“I make an active effort to remain a positive role model to kids. They need people to show them there’s another way.” ~M.C. Hammer
Throughout your life, you’ve probably looked up to at least a few men you’ve known. Maybe your father had a calm, gentle nature when you both went out fishing. Maybe your 10th grade history teacher made being intelligent look really cool. Whoever they are, the men in your life matter!
Men: wouldn’t you like to be that male role model that boys and young men aspire to be like? The good news is you can!
Use these strategies to become a great role model:
- Go after your dreams. Reflect on what you’ve always wanted out of life. Sure, it’s changed over the years. But what is it right now that you want to achieve? The importance of pursuing your passions is a wonderful message to send to younger people.
- Show self-confidence. When you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to, you’re said to have confidence. If you’re confident, it’s probably evident to everyone around you. Young boys and teens in particular look up to men who demonstrate an air of “I can do it.”
- Hang out with your buddies on a regular basis. When you allow time in your busy schedule to socialize with your friends, you’ll have a more relaxed way of moving in the world.
- Have a sense of humor. Usually, boys and young men can relate to each other best when there’s humor and joking around involved. Let that fun side of you come out, especially when you’re around younger people.
- Demonstrate a willingness to spend time with kids. Whether they’re your own kids, your nephews, or your friend’s kids, give of your own time to be there for them.
- Be open about your work. By nature, kids are curious about what kind of work men do and how that work is accomplished. If a young boy or teen expresses an interest in what you do, share with him about some of the projects you work on. You might be the only man in that boy’s life who has taken the time to talk just to him about the subjects he’s interested in.
- Reach out. Consider spending some time at a local Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or other social agency that works with kids and teens. Even devoting two hours a week of your time can make a dramatic impact on someone’s life.
- Do something physically active. The research shows that boys learn best when they’re actively doing something. So, take a boy fishing or running with you. Build a birdhouse together or ask him to help you wash your car. A kid can pick up a lot from taking part in an activity with you.
- Give positive feedback. Practice giving simple, positive comments. Any maturing person craves this type of care and attention. Statements like, “Wow, you did a fantastic job catching that fish” or “You’re a pretty good runner” can plant seeds of confidence that will grow stronger over the years in young people.
- Avoid macho expressions of physical strength. Although some kids might ooh and ahh if you can bench-press 200 pounds, your role as a male role model is to illustrate that men have all kinds of different talents, skills, and interests. Since most kids have most likely already been exposed to macho stereotypes, find other ways to express yourself to them.
Being a great male role model will bring enormous personal rewards and, sometimes, external accolades.
You’ll feel satisfaction and pride in knowing you’ve contributed in some way to the healthy development of another human being. Put your efforts into becoming the best male role model you can be. Your life and the lives of others will benefit significantly.
Who are the great male role models in your world? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.