Role Models!

Children are often asked who their role models are.  In elementary and middle schools many children have to write an essay of who their role model is and most children will say it’s a parent.  I think my son wrote one once about me!

I believe they say that because it’s an  easy answer, and they know it’s an expected answer.  Can’t loose with that one.  I don’t doubt that in some cases it is true.  Parents who heroically provide for their families, and the children who see the struggle and accomplishments will hold on to that for inspiration.  Parents who are accomplished and obviously have a higher quality of life than others around them have,and values that tend to live on in their children.

But for average households, or for unaccomplished households it’s honestly not the case.  It’s a false equivalency to link admiration and love, as often happens.  Like it’s obligatory to have your parent as a role model or else it means you don’t love them.  Often children admire a friends parent’s more than their own, due to the other’s character, lifestyle, or accomplishments.  That doesn’t mean  they love their parents less, it just means that the ladder they need to climb for personal development is elsewhere.  Off the top Robert Ryosaki comes to mind.

I can’t think of another way to say this but I’ve come from communities where “white people” things were often envied and derided at the same time.  I still see that today  in a lot of those same communities.  That perspective puts up a box around the child to insure that he will maintain a particular culture; foods they eat, music they listen to, etc.  That box which maintains and perpetuates a particular culture comes with unnecessary baggage and a lock.  Fear.  Fear of the different, fear of success. Fear of failure.  Fear of admiring a different role model.

James Bond was my role model.

As a young child I saw a James Bond movie.  He was fearless, heroic, educated, skilled, and worldly.  I was living in Puerto Rico at the time and was 8 or 9 years old.  In James Bond I saw what I wanted to be, to  aspire to.  It was not the being a Secret Agent part.  It was everything else I saw.  He was smooth, poised, spoke well, was charming, loved by women, respected by men, spoke other languages, was comfortable in other cultures and countries, could fly a plane, knew fine art and science, could do karate, dressed sharply.

I knew that didn’t come easily.  I knew that to be that way you had to learn, study, practice.  You had to, in what NLP today calls “modeling” start with the example before you, and build on it.  My karma was not to be afraid of stepping outside the box.  I pursued the sophistication that lay outside my box.

But those things didn’t exist in my community.  My community was largely unsophisticated.  Good hearted, hard working people that didn’t  know fine art, didn’t speak other languages, had no interest in martial arts, many didn’t even drive, and were very content in their box.  In a young child like myself at the time, those aspirations were considered quaint.  In an older child they are considered a distraction, or worse yet, a rejection of your culture, your box, your community.  That often brings alienation.

I’m sad to say the paradigm of the cultural box is alive and well in a lot of the same communities.  And more young people than not are buying into it.  Sometimes celebrating sometimes resenting their narrow constraints, and deriding the greater life around them, which they would enjoy having as well.  It just seems that they would like for it to come into their box rather than go out for it.

They don’t want to learn language and communication skills. They “ax” a question and “conversate.”  Heaven forbid learning Cantonese or French.  Music, only “reggeaton and bachata in our house” classical? folk? No way!  Food, “Ugh. How can those people eat that curry stuff?”  Job/career, auto mechanic or grocery clerk.  Spirituality, “all I know is Jesus is God nigga!”  Love, “I can’t date white people, they can’t dance salsa.”  Stray beyond these confines, try to expand your consciousness and experience and, well there’s a nonsensical term I’ve heard applied; you’re a “come mierda” you eat shit.  I know, it doesn’t make sense.

I loved my parents and family.  But they alone could not direct me to living my life to the fullest.  I found a picture of what I considered a greater quality of life outside of our box.  I would wish for the young people in our communities to become more sophisticated, more worldly, to experience more of what life has to offer, without fear of rejection and derision from their communities.  Otherwise the world and life will pass them by, and they will continue to envy and mock what they envy, when all it takes is realizing that the box doesn’t exist, it’s self created and can be self erased.

James Bond was my role model.

Even they way he introduced himself was distinct. Your name?  “Bond, James Bond!”

No matter where you are, there is a role model expressing a greater quality of life available to you.  It’s not for everybody.  But if it is for you, don’t be afraid of your community, your box.  Be brave, go beyond where those around are.  You will not be alone.  You won’t be the first on the journey, and you will have one less regret in life; you won’t regret not having stepped out of the box.

 

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