The Role Model

November 1st, 2006
by George S. Crimmin

[private] v4-11-Speaking OutDuring my early years as a student and later as a secondary school administrator I always had mixed feelings about the role of the role model. What is a role model? Generally, a role model is someone a young person looks up to for inspiration or guidance. This may look and sound good but there are pitfalls.

First: many times a young person may try very hard to be that person that they want to emulate. This of course is impossible, creating an identity crisis for the student. Second: at times the role model may suffer a personal crisis, which will trigger great anxiety and disappointment for the student, causing him or her to become discouraged.

Perhaps there is a happy medium. Allow me to indulge in a bit of conjecture by relating a story I once heard about a stonecutter who delivered a slab of stone to a merchant. Seeing all his wonderful goods he though, “I wish I was a merchant;” in a second his wish was granted.

One day he saw a prince passing by his store in splendor and he said, “I wish I was a prince,” and immediately he became a prince. Until one day when the hot sun beat down on him and he said, “I wish I was the sun,” greater than any man. He became the sun and he was happy until a thick dark cloud came between him and the earth. He said, “That cloud is greater than I, it’s blocking my rays, I wish I was a cloud.” Again his wish was granted. He rained down on earth to his hearts content until he came to a very high mountain, which wouldn’t let him pass. He said, “The mountain is greater than I, I wish I was a mountain.” Instantly he became a mountain and thought, now I am the greatest of all.

But one day a stone cotter climbed up the mountain with a hammer and began to tap away at it, the mountain of course was unable to stop him and he exclaimed, “This stonecutter is greater than I, I wish I was a stonecutter.” Once again his wish was granted and he became a stonecutter. He lived a long and useful life.

I believe each of us should strive to be the very best that we can be. We all have different talents and abilities. Others can inspire and encourage us to greatness, but each individual must be true to him or herself to truly be happy. “If a task is once begun, never leave it till it’s done, be the labor great or small, do it well, or not at all.” [/private]

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