I'm Just Sayin'
Random Thoughts from a Random Guy

Role Models: Chose Them Wisely

Role models. Most of us have them or had them growing up. People we idolized. Probably a favorite football player, singer, author, or actor. I think it’s engrained in us to put someone up on a pedestal and worship them. But the second they screw up, we knock them down and judge them. Of course, Tiger Woods is the reason for this latest posting.

Of course this is all my opinion. I’m writing this as Kevin Hunsperger, the man, not the news anchor. I’ve always thought that a role model should be someone you’ve at least known for a part of your life.

My parents & I at the ceremony where I became a Boy Scout

Parents:

Parents for example are good role models.  I would have to say that my own parents were the two most influential people in my life growing up.  That’s the way it should be.  But I know that’s not the case for everyone.  I was lucky.  My parents provided an example for me that I feel shaped me into the man I am today.  The picture to the right was taken when I was about 11 years old.  I was crossing over into the Boy Scouts.  You can see from my dad’s shirt, he too was a leader.  Something I do today for my kids.  My mom was also a leader when we were younger Cub Scouts.  She was also involved and active at our school too.  I think that helped contribute to my brother and I staying out of trouble for the most part.  My parents not only set an example, they also encouraged my brother and I to stay in scouts and work hard.  It paid off, as we both earned the rank of Eagle Scout (the highest in Scouting).  More than 18 years later, I still think back to that time when I was wrapping up my work on Eagle and how much my parents’ support, love, and encouragement meant.   Even now, I look to them for advice and support in raising my own kids.  And I hope that they look to me as a role model for them.

Teachers:

The boys in my 4th grade class with Mr. Nesmith

I know home life is rough for some kids.  Probably more kids than you’d (or I’d) think.  That’s why I think teachers make good role models too.  The teacher in this picture is Mr. Nesmith.  He’s one of the many teachers who helped shape me.  I remember Mr. N for his sense of humor.  He was one of the funniest teachers I ever had.  Maybe the funniest actually.  He was also the first male teacher we had in elementary school (not counting the art teacher Mr. Anwary).  Mr. N made learning fun.  One thing that has stuck with me more than 25 years later, “kudos”.  Whenever we did a good job on something, we’d get a “Kudos” certificate.  To that point I don’t think many of us knew what that word even meant.  Another thing I’ll remember about that year, I wrote my first paper for school.  It was a creative writing assignment, and Mr. N really liked mine.  It was a murder mystery involving members of the class.  I think that assignment and  his praise and encouragement helped develop my interest in writing.  Who knows, it may be why I’m in journalism now, and why I’m blogging too.  Until I sat down tonight and started writing this, I never really thought about the influence he had.  Of course, most of the teachers I had and professors for that matter where people I looked up to.  I just happen to have a picture of Mr. N, but looking at it has brought back some good memories.  If by some strange chance Mr. Nesmith reads this, THANKS!

U.S. Troops:

SSG Otis Tuttle, Currently Serving in Afghanistan

If you’re lucky enough to know someone who is serving our country or has served our country, then you have a role model for yourself and your children.  These men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country and our freedom are doing something that I don’t think I’d be able to do.  Otis Tuttle is the man in the picture.  He is currently serving in Afghanistan.  He is from Carterville, Illinois, someone I’ve gotten to know through Facebook and the photos he shares with the newsroom.  I have other friends who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some have been there more than once.  My dad served overseas during the Vietnam era.  My grandfathers were in World War II.  But whether they’ve served overseas or in war, the example they set should not be taken lightly.  I salute them for their service and the sacrifice they make.  Many are away from family and friends for a year or longer.  They’re in conditions that are less than stellar.  I know servicemen and women have had an impact on my kids.  My middle son Mason is convinced he’s going to be in the Army someday.  He gets that from hearing from military members coming to his school to talk on Veterans’ Day.

Of course there are plenty of other people in your life or your kids life that can be role models.  Pastors, scout leaders, coaches, etc.  You get the point.  Before you live and breath everything that Tiger Woods, or Michael Vick, or a Miss America contest, remember they’re human.  They’re going to make mistakes, commit crimes, and embarrass themselves.  We all do.  So don’t name your new dog “Tiger” or your first born “Who-Dey” without thinking one day you may regret that choice.  As always, I’m just sayin’…

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