Role Models & Mentors | Enduring All Things

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Role Models & Mentors

According to http://dictionary.reference.com/, a mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
According to http://dictionary.reference.com/, a role model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others.

Basically, the main difference that I see is a mentor knows he or she is a mentor and has an active role in the relationship. Whereas, a role model might not necessarily be aware that they possess this role. A mentor teaches in many ways, whereas a role model teaches solely by example.
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I think it is important to have both of these kinds of relationships and people in our lives. Especially when we are younger and growing up. We go through so much in our lives from the time we are born till we move out on our own. So many changes, so many new ideas and situations are thrown our way and we need guidance. I believe God intended for us to rely on older, wiser people to tell and show us how to get through the hard and confusing times. The Bible talks plainly about family filling this role on several occasions, but there are also biblical examples of both mentors and role models who are not related to the protege. Some mentor relationships in the Bible would be Paul and Timothy, Jethro and Moses, Moses and Joshua, the list could go on. And the most obvious example of both a role model and a mentor would be Jesus.

Mentors are important because they guide us through life. We can go to them when we are confused and have questions. They can correct us when we are wrong and teach us all their wisdom. And best of all, they rejoice with us when we accomplish our goals!

However, role models are important too. Sometimes role models are people who we don't know personally but their lives are inspiring. We can aspire to be like them or act like them. We admire their qualities. And the best part is, they aren't doing things on purpose for our attention specifically or to teach us, they are just living their life while we observe.

I've been very blessed to have some fantastic mentors in my life. My parents, of course, are number one on that list. They raised me in the love of Christ, taught me right from wrong, took me to church, and instilled many values in me that I still hold to. Many extended family members and church family members fall under this category as well. I can think of sports coaches that left a lasting impact on my life. I had a couple professors and Harding and one dorm mom in particular that I could go to with questions from relationship issues, to sticky situations with my roommates. to how to get through a problem on my homework. All of these wonderful people were always there for me and cared about what I did in life.

I am also grateful that I have some positive role models to look up to. Kay Robertson is one of these. I look up to her because she is not ashamed of her faith in the slightest, she obviously loves her husband more than her own life, and she values family over anything else on this earth. Oh, and I would love to be able to cook like her too! Another role model is Julie Andrews. I admire her beautiful 4-octave-range voice. She is a good person too, but my admiration for her is based mostly on her singing and acting. 
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But most importantly, I look to Jesus as a role model and a mentor. I learn from His example as His life is told in the Gospel and I learn by His teachings in the Gospel as well. I strive every day to be more like Him. I fall short on more occasions than I care to mention, but I am trying. I hope I show His light to others as much as I want to and think I do. 

As it is important in this life to have people to look up to, it is also important to play the role of mentor and role model to others. According to my definition at the beginning of his post, I should know if I am a mentor and I can think of a couple people who I have mentored before, and that makes me happy. I pray that my example is holy and good on a daily basis in case I am a role model to anyone out there. I try to keep this in my mind all the time. My mom used to tell me as a teenager to remember that young girls at church are watching me and looking up to me. I knew this was true because when I was their age, I looked up to the teenagers in my life.

So who are some of your earthly mentors and role models? Who are you a mentor too?
Thanks for reading!
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