Beth Falkenstein: A frequent comment on some of my postings has been "What kind of role model are you?" As far as I'm concerned, there is only one mother that I might consider a worthy role model for my children: Mother Teresa. And even then, I would suggest they question her fashion sense.
That's not to say I don't try to be the best person I can be. I believe people would agree that I'm considerate, hard-working, and like to challenge myself for personal growth. Granted, sometimes that amounts to not swearing at the driver who cut me off while I was driving ten miles out of my way to purchase that book on Buddhism I've been reading (for the past seven months).
But I'm human, which brings with it a whole host of less-than-divine behavior. It's how I deal with these human foibles that is more telling. For example, yes, I have an occasional drink just because it helps me relax. But couldn't you also say that the fact that it's not five drinks shows self-discipline?
And let's be honest. All those classic role models through history most certainly fell short of perfection in the eyes of their immediate circles. Maybe Audrey Hepburn, in addition to being a world-class humanitarian, had the unseemly habit of snooping in other people's medicine cabinets. But unless you had personally invited her into your house, you wouldn't know, would you? Or perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt was so busy with her work with the UN that she neglected her personal hygiene. Hey, did any of you ever actually smell her?
I try to be the best person I can be. But I do it for me ... not for my kids. If I did it for my kids, it would be hollow, and I'd be wracked with guilt every time I failed. There are some aspects of my character my kids may choose to emulate, and there are others that may send them screaming (sound familiar, all you daughters out there?).
So, in answer to that rhetorical "What kind of role model are you?" -- I'm the kind that doesn't want my kids to be just like me. In truth, I hope they turn out better than I did.
|Beth Falkenstein was a sitcom writer and freelance contributor to "Self," "Redbook," and "YM" magazines before taking a full time job in her kitchen. She loves her new bosses (ages 13 and 10), and is grateful that they approve of inter-office romance, because Beth thinks her co-worker (Jim, age 45) is really hot.|