So am I. So are each one of us. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good ones these days. There are far too many poor role models for our kids to watch, and our kids to follow today. We know it to be true. All we need to do is turn on the TV or social media, and we quickly see that our children are being bombarded with negative role models. You and I need to step it up. You and I need to change that.
Yet, there is more to it than that. As foster parents, we are a unique role model; a role model to many that we might not suspect. We need to take our role of being a good parent more seriously. We need to embrace the possibility that we might be the only positive role model other children might ever see.
There is always someone who is watching us, listening to us, and perhaps even modeling after us. Somebody is watching what you do today. Someone is listening to what you say, this very day. Maybe it is your child. Perhaps it is a niece, nephew, or grandchild. It might be the child at the grocery store, watching you down the aisle, or packing up your items at the check-out line. As a role model, what kind of message are you sending? As a role model, what kind of lesson are you teaching?
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As foster parents, we need to not only understand this, but also embrace it. We are role models not only for the children living in our homes and as our family members, but also for the birth parents and biological children that we are caring for.
For people like 22-year-old mother Mireya Alejandra Lopez, who drowned two of her twin infants in a bathtub, she lacked love in her life. When questioned by investigators, she stated that nobody loved her children and nobody loved her. For people like Dylann Roof, the alleged shooter of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, there were few good role models in his life, or in his home. An absent mother, a father who beat his step mother, and by age 15, Dylann began skipping classes, eventually quit school, and ended up unemployed and taking drugs. For 15-year old Alyssa Bustamante, who brutally stabbed a nine year old girl, simply because she “wanted to know what it was like to kill people,” she also suffered from lack of healthy parenting. Abandoned by her mother and, and a father who was in prison for most of her childhood, the troubled teen battled thoughts of suicide, and was on medication for depression. For the children who were rioting in Ferguson and in Baltimore, where are their positive role models? Who was telling them that their actions were wrong?
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As a parent, you will be a role model for countless people, as many eyes will be upon you. Not only will you be a role model for your children, but for the public, as a whole. For your neighbor who is having a difficult time as a parent, you are their role model. For the expectant mother at your work, you are her role model. For your child’s friend, who comes from a home of abuse, you are his role model for his future children. After all, not many in our society know what good parenting is really about these days. Your actions today might show other parents, and other children, how to act, how to behave, how to be compassionate, and how to be kind. People are watching you, today. People are learning from you, today. I am an adoptive and foster parent, taking care of 60 plus children in my home and in my family. My family, my work mates, close friends, those at my church; all will discover what foster care is all about, and what good parenting is about, just by watching what I do each and every day. The same applies to you!
Now, you might not be a foster parent, yet you are an example of what good parenting is all about. If you are a foster parent, everything you do will send signals to the biological parents on how a parent should act, as well as how to treat their own children. Everything you say will speak volumes to the child’s birth family members.Therefore, as a parent, it is important that you embrace this role, as it will surely affect the child in your own home, as well as others around you. You are planting seeds in the lives of both your children and those around you; seeds which will hopefully blossom into something better.
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