The other day I said something that involved a swear. I can be a bit of a “potty mouth”, but have mostly refrained from swearing in front of my daughter until the past year or so. I know she hears people swearing all the time, including in movies and at school, but on this particular occasion she said, “you’re not being a good role model.” Ouch.
That one hit me so hard that it literally kind of knocked the breath out of me. While I’ve mentioned my purpose statement in other posts, I’ve never written it here. This came out of a personal development activity I did almost a year ago (I honestly can’t remember what book or video or whatever this came from) where I had to ask others in my life to tell me what came to mind for them as to what they saw as my purpose. Based on that combined with my values and what’s deep in my heart, I came up with this:
“My purpose is to be a good role model for Sydney (my daughter) by taking care of my physical and mental health, being supportive and loving to my family and friends, using what I learn to help others and make a positive difference in the world, while demonstrating the courage to be true to myself.”
As you can see, being a good role model is pretty important to me, so to have my daughter say that certainly made me think carefully about the person she sees me being.
Am I going to stop swearing. Probably not, but I’ll try to do it less around her. I do think that her words will make me more mindful of being the person I want to be, being the role model she, and others need, me to be. Purpose statements mean nothing if you don’t put the effort in to live up to them.
Being a role model is tricky. My concept of who I am and what I choose to show others continues to evolve. It feels wrong to give a false impression of who I am in order to guide someone else to be… less like me, but more like who I think I “should” be?
Obviously, when raising children, it’s importance to NOT show them everything all at once. But, knowing when they are able to distinguish your behaviour from your aspirations (and their own), when to show them your frailties and imperfections, and trust that they can still make their own good choices (maybe because of that)…
My kids are in their 20s now and it continues. Whoa!