I recently had the privilege of celebrating my daughter Mailey’s 21st birthday. And at her birthday celebration, I got the opportunity to catch up with my daughter’s godfather. He mentioned that his 13-year-old daughter looks up to Mailey very much, “Mailey is her role model, she is the oldest cousin, and she is setting a great example for all of the Garcias.”
The conversation I had with him left me thinking for days. There are 13 cousins total on her dad’s side of the family. And in fact M, as I call her, is the oldest one.
As obvious as his statement was, I had never thought of it in that light before. I felt proud of my daughter and also quickly realized what an important role she is playing in all of the “Garcia kids’ educational goals.”
I’ve always encouraged M to stay close to her siblings on her dad’s end since we’re separated and to set a good example for them and for my own little boy who is 4-years-old. But I had not given any thought to all of the other kids who are as important and are also watching M’s educational journey as well as her life choices.
I spoke to M after the fact and told her all about my conversation with her godfather and how I agreed with him 100%.
M has nine younger cousins and four siblings and already tutors a few of them and helps them with advice. She encourages them to do their best and to make good choices. She is doing a great job, and I’m proud of her.
Yet, I don’t think she had realized the importance of her role in their lives. So, I encouraged her to continue being there for them and helping them in any way she can but to think of the influence she was having on them to be a role model with intention from this point on.
“You will never regret being a positive influence in any of those kids lives,” I said to her.
M can help make sure that her siblings and cousins maintain a college bound mindset. She can take the good and the bad that she’s been through to help them make better choices. M can help break patterns of non-college graduates and pave the way to higher learning for all of her siblings and cousins.
Entering her 3rd year of college in the fall of 2019, being kind, and involved with the kids, there is no doubt that Mailey is a great role model.
And just like M, many of us are probably inspiring or motivating someone through our actions without knowing it. Take a look around. Are you serving as a role model to anyone? If so, begin role modeling with intention and intentionally set a good example and be there for them in any way that you can. Is your child a role model to someone? If so, talk to them. Fill them in on things that they might not realize, like what a positive influence they can have in that person’s life and what a great feeling that action can evoke in themselves. And lastly, let’s not forget to tell our role models what an awesome job they are doing in their own lives and in the lives of others.
Monica Luna Gonzalez
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