When you were growing up, you most likely looked up to someone and learned from the way they conducted themselves. Whether it was a family member, a friend, or even a celebrity, this person was your role model. You may not have understood why you looked up to this person, but they were an important part of your life for one reason or another. So, why exactly do children seek out role models?
- Learning – As kids, we learn through observing what others do and imitating those actions. This behavior starts with our parents from the moment we are born. We continue to observe and imitate our parents as we develop. It’s also one of the main reasons we seek out other role models once we’re a little older. As we’re growing up, we still don’t understand everything about life and its many facets. However, having someone who is older than us and has experienced more of life provides us with useful information on how to properly conduct ourselves.
- Belonging – Another reason we seek out role models as kids is that we yearn for a sense of belonging and acceptance. Childhood can be a difficult time, especially with things like bullying and exclusion. Finding someone who is more mature and removed from these things allows us to feel understood and accepted. Usually, role models are people we can speak freely with, ask for advice without being ridiculed, and spend quality time enjoying shared hobbies.
Similar to parents, role models have a great impact on the lives of children who look up to them. Making sure children have positive role models to learn from is essential to them becoming responsible adults. However, role models are not always someone we know personally, so having a mentor who is a part of our lives is even more important.
The Institute of Youth Development and Excellence (IYDE) strives for every youth in the world to have access to a trained mentor because of the impact they can have on a child’s life. Our mission is to provide mentors the tools and training for successful and meaningful relationships with their mentees in every community across the United States. Placing trained mentors in the lives of youth impacts critical life decisions and influences how they contribute to their communities and society as a whole. Help us make a difference in the lives of children by joining us as a volunteer or donating to our cause today!