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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Guest Blogger, Jennifer Forbes: When we’re young we’re always looking up to someone…..

I come from a really large Irish Catholic family. One of my earliest memories is me standing in the middle of a bunch of really loud people who were much bigger than me and looking up……

We live in a world of instant information, news 24/7, smart phones, texting, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, blogging....seriously I could go on and on.

Imagine being a kid today being inundated with all types of faces, personalities, athletes, the lure of money, having all types of people to emulate and all of them perspective role models. It really must be difficult to be a kid growing up today. Now imagine having to turn away from all that glitz and glimmer and see your own parent, grandparent, godparent or teacher/coach or pastor and really “get” that they have value to your life and future as a role model; not easy I imagine.

It must be even harder to be that parent keeping your child in check, keeping him or her grounded with all that distraction. Do you find this a challenge as a parent?

When I was a kid Mom would go to the front door and yell out…. Jeeeenifer and I'd know it was time to stop whatever I was doing with my friends and head home for lunch/ dinner or for the day. I'd be outside with my friends all the time TV was something I rarely watched. Maybe in the evenings I’d catch a bit of tube with my Nana. TV and radio and records were basically the extent of media and entertainment back in my day.  I don't recall actually ever considering any one actor, athlete or musician as a role model. I realize now I was lucky that I didn’t have the temptations kids have today so I didn’t have to make those difficult choices.

I actually was blessed in life to have three very special role models, my Mom, my Nana and my Godmother my Aunt Frances; three strong and steady presences in my life throughout my life. I was the only girl one of three children so my relationship with my Mom always solid, never wavering. Even now we share a special bond; she's the person I speak to every day about everything and anything, my confidant, my next door neighbor and closest female friend. Then there was my Nana.  We went to Mass together, we baked together, sewed together, crocheted and knitted together, we took walks, and there is hardly a memory of my childhood that she isn't in. And then my Godmother my Aunt Frances, she had a way of making a person (namely me!) feel special, and when you're a kid there is nothing more important than that. Heck, she made me feel that way as an adult too, she really was an amazing woman.

Now a day, we communicate by "throwing” texts, since most every kid has a cell phone, at least most kids I know do. I text with my grandchildren and nieces and nephews, seriously! Now we communicate by using e-mail or twitter because it's more convenient we rarely even pick up the phone anymore. Let’s not lose our sense of family in all that technology please!

And that gets me back to my original point regarding role models for our kids.

I'm afraid that many kids today are losing those traditional role models [parents, grandparents, godparents, teachers, coaches, and clergy] and are choosing role models who are movie stars, musicians and athletes. While some may be worthy as role models many are poised to fall off the pedestal kids tend to put them on. Many have amazing talent and they wow our children and even us with those abilities. What concerns me is this...what happens when they fall off that pedestal I mentioned due to general bad behavior, excessive drug or alcohol use, criminal behavior and the like. What about our children then?

So tell me folks, is this a matter of concern for you? Who are your children's role models or if you don't have kids who were your role models when you were a young?

Till next time Jen


  1. My fifteen year old really looks up to his guitar teacher, and he has become a mentor and teacher. My husband sometimes gets irritated that they spent part of the (admittedly expensive) private lesson "talking about stuff" but I say that if a teen is willing to TALK, it's a good thing, and I'll gladly pay for that. Therapy is much more expensive than guitar lessons ;-)
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Post A-Z Road trip!

  2. I think just like a sports coach and a player, it would only be natural that the two guys would talk and build up a rapport. After all they have their playing in common, right?

    It's good kids have extra trustworthy adults to talk to. It gives their lives balance.

  3. Great post, Jennifer!

    I can relate to everything you said. It was only a few days ago that I had a discussion with my husband
    about the very same thing.

    Roger said that he worries that kids of today will lose sight of the simple little things like putting a worm
    on a hook, gathering boughs for bonfires and little things that we did with our parents and aunts and uncles.

    I know that we live in an age of technology and there is so much information right at our fingertips, but I still think that
    that the simple "little things" are the basis for everything.

  4. I don't remember having any particular role models as a kid, favourite artists maybe, but no-one who's life I remember wanting to copy, but then its a long time ago. Boarding school doesn't really cater to roll models and I don't remember having a crush on a teacher or anything. I moved around too much. I guess I was too busy learning about life all over the place to worry about what other people were doing.

  5. Hands down, my childhood role model was my dad! I was a daddy's girl (and guess I still am). Looking back, though, I can see that my mom helped make my dad the hero I thought he was.

    I do worry about Emily and Drew growing up in this world. I can only hope that we can keep them grounded by staying actively connected with them while providing that magical mix of love and discipline. Parenting is definitely the most difficult job in the best of circumstances...modern life makes it even more so.

    Thanks for another great post, Jen! You always tell it like it is...that's why I love you!

