The idea of role models was always something I thought I’d grow into as I grew older. 10 year old me thought I’d be one by 16; 16 year old me thought I’d be one by 18; 18 year old me…and the time never quite arrived where I thought “oh yeah, I’m now old enough to be a role model.”
I don’t think of myself as someone that important in the general scheme of things, certainly not the idea someone would actually be watching me.
But they are.
Someone’s watching you too.
Girls need girls.
It’s really that simple.
And the actions and words of other girls can boost or tear down so incredibly powerfully.
I’m not a model, politician, superwoman…so many things I’m not.
But I am setting an example.
I overheard my sister the other day and grinned ’cause the exact words and tone she was using to instruct someone were mine.
I also overheard my other sister call herself stupid a few days ago. The exact words and tone were mine. I winced.
I went into school and caught a girl watching as I put lipstick on and the wry face I was about to make at the mirror froze.
I may not be a model but I want to show I’m comfortable in myself.
I’m not a politician but aren’t I telling the kids they have a voice and need to speak out? So why am I not modelling it?
I’m not superwoman but hey, I can actually do a lot of stuff. I can do them well too.
The point is, girls, regardless of age, we’re being watched.
And we have a responsibility.
If I want to encourage my girls to be confident in their own skin, to love their uniqueness – well, doesn’t that mean I stop pulling myself down in front of them? Admit I have failings but am not a failure? Actually like the fact my hair is thick and grows faster than grass instead of moaning about it?
What if every word I spoke to myself facing the mirror got copied by another girl? What if I had to watch a beautiful girl stare into the mirror and declare herself fat and ugly – what if she was using my words and tone?
Ultimately, I am my Father’s. I’m His. And He charged me with a responsibility. It doesn’t mean mentoring every girl younger than me, it means checking my attitudes and words, it means realising how I act impacts others.
One day, I would love to have a daughter. I’ll want her to know that she is priceless and unique, that her smile is gorgeous, that her brains are to be used, each talent and gift used freely, that honesty is a strength, that dignity is something internal that shows externally, that giggling fits are fun and crazy hairdays survivable, that makeup enhances but shouldn’t mask, that Christ loved her so much He died to be a part of her life eternally, that failing does not make a failure.
And I can either encourage or discourage that with my job as a role model.
I still don’t feel old enough to be a role model but tough. I got elected by being part of the human race. I don’t want to mess it up.