Friday, September 17, 2010


I have always hated the question, Who is your hero/role model? I've just never had a good answer for it. I've had decent school teachers, but none of them were really so inspiring that I would consider them as my role model. Jesus/Nephi/the Virgin Mary? Major eye-roll. That's like answering the "What is your favorite book?" question with "The Book of Mormon!" Its major suck-upage. My parents? Um... no. The President? Hillary Clinton? Buddha? Who even knows enough about them to emulate them? 

I've been surprised by how much I've had to answer this question, even as an adult. Its almost like its considered to be a trendy ice-breaker: "Hey there, what's your sign? And whose YOUR hero?" The last few times I've gotten this question, it has been directed at both me and my husband. I've just let him answer for both of us (he picks his mom - isn't that the sweetest?)

There are certainly specific attributes certain people have been associated with that I honor, or specific actions that people have taken that I have respected. I am pretty damn impressed by Amelia Earhart's spunk and determination that lead her to cross the Atlantic. Harriet Tubman's bravery in leading the Underground Railroad is awe-inspiring. And Gandhi, I mean, wow. I just think about hunger striking for a cause and it makes me recognize his amazing strength of will.

But then I think... even the best of men and women are still human. When I learned that the Buddha abandoned his wife and small child to seek his spiritual destiny, I was appalled. I had friends who were devastated personally by the revelation that Sen. Edwards had an affair, or that Al and Tipper Gore were getting divorced. But the "perfect" models are fictional or inaccessible and, therefore, not clinically useful. 

Role models are like metaphors. They all fall apart at some level.

1 comment:

Leah said...

Great post! I've never had a hero either, and I think you're absolutely right that any "perfect" role model isn't going to be of much use to we mere mortals anyway. Try to be like Jesus all you want! You're never gonna make it! The real beauty comes in the messy imperfections of life, I think.