Traits of a Role Model

By Thomas Hubbard.  
Published on Monday, April 15, 2013

Almost completely opposite of what you’d expect, folks who are considered role models exemplify a great deal of humanity. Imperfection is their makeup. And while some may don the fanciest of garbs and mascara, no glamor could ever coat their natural cosmetic. For this reason, true role models typically view themselves otherwise. But it’s this humility, coupled with imperfection, which makes them great.

So what are the traits of a role model? Take U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, for example. His story, while certainly factual, contains elements of chivalric romance. His legendry began amidst poverty along the farmlands of Kentucky. His perseverance would not only lead him to one of the greatest U.S. presidencies, but alter the course of America for generations to come. Many would consider these accomplishments role model worthy. But if Lincoln were alive today, he’d probably beg to differ.

Abraham Lincoln was tall and awkward, and spoke with a high-pitch. He had a knack for storytelling and often used it to either avoid a topic or prove a point. Though humorous at times, several accounts describe him as a “quirky and sad man.” He’d witness the deaths of two sons and the decline of his wife who suffered from depression and symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Lincoln was no knight in shining armor and didn’t view himself as such. The countless tragedies of the American Civil War weighed heavily on his conscience, and he once acknowledged his own prejudices against African Americans, which he said, stemmed from his origins.

The Traits of a Role Model in Present Tense

Similar self-scrutiny can be seen in my role model, who also happens to be my mother.

My mother raised my brother and me in a single-parent home. She worked full-time as a teacher, a part-time job after work hours, and attended school at nights in pursuit of her Masters degree. Two weeks following her graduation, she was involved in an accident that left her unable to work.

To this day, she sometimes reminds me of what all she wasn’t able to do for my brother and me, and all the plans she had during our upbringing that never materialized. She used to scold “Don’t be like me, be better than me!” Little does she realize her drive, work ethic, and will-to-survive are not only traits of a role model, but traits I could only dream of exceeding.

Role models come in different shapes and sizes. Some change the world, and others change their corner of it. Regardless of their impact, humility and imperfection are traits most common among them.

Do you think you or someone you know have the traits of a role model? If so, I’d like to hear from you, and ask that you leave your comments below!

This is your Monday Unleaded for the week of April 14, 2013. Have a productive week…and be sure to follow @RitaLorraine for writing tips and constant inspiration!

Song of the Week

Wind Beneath My Wings (Live) – Bette Midler


This Monday in History

In Memoriam… Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President, was assassinated (1865); The Titanic sank killing 1,517 people (1912); 400 Indians killed at Amritsar, India by British Troops (1919); A paymaster and guard were murdered in Braintree, Massachusetts (1920); 6 casualties at President Peron’s Buenos Aires address (1953); 10 family members murdered at their home in New York City (1984); 96 casualties at Hillsborough Stadium soccer game (1989); and Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge regime (1998)

In 1861… U.S. President Abraham Lincoln mobilized the Federal army. Four years later on the same day (1865), he’d die from a gunshot wound inflicted by John Wilkes Booth.

…And now, how will YOU add to the history of this fantastic Monday? Post your comments below!


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