We would all agree that children need good role models – parents, older siblings, teachers, even famous athletes – someone who gives them a positive image of the kind of adult they want to be. These examples are vitally important in the shaping of a young person into adulthood.
Good role models are vital to the female heart, as well.
Think about it – a little girl usually loves to “play house,” pretending to be a wife, mommy, keeper of a home, or lady with a job. Who is a girl imitating when she does this? Her own mommy, of course; or if her mother isn’t active in her life, probably a friend’s mom or the mothers she observes on TV. The point is, she’s imitating someone who shows her a picture of what a grown-up woman is.
As she grows a little older, often she will begin to think more seriously about what each of those roles might look like in her future – getting married, working a job, having her own house, becoming a mom. And as she does, she’ll start looking more closely at the older women in her life, examining, looking for a model to pattern her adulthood after. Her own mother will likely be the first, most logical example she watches, but she’ll eventually realize there are many others, too. Her older sister, grandma, aunt, Sunday School teacher, small group leader, sports coach, or best friend’s mom… all show her a picture of what it is to be a woman. She may find in each one qualities she wants to imitate and ones she doesn’t. This isn’t always a cognitive choice, but it’s happening subconsciously, nonetheless.
From each woman in her life, a young lady is learning what kind of woman she wants to be, formulating her view of her future self. It’s a need of her heart, and vital to her growth.
And get this – she’s not just watching other women. No, she’s looking at the men in her life too, and learning from them what kind of man she wants to marry. Male role models are just as important as female role models.
Before a girl is even interested in boys and romance, before she’s even thinking about getting married, the males around her are creating an image deep in her mind of what men are like. This is why the father-daughter relationship is so very important! It’s also why girls who are abused when they’re young are more likely to wind up in abusive relationships later, or why a woman marries a man who is just like her dad. The examples they are watching and experiencing become their role models for what a man should be.
What do you think about this topic? How have you seen role models – positive or negative – influence the type of adult a young person becomes?