Thank You.

Role models.

Everyone has them – people they admire, people they turn to for leadership and inspiration, people that keep them grounded and help them stay the course. Each human being is unique, one of a kind. However, each human being is also a conglomeration of those he/she has been influenced by and how they’ve chosen to act on that influence.

The most pressing need for good role models often falls to the youth of the world. For good reason, of course, as they are our future someday. However, role models aren’t just for kids. You continue to grow and change regardless of your age, so why wouldn’t the need for guidance still be relevant?

I am a ‘young adult’ transitioning into an ‘adulthood’. I do adult things – hold a job, pay bills, manage money, own a home, married. But even so, I still don’t have all the answers for myself. Every day, I learn more about me. I try look inwardly as much as I can. But sometimes I still need a little help. Sometimes I’m less strong, less confident, less inspired and less motivated than the day before. This is when I turn outwardly to my role models, for advice, direction, confidence.

The following is a compilation of those who influence me most. It’s not an exhaustive list, by any means. Unintentionally, it’s mainly comprised of women. There are absolutely some good men that have made a difference in my life, but I guess for whatever reason they just didn’t make it to the top category. Also, you will find that not only does it include real people, but literary fictional characters as well.  Because…well, why not??

My mother

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My mother is quite a lady.

She is not perfect. She is somewhat eccentric and usually you will find her just marching to her own drum. I don’t always agree with everything she does or says. But there is equally a lot to be admired from the lady, and she has taught me so much.

 My mother has instilled in me a love of reading and learning, an importance of keeping informed of the matters of the world, and having an opinion. She has never been one to follow the crowd and taught us that it’s quite alright if we don’t. My love of the animals and the outdoors comes from my mother. She always says that the best time to talk to God is on the seat of the tractor, mowing grass.

I get my sense of independence from her, as well as a certain kind of strength.  Looking back, I fancy my mom Wonder Woman in her younger, child rearing days. She raised up eight kids, halfway through as a single mother. If anyone knows how to juggle, it’s her. After my dad died, I remember happening across a couple discreet places that my mom had written the phrase, “Scarlett O’Hara was not a wimp.” This still resonates with me. I can only assume it was a reminder to herself to stay strong when things got hard. Of anything, I think this will stick with me the most long after she is gone.

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My sisters

“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.”
― Barbara Alpert

I am blessed to have four amazing women as my sisters and one wonderful friend to have as a sister-in-law. All of them are different. All of them are off on their own unique life adventures, in different places in their lives, both physically and figuratively. In each of them, I find separates stores of inspiration.

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My oldest sister,  Rebecca, is a good wife and a great mom. But I also see a woman who knows that she is more than just a wife and mother. I see her learning how to balance and chase her interests and hopes and dreams, along with those of her family. She inspires me for the day when I might have a family of my own. Rachel inspires me in her resolve to put herself out there, to always ask questions, to have deeper discussions with others and having a knack for connecting with people. She is bold, but quietly so. She is strong in her sense of self. I know she will always listen if I need to talk.

Meghan is the adventurer. She sets her goals and never stops chasing after them. She always seems to be moving and doing something different with someone different. She inspires me with her somewhat sense of fearlessness and curiosity about the world around her. Annie was my partner-in-crime for many years, so to speak. She is the one I can be absolutely ridiculous with no matter what and always have a good time. Soon to be entering her 20s, life has led her off into the world making new experiences, seeing and learning new things and making mistakes, figuring out who she is and who she is going to be. She is my youthful inspiration.

Becca, my sister-in-law, seems to be my comrade-in-arms these days and a kindred spirit. She is one I can share dreams and follies with and lean on for support when life gets a little much. She inspires me to do, to make, to have and surpass goals. She helps me remember that, to be a better person for others, you need make sure to leave enough room for you.

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Eva Shockey

Of “celebrity” role models, I find myself most idolizing Eva Shockey. Especially in the last few years, she has helped make great strides for women in hunting and outdoor sports in general. She has demonstrated for women that you don’t have to defeminize yourself to try to fit in or enjoy this lifestyle that previously has been largely dominated by the male population. I love that she is able to do all of this amazing outdoor stuff but still embrace her ‘girly’ side. And she is great at what she does to boot.

She has also been a good role model in the world of fitness. In order to partake in some of the physically demanding activities/hunts she does, she has had to work hard at improving her physical fitness. It’s always inspiring to see a woman who has placed more importance on working out to improve her body’s capability and to better utilize her body as a tool, and not just to achieve society’s oh-so-elusive ‘perfect sexy body’ image.

And of course, one of her biggest joys is shooting her bow, which is also a passion of mine, so…yep. I’m a fan.

Carrie Underwood

Another strong female figure. I admire the way Carrie handles herself in the spotlight and the values she has been able to keep intact all of these years, despite her fame. She is a smart, confident, beautiful woman who has had a very successful career without ever having to compromise herself and her dignity. If there could only be more role models like her out in the entertainment world for girls and young women to emulate, instead of some ones they are choosing to watch…

Emma Watson

I most admire Emma Watson in her life outside of acting. She has really come into her own in the years following Harry Potter and I respect the way she has done it – relatively quietly and unobtrusively she has found causes that she believes in and has put a lot of passion behind them. Again, another woman who hasn’t let her beauty go to her head and isn’t afraid to use her brain for good.

Hermione Granger

On the subject of Emma Watson…Hermione is one of my favorite modern day heroines. I love how J.K. Rowling wrote her as a brainy, somewhat know-it-all, who grows into an amazingly smart, brave, strong female lead character. At the same time, she is still realistic in her emotions and feelings. She’s a great role model for young girls to have, because she does what she believes in and feels is right, regardless of whether it’s the popular thing or not.

Jane Eyre

One of my favorite classics to read, Jane Eyre has always been a character that speaks to me. Her unwavering sense of self-respect and independence is inspiring to me. Jane was treated many different ways by many different people, often poorly. Despite all, she never lost her sense of self. She stayed true to herself always. I aspire to that.

If not already, we will all at some point have someone watching us and looking to us for guidance. We are all intertwined – your life affects another’s life, which affects five other lives… Make what you do count for something. Find something to believe in. Inspire others. Be true to yourself. Live with a passion.

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