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Role models

Am I the only one confused as to what defines a role model?

In the past, a role model was usually an adult, someone with strong morals and a strong work ethic, and someone you could depend on for sage advice.

In my large family, role models were usually my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Outside the home, there were elementary school and high school teachers, sports coaches and community leaders.

Our idea of what constitutes a role model seems to have morphed over the years to include celebrities such as Hollywood actors, musicians and of course athletes and politicians.

Lately, however, there’s been a lot of gray areas, just witness the debacle over steroid use in baseball and Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace, not to mention a number of political scandals involving elected officials.

Which begs the question, should someone’s personal life or religious beliefs be considered when one chooses a role model, or should that facet of someone’s life not be considered when choosing one.

Role models come in all colors, shapes, sizes and age groups, but the one thing to consider is the sage advice given by Shakespearian character Polonius, “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

You’re in a better position to take care of others in that way, Shakespeare seems to be arguing through his character.

Armstrong obviously did not follow that advice, and in the fictional world of television neither did Eddie Haskell of “Leave it to Beaver,” when he and Lumpy Rutherford tried to cheat by hiding answers to a history test in the paper towel rack in the restroom.

Obviously wise to that tactic, history teacher Mr. Gannon switched all towels except one with the appropriate quote from Polonius.

In a way, all of us bear responsibility to act as a role model in our daily lives, whether at home, school or work.

It starts with the realization that although none of us is perfect, all of us have something to offer.