Just about everyone knows that good role models are important for a child’s development, but have you ever thought about why this is true?
If you are familiar with the Institute’s work, you know that it emphasizes visualization, because we have learned that our mental images, for the most part, are what determine our reality. In other words, the way we see ourselves and the world is what decides how we will behave, and how we behave determines, to a very great extent, what will happen to us.
Role models serve as living, breathing mental images that help us visualize the way we would like to live – or not like to live, which is sometimes the case. (Yes, there are role models for what not to do, and who not to be.)
What kinds of role models are best? No question about it, people we can actually get to know. You see, while it is helpful to read about an admirable person in a book or a magazine, watch an inspiring life story in the movies, or watch successful people on TV, it is much more powerful when we can actually interact with someone who shows us possibilities for ourselves.
When we can manage to create these personal interactions on a daily or regular basis, as we do with parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and so on, this has the most powerful impact of all. These interpersonal relationships give us insight into the “why” these people have been so effective and inspirational.
And remember parents, your children will learn far more from what you do than from what you say. The best role models only need to set and live a good example. The kids will figure the rest out for themselves.