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Anyone can be a role model in a child’s life, such as a parent, family member, friend or even a member of a Kiwanis club. Children tend to mimic their role models, so how the role model acts in different situations impacts how that child will act in similar situations in the future.

Much of learning during childhood is gained through observation and imitation. The role models who children look up to help shape how those children behave in school, in their relationships and when making decisions.

Here are some of the most important things children learn from their role models:

  • How to treat other people, including being courteous, generous and a contributing member of society.
  • How to deal with problems and find solutions.
  • A strong work ethic.
  • How to take care of themselves, including eating habits, exercise and balancing commitments.
  • Patience.
  • How to handle stress and frustration.
  • How to express anger, sadness, joy and other emotions.
  • Openness to trying new things, learning and having an open mind.
  • How to deal with mistakes, responsibilities, expectations, competition and loss.
  • How to celebrate special occasions.

Good role models are essential for teaching children right from wrong, how to behave and how to become respectful, responsible adults. However, there are bad role models who teach children negative behavior like laziness, disrespect or even steer children into illegal activity.

Since many children look up to athletes, actors, musicians and other celebrities as their role models, it’s important to have conversations with your child about why they look up to these people. Make sure your child admires their role models for the right reasons. The most important thing a parent can do is make sure they are a positive role model for their own child. If you are a good, honest, respectable person then you will be providing your child with a positive role model every day of their life.

You can act as a positive role model for children in your community and impact their lives by joining your local Kiwanis club. Kiwanis clubs look at the needs of children in their community and decide on projects that will benefit local kids the most. By joining a local Kiwanis club, you’ll be joining a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. Reach out to your local Kiwanis club today to get involved!