  6. Kathleen,
    I'm so glad you stopped by and taking the time to comment.

    I agree sometimes the little things can be most meaningful.

    It sound like you had an interesting life as a young person.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

  7. Great post, Jen!

    It would be tough today. My kids, I'd say, look up to family friends. People they trust, besides Scott and I, to give them the right advice, help them through a tough situation and have their backs. It's all in building some strong relationships, I think!

  8. This post caught me by surprise since I wasn't expecting anything on this site today. What you say really resonates with me. In fact, I was just thinking similar thoughts earlier this morning.

    I can't recall having any special heroes. I liked Davy Crockett, Captain Kangaroo, and later on Rod Serling. But no adulation or closely following anyone.

    Simpler times seem nicer when I think back, but there are so many other opportunities available now. Maybe too many.

    Wrote By Rote

  9. Melissa,
    I loved hearing about you and your Dad, a daughter and her Dad is special and unique relationship.

    And I have no doubt that you and Marty are up to the task of raising those beautiful twins regardless of the challenges.

    Having family and friends close for the kiddies even when they are grown is such a relief isn't it? I appreciate your sharing your thoughts my friend.

    Arlee Bird,
    I enjoyed reading you list of people you looked up to. Captain K was a pretty cool guy as I remember.
    I really believe we just reach an age where although we enjoy our modern conveniences like our computers and smart-phones, we do love or even long for those simple times.
    Thanks for the kind comment.

  10. My parents used to say that it was harder raising me and my sister than it was when they were kids. Now they say they can't imagine how difficult it must be. With nothing to compare it to, it's difficult to say but it's certainly not easy. I feel as though we have to be hyper aware of outside influences and even more intentional about where freedoms and trust are given. My kids talk to me a lot and tell me things their friends don't tell their parents. I will do everything I can to keep it that way as just "hoping" it will stay that way is not enough. I don't remember any specific role models beyond my dad but I love what I've learned from both him and my mom.

  11. Tracy,
    I think you hit the nail on the head Tracy. We learn from our parents and then we hope our kids learn from us....what we learned from our parents.

    You're a very fortunate parent to have such an open honest relationship with your kids.

    Thanks for commenting...

  12. Good post Jen! And thought provoking!
    Got to learn a little more about you and your role were fortunate to have these three ladies.

    Like any kid I suppose my 'models' were my parents, the parish priests, the family doctor and some of my teachers. Come to think of it, I told you it was thought provoking, a few of my teachers really made an impression on me....Miss Burke, my grade 6 teacher; Mr. Campbell, my grade 10 science teacher; and my English teacher in grade 12 who was a nun and wouldn't you know it I can't remember her was when they had two 'first names' usually one male and one female name. Anyway, she was the kindest most sincere person I had ever met.
    So Jen you got me thinkin'! Good!

  13. Your life was just filled with tons of people who have touched your life, that wonderful Jim!

    Funny about the Nun's name. Nun's are awesome aren't they? I have a few Nun friends, older women from my parish. I bet she wouldn't mind that you don't remember her name as long as you remembered her kindness...

    Thanks for commenting Jim.

  14. you are so blessed to have such positive role models in your life! what a blessing!! my 4th grade sons grade just presented their "hero projects"..many many athletes..all well and good, but I don' t think they are heroes

  15. What your saying doesn't surprise me one bit Annmarie.

    In my day boys wanted to be firemen and policemen, now it's athletes. Everyone can judge for themselves whether that's good or not. I come from a family of cops and firemen so....I'll just leave it at that :)

    Thanks for commenting.

  16. your post just made me feel better about some questions i was asking myself about the limits i may have given robyn as i have tried to raise her--thanks!

  17. That is a very sweet thing to say Lynn. Many times I wished my kids came with an instruction manual! Thanks for commenting.

  18. Great guest post Jen! I actually think our kids are so inundated with mass media that they don't think of in in ways of role models. I think it's the real life people who make them feel special that still become the role models. For my boys it's their chorus teacher - I believe he's made a huge impact on the choices my boys have made during high school, and I certainly appreciate it!

  19. Feeling special is SO important to kids Martha. I'm glad to hear you singing the praises of your sons chorus teacher.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  20. The majority of the time my kids were growing up we lived no where near family. We have always found substitute family in which ever church we've attended through our various moves. Each of my kids has found at least one adult they've been able to connect with who has served as a role model for them. I'm thankful for these people as they all provided something unique for my children that my husband and I haven't been able to provide.

  21. That's great Elizabeth, church is a great place to find a second family.

    Our family has always considered our parish our second home. I can definitely relate to that being a place for the kids to find suitable role models.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience Elizabeth.

  22. Agree on this: kids today are losing those traditional role models (parents, grandparents, godparents, teachers, coaches, and clergy)
    And the evolution of the communication system has an impact on the daily life of young and adults.

  23. It seems we are of like minds on this subject! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


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