represent to you?
Are you a Batman, Superman, Cat Women, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, Freddie Flintoff, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Harry Kane?
Are you going to wear a cap and gown and pants over your trousers quite happily or perhaps you will step up quietly and humbly making your impact through your gentle passion and presence?
Just grab a cup of coffee and a pen and paper and jot down the top 5 values that you want to pass on to your kids, things like having tenacity, being trustworthy, being honest or seeing the best in people – whatever your values, ethos or philosophies about life are.
My Dad taught me that “Life is what YOU make it” and he modelled compassion, laughter, joy and reliability.
It’s not a chore to be a hero or heroine – just decide what sort you want to be and step up !