Updated: Jan 29
By Ashlie Castaldo
There is a desire as one gets older to find a place in the world. Whenever that defining age comes, the internal need transforms into a desire for purpose. What gifts can you give the world? What role will you play in it?
An ideal legacy is one where we change our own little worlds to be a little bit better than when we first came in. One of the first steps towards this path is to become your own role model: a lifestyle of behavior patterns that you would like to see emulated in others.
So what is a role model then? Is it an individual that exhibits bravery? Patience? Kindness? It is all of those saintly adjectives and more. Becoming a role model-worthy individual can take time, but there are a handful of habits that can be integrated into your life to make that process smoother. And the clincher? They are totally free!
Some activities to engage in are:
1) Trust exercises. True bravery is built on trust, vulnerability and the ability to act when the consequence may be unknown. There are a multitude of activities that can be done with friends, coworkers, etc. that can be found via Google. Trust in self is an important quality as well: you need to be confident that YOU know what is best for you, and that you are smart and capable enough to make solid decisions and act on them. All of these facets involve tackling personal barriers head on with honest self reflection. Very brave indeed.
2) Patience. Patience is vital to weathering difficult times ahead with class. It also helps strengthen personal relationships. A fantastic way to increase your patience threshold is to volunteer with children (as a camp counselor, weekly reading at the library or sports involvement) or visit the elderly. You will quickly gain some wisdom as how to see the world and learn what matters most. Children and the elderly alike may have focus issues or lack control over certain aspects of their environment, and the understanding needed to connect with them through that will birth patience.
3) Kindness. Almost every role model the average person can imagine will have some sort of loving or kind hearted quality. After all, there must be something positive about them that draws people to them. Engage in small acts of kindness each day, and progress to larger acts. You could open the door for someone. Buy a stranger’s groceries. Bring dinner to a neighbor. The options are so versatile and limitless! Just remember to use the guiding question, “What is something nice I would want done for me?” as your guide, and Then, act on it!
4) A final characteristic is responsibility. Responsibility. Role models work hard, keep their word and have lives of accountability. A fun way to practice responsibility is to regularly volunteer at an animal shelter. Have a set time with an actual job to accomplish, and a roster of animals to care for. Knowing that there are beings that rely on you and welcome your presence will increase your commitment. You will be able to see the effects of your labor as you notice their health, happiness and the budding companionship. When you and your wallet are ready, you can perhaps take one home.
Have fun practicing these activities, and we all look forward to a new role model taking effect!