I think mentoring is an understanding between two or more people. It is a way for people to learn from each other. Even though most think mentors are older, I think it's a bond and no matter age, race, or gender. It's a way for people to communicate!
    Kristene Burns-Saraiva
    Participant, Roots and Wings

Who is a Role Model?

True role models are those who possess the qualities that we would like to have and those who have affected us in a way that makes us want to be better people. To advocate for ourselves and our goals and take leadership on the issues that we believe in. We often don't recognize our true role models until we have noticed our own personal growth and progress . . . I think that I serve as a temporary role model to my younger sister but she just doesn't want to admit it yet. :)   Herminia

I think mentors should be role models, BUT a role model who hasn't forgotten where s/he came from, how s/he got to where s/he is now and always looking back to see if s/he can help those that came from the very same place.   Jeanette

My mother influenced me to not set limits on what I could do. She had an A.A. in commercial art but she had to give up her idea of a career because my dad was a carpenter and we moved around a lot. I had a teacher in Junior High who inspired me to try to live up to my potential. What she did was pull me aside one day and pointed out to me that if I would apply myself a little harder I was capable of getting straight A's. I didn't take her advice right then, but it gave me quite a boost and started me to thinking and paying more attention. She had been a forest ranger before she was a teacher and she shared a lot of her experiences with her students. I was very impressed by her life. I was the new kid in school and she spent extra time with me to help me out. I was real shy and buried in books at that age. When she jumped on me for being lazy I definitely sat up and took notice. I believe the best roles models make us see the possibilities within ourselves.   Shirley

Lately, I have been privileged to have some very young role models. I have been influenced by the vitality and passion that young women have in making their lives and the lives of others better. I find that there is so much to learn from our youth but unfortunately, we often forget that.   Martha

I believe a person has many role models in their lives. Each role model teaches a person about themselves . A role model to me is someone who not only treats me as an equal but is honest, trusting, and most of all open-minded especially in today’s society. We live in a society that really doesn't allow one to be different . A role model DARES you and themselves to be different.   Kristene

I think a good role model encourages me to believe I can get to where she is.   Maureen

I have numerous role models, from my daughter, who reminds me what is really important in life, to my boss and dear friend, who encourages me to think and use the power of my voice and the strength of my fist. My mother has always taught me that you can be anyone or anything you want to be and my sister showed me what courage really was.   Jessica

I believe people who are role models know that they are, whether they like it or not. It is their behavior that people look up to. It is their leadership qualities that others want to see and model. It is the smile that they give to others. It is the look you get. All of the above.   (unattributed)

If you are out in the community, your community, you are being looked at. All the good things you do reflect yourself and your family. Who said life was fair? We are here to take care of one another and if it means modeling healthy behavior, then someone has to do it. Go for it. This is taught to us by our parents, respected community person or other family member, etc.   Irma

To me I think a Good Role Model is a person who tells, or influences you to make the right choice in life. Like for example my mother she always tells me "you’re not gonna get nowhere in life until you prove it to yourself" whatever that means (huh). But if I didn't have anyone like my mother to remind me everyday. . . I might be that lazy, oh lazy young lady rocking in my chair, doing nothing for myself but, getting old. But YES my mother is the greatest role model for me. Why? The answer is that she believes in everyone has a dream like Dr.King said . . . My mother a fine role model for me and my sisters.   Lina

I think role models have changed over the generations. People used to describe their role models as being people they didn't know i.e. movie stars and athletes. Now, (evident by this discussion) people tend to find role models that are in some way or another involved in their lives. I think this is great, and it emphasizes one of my favorite sayings, "It takes a village to raise a child."   Nikki

I think the other piece about a role model that is important is that it is not just someone who you look up to or is successful, but someone who has had to go through similar struggles/ challenges as we.   Noa

I agree with everyone’s ideas about what a role model SHOULD be and what characteristics they SHOULD have, but to give someone the label of being a role model is telling them that you are, or you would like to use them as an example to young children and other people who "are not on the right track" and basically saying that you should "be like" or consider "following his/her foot steps". What I'm getting at is we need to take the other person’s feelings into consideration for example: I would never consider myself a role model for the simple fact that I have problems of my own and I feel pressured, and I'm not perfect; it just so happens that I stumbled upon the most wonderful opportunity, and was empowered to make my own decisions in life to set my goals. I found my passion and I plan to build my future around my goals. In conclusion I would just like to encourage people to not just slap a label on anyone.   Regena

Whether you like it or not the choice you make or stumble upon make you who you are. YOU are MAKING those choices, whether they are right or wrong and it doesn't look like they are steering you in the wrong directions. I always tell people, whether you like it or not people are looking at you, for better or worse. It’s hard, but somebody’s got to do it. And when you fall, they will be there to say "I told you so." Good lesson learned and you keep right on going.   Irma

Gena, I agree it's hard to label people a role model, but i just think of it as a friend we look up to or learn things from. Usually those are people who are a little older cuz they explain their insights so well, but then again my peers are also role models, like you Gena, cuz it reminds me that young people like myself go thru problems sometimes and still keep goin. i think that as long as someone is honest and doesn't pretend to know all the right things to say or do, then that's the best example!

Also, I have to mention my Beautiful Mother as my personal and all time shero. Everytime that I start to feel sorry for myself, I think of all the shit she's been thru and worked at, and put up with, and survived, and sacrificed, and accomplished. She had to come here to the U.S. only knowing my father and when my dad turned out to abuse alcohol and beat my mother, she had no where to go 'cuz he was the only person she knew and she was an "immigrant" so she just stuck it thru and slowly independized herself she learned to drive, saved money, established residency and finally left my dad with our support (me and my sisters). And even still, she had to deal with my sisters and mine attitudes while growing up - I just love her so much and try to show her that everyday a little more.   Kaira

Points well taken! I guess it's just the Big word ROLE MODEL. I have to admit as much as I hate to label people you grrls are right. I know people are watching me whatever I do. I guess that's why I strive so hard to be the best at whatever I do, I more so liked the word Kaira used "Example." Basically I think that Role Model sounds so demanding, and ‘example’ is making more of a statement like you can do it too (more humble I guess).   Regena

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