My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Role Models # 3

It is difficult to come up with a role model regarding character. There are several reasons for that. I do not think that I could come up with a living person whose character is fit to be modeled in every aspect. Everybody is imperfect. Although that should not let me hesitate to decide that such a person is a role model – absolute perfection is not a prerequisite for being a role model! That would be unrealistic and very frustrating.
If it was somebody that I know personally though, it might be kind of difficult to make you understand why that person is a role model, as you have never met them. I know it’s interesting anyway, but I have to think about those persons a bit more first. And I still haven’t decided on some “famous” persons to offer here...
Then there are characters in books. Of course you could ask: why of all “people” would I want someone in a book to be a role model? They are made up, they do not face the same things I do. But still I think that book characters can be very good role models – especially in children’s books. A lot of people identify with the characters in the book they are currently reading. I do so very often. Not always, especially not in some novels considered literature by many. But I remember how I especially as a kid lived in the book I was reading, adored or abhorred characters for how they were and acted, and got inspired on how to live and which character traits to acquire or strengthen. (That's why I think it's extremely important that kids read good - not boring or too moralistic - but good books. And if you think your kid's not old enough for that particular book, maybe you're wrong. Maybe your kid's growing in interests and understanding faster than you think. I used to read quite some things from the library that my parents thought I wasn't old enough for yet. Children's books concerning civil war, holocaust, child labor etc. But kids care lots of what goes on around them. They'll need you, their parents, probably to discuss some things or get some explanations, but that's a great opportunity to talk with your kids. Those "difficult" books might help them to grow into interested, caring or compassionate youths and adults...)
I'll come up with some of my "book heroes" next time. Let me know who were yours!