As a new mother, it’s hitting home even more than it did in recent years that I want to be a good role model for my child. As I hope any parent would consciously want to try to be.
But I realize that one of the things I had never really put to words in how I’ve changed over the past decade, is that I have been attempting to not only be a role model for future children, but to also be a role model for those around me. Not in any kind of holier than thou way, or because I think I’m better. I’m not. I have my issues, I have my failures, I have my set backs, and I have and continue to make mistakes and bad choices here and there.
But in trying to be a better person for people to see, I challenge myself regularly to be a better person for myself as well.
My idea of a better person will obviously differ from other people, as everyone has their own views on what being a good person is. Or what kinds of values they want to have and to try to instill in their own progeny. I see it a lot in the people around me, and have for years, through all the different kinds of people I’ve known.
I’ve learned from all of them. I’ve learned something from everyone who has spent any kind of viable time in my life. Whether it be something good that I share with them as far as ideas and ideals, or things I’ve learned that I do not want to repeat and certainly don’t want to pass onto my kids. And I hope to continue learning from those around me.
I often have mini wars inside of me, as I’m sure a lot of people do, over what exactly it is I want to try to pass onto my kids. I am, like anyone else, afraid that somewhere, I’ll go wrong. But I’ve been gaining some small bit of confidence in the choices I’ve made and the way I think at this point in my life, and my growing ability to speak up when I feel like I need to, instead of remaining quiet. Sometimes being a role model is as much in action as it is in words and whether or not we stand up for things we believe in.
This has always been an issue for me, because I do not like upsetting other people. And in that, I’ve had an issue dealing with a huge amount of internalized stress because of things said or done by those around me. In my attempt to be agreeable, and to let people have their own opinions on things (which I still whole heartedly believe they’re allowed), I’ve been left feeling frustrated and sad. My opinions are not the same as the opinions of everyone else. I try to embrace that. But sometimes I feel like I am shortchanging myself by not saying something regarding my own opinion or feelings about something.
I don’t feel different about the people who have different opinions than me. I still care about them. But sometimes I need to remember that I need to care about my own feelings and emotions in a situation. And to me, that goes hand in hand with being a good role model. If I can’t stand up for my own feelings, how can I possibly teach my daughter to be able to do the same thing for herself?
I fully believe that people should believe different things. But there have been many times over the years when I feel like sometimes people may think overtly or covertly (or maybe I’m completely imagining it) that my opinion doesn’t matter as much as theirs. Bah. And even now, to save some of the sensitivities of those that I know will read this, I’m attempting to be as egalitarian as possible with this. Which means that I’m censoring myself to some extent. And as much as I don’t like it, I feel it is necessary. That is just how I’m wired. I wish it were different, but that’s just the plain truth of it.
And this is what makes me so nervous about being able to be the kind of role model that I want to be to my child(ren). I don’t ever say something with intent to piss someone off, or belittle them, or their ideas or how they do things. But in order to discuss things I don’t agree with, I just can’t feel right coming out and just flat out saying I think it’s wrong. I do try to see the many sides to things, so that I can better understand other people, and perhaps understand something better for myself, either to simply be informed enough to feel like I’m making an educated decision, or perhaps to change my mind on something.
But some things I just don’t feel like I will change my mind on, and to me, that is going to be a good thing to instill in my child(ren) when the time comes. I’m having a harder time just “letting things go” as some people might put it. And when it’s family, or close friends, it makes it even harder for me to reconcile the fact that little things that sometimes drive me nuts will be what my child(ren) will be subjected to when around the people I care about. I know it would be easier if everyone I knew just thought about things the way I did, but that’s just not life.
I know I’m going to have to explain a lot of things to my child(ren) as time goes on, and I can only hope that some of the things that I saw a kid, a young adult and in the last ten or so years, won’t be things that I have to deal with when it comes time with my child(ren). Though I doubt that that is going to be the case.
But I feel that perhaps taking on some of those things and my own stances on things and really accepting and being confident in the things I believe now, will only help bolster me for when it comes time to have conversations with my child(ren). I’ve never really been one for taking a huge, arm-crossed stance on things with people simply for having a huge, arm-crossed stance on things. That’s just never really been my comfort zone. I’ve always been far more under the radar in my opinions and beliefs. Unobtrusive, as it were.
And I suppose unobtrusive was the word I was looking for earlier in this blog post, as that is really what I try to be. I don’t want people to be obtrusive on me, and I try not to be on them. But sometimes people just plain are obtrusive on things with how they behave, or the things they say. And for too long I’ve just silently let it go. As awkward as it may be to speak up over something, and I still feel awkward for having done so, I feel a little better for having done so, rather than just letting it go and grumbling at myself later.
I don’t deign to think that I will change people’s minds with my differing opinions. If I do, fine. If I don’t, whatever. I’m not some magical being or on some kind of quest to change people. Though, I do sometimes wish a lot of people would change simply because times are changing. Just because something was “ok” back when we were younger, doesn’t mean it should be treated with the same dismissive nonchalance that it has in the past. Times change, and change is good. Hard, but good. And I’ve worked damned hard on changing for what I feel is the better.
While some may think that some of the things that get under my skin are trivial, I don’t feel that they are. And I don’t want to be told my emotions on something are trivial. If something doesn’t make me feel good, I have every right to make it known. As much as anyone else has their right to make it known for them. And I will do my damnedest to respect the feelings of others. But sometimes I just don’t pay attention to my own feelings in lieu of the feelings of someone else. I feel like the courtesy of it should be extended both ways. And often I find it is, to some extent. But sometimes I feel like familiarity can cause people to become too lax in their courtesy to others. Understandably so. I’m just as guilty of it as the next. But I try not to, and I try to catch myself when I realize I’m doing it, and possibly making someone uncomfortable.
It is something I have struggled with my entire life, and I continue to struggle with. We are not perfect, we humans. And perfection is an unattainable thing. But I can at least make myself feel at least a little better in continuing to struggle to be the kind of person I want to be, and the kind of person I feel that my child(ren) can look up to. At the very least, and at the most I can hope for, is that my child(ren) if no one else, will be able to look up to me in a positive light.
I do not like to offend people. But I also do not like to be offended. And sometimes offense isn’t just on the person who feels offended. Too often it’s brushed off as that. We all have a responsibility to make decisions on just how we want to communicate with others, and just what kinds of things we want to pass on to those closest to us. And while I know some will feel offended by my saying that, it is not with intent to offend, or insult, or even insinuate anything. It’s merely my opinion, and one that I will try to adhere to.