Role Models: Being one and having one

By Maddy Miller
Distinguished Young Woman of Nebraska for 2013

Role Models_MaddyThe picture and quote seen to the right has been a favorite of mine as it has been very relatable. In my high school years, I would begin dance class on weekdays around 7:30 pm, about the time when the younger dancers were getting out of their classes and were heading home. The little girls would often peek into the studio, just as in this picture, and watch our advanced class in sheer amazement. When I started my senior year in high school I was the oldest dancer at the studio and felt some pressure to be a good role model for those young eyes. I was not only a role model for them when I was in class but also how I acted outside: my attire, interactions with other dancers and teachers, and my overall attitude. Although I felt some pressure, I loved it and desperately wanted to be a great role model for these girls just as others had been for me.

Role models can have a significant impact on our lives. They can influence our decisions and how we act. We constantly look to others as a demonstration of characteristics, actions, or successes that we want to emulate. These people have high moral and ethical values. Who is (are) your role model(s)? It could be a school teacher, friend, mother, father, older sibling, political figure or historical person. It is great to have someone who is older, more knowledgeable, and has life experience to guide you so that you may try to live your life similarly. For me, my mom is definitely my role model. I strive to be as independent, compassionate, and considerate as she is. With every role model there are a few things to remember. First, remember that no one is perfect. A role model is only human and may makes mistakes. So don’t emulate their bad decisions or characteristics, but learn from them. Secondly, don’t forget that even though you are looking to this person for guidance and an example of how you want to live your life, does not mean you have to be exactly like them. Remember that you are an individual and are unique. Just because your role model is a marathon runner does mean that you need to be! But you can learn from them to be physically fit and lead a healthy life. Lastly, even as you enter your teen years and into adulthood, you can still have role models. Role models aren’t just for little kids! It is good to constantly strive to be a better version of you.

Now what about YOU being a role model to others? You may not realize that there could be many people who are like those little ballerinas looking around the corner. A sibling, neighbor, or even your friends may seek to have values similar to yours. Being a role model to others can be very fulfilling as you can help others succeed and learn good moral values.  Demonstrate confidence as a role model and know your strengths and weaknesses. Try to make positive choices and be encouraging to others. As stated previously, it is okay to make mistakes! It is important that you recognize these mistakes and know that you are responsible for your actions. If you do this, those who look up to you will admire you even more. Remember what characteristics you admired about your role model and then demonstrate that to those who look up to you.

Maddy Miller is a college freshman at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania majoring in Dance with a Jazz concentration. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Maddy was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Nebraska for 2013. Learn more about Maddy here!

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