Who do you look up to?

On June 20, 2011 by Aimee

Who do you look up to?

Who do you look up to?

Another year of tap and ballet concluded this past weekend for my daughters. It was their third year for both tap and ballet and next year, they’re breaking out and trying Hip Hop and Jazz. I’m excited for them because they’ll be using skills they’ve already learned but in new ways.

As I finished attending to their ballet costumes and told them I’d see them after their dance, my youngest (by a whopping minute) clung to my leg and looked up. Me, the photographer, had to snap the photo. She wasn’t scared, she was pretending. But every time I look at that photo … of her half-pouty face looking up at me, I wonder exactly what she was thinking. Why did she need me to stay when she’s done the same thing 3 times? She had her sister (who’d already given me hugs), too. So, why?

Was her safety net leaving? Did I possess some magic that would make her dance more beautifully than she already does? Or, perhaps a bout of stage fright? (Well, I am Mom, so maybe all of those things). Really, though, it could have been anything, and I didn’t press, just found her something else to do besides hug my leg.

That, of course, got me thinking. I posted last week about getting rid of the training wheels, and obviously, if my children are dancing on a stage in front of 400 people I think they’ve ditched those wheels. We adults have those role models, those people we rely on, admire and look up to.

Whether we continued to cling to their legs depends on how secure we are in ourselves. Who are these folks? Are they big, famous names everyone knows? Sure, I could say I look at Nora Roberts’ writing success and wish it were my own. Or Sandy Puc’ photography and business acumen and think the same. Someone wishing to get into TV could hope to follow in Oprah’s footsteps or for movies, in Ryan Reynolds or in politics, anyone but Anthony Weiner.

The reality of most of our lives is that our role true models are people very much like ourselves. I often look to my photographer peers, learning from what they do and how they do it, reveling in their successes and, where possible, encouraging them.

I can do even more of that with writers because I can read their books, follow their blogs and be friends with them online — or in some cases, in person.

To me, anyone who has succeeded in any way, with a dignity and grace that makes others want to be like them is a person I want to emulate. I know I won’t react right to certain situations. I’m not perfect. Neither are my role models. We are all human after all. It’s the attempts and people who’ll put me back in line with a stern warning and a pat on the back that make me strive to be better.

How do role models affect your life and actions?