You can have a positive Role model and or a negative one. I only had a negative role model. To read my story you will see how a negative role model can affect your life traumatically. My mother was all I had growing up. Her mental disease effected my childhood and even though I swore I would never be like her I feel that my path in life has a lot of similarities. My role model growing up was Madonna because she inspired me.
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Role Model growing up
What is a Role Model? That’s a great question. I had to look it up. A Role Model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people (Dictionary.com 2012.) Growing up I didn’t have a very good role model. My mother and father divorced at a very young age. My brother and I are 7 years apart, so he was never around and took off at a very young age to raise himself. My mother who has severe Bi- Polar disorder was in many different relationships with men after my father left. She was also never home. Her excuse was that she had to work to support us. My dad, who wanted nothing to do with my mother, deserted me. I never met any of his family and my mother’s parents lived very far away, therefore, I had no one to look up to or ask for help. My mother was very abusive mentally. I felt she was such a nasty person because I was just an inconvenience in her life and didn’t understand till much older that she was mentally sick. I learned at a very young age to care for myself and, like my brother, moved out at 13 years of age. I had to quit school and get a job to take care of myself. Needless to say, it was very hard to get a good job with no education so I ended up waiting tables in many dumpy places until I met my first husband; I was eighteen.
I ended up in long term abusive relationships with promises to care for me and I would have no worries ever again. I believed him, or I should I say, I wanted to believe him. I made a promise to myself that my children would have a good role model, a great childhood, and a strong foundation to build their lives and would never have to go through what I had to survive. At 18 with my first husband we decided to have a baby. In the back of my mind I was concerned that my child would end up with the genetic disposition of my mother, but I was normal. I didn’t give it much thought after that. I wanted to have children of my own; someone who would love me and I would love unconditionally. My son was born, who is now eighteen, and ended up with the disease. He was diagnosed at 3 years of age with ADHD and ODD. They didn’t want to diagnose, or I should say, they couldn’t diagnose, Bi-Polar that young, but I knew. I left his father a few years later due to the increase in domestic abuse. Everything he promised he wouldn’t do, he did. I was alone trying to raise a child with no help, afraid to get into another relationship, for that matter, no one wanted a relationship with me. I had baggage. I had a child with severe behavior problems. Seven years later I meet another man who didn’t care about my son or my mother. He said that he would love me and made all the same promises my first husband did. A year later we talked about having another child. I told him all my fears and he comforted me. Shortly after my daughter was born my husband turned to drugs. I thought to myself, I can’t seem to get out of this cycle. More thoughts were, even if I didn’t have my mother’s illness, was I walking in her footsteps? You can see the identical path. My brother and I are seven years apart, my mom married twice. Was this all just coincidental? I stayed with my drug addicted husband for all most 10 years because I thought it was best for my children and I knew how hard my daughter would take the separation, as well as my son, whose father was never around. I finally came to the conclusion that I had to do what was best for me or I was not going to be around to take care of the two things I loved most, my children.
My daughter, who is 9 years old now, has not been diagnosed, but shows signs of having OCD, anxiety issues, and Agoraphobia. I ask myself every day how can I have two children with two separate problems? Today, as much as I resent my mother, I have to take care of her because no one else will. Somewhere, down deep, I feel I couldn’t live with the guilt if I didn’t because I know it’s really not her fault, she is sick. Even with all that, I will not let her be around my children for long periods. I feel that I need to protect them from her because I know how nasty she can be. Maybe I worry that I don’t want them to be like her. My daughter is very special. She knows the hard life I have lived, and am still living. She sees me every day struggling to get through school to make a better life for her and her brother. She tells me all the time how much she loves me and that everything is going to be ok. I look at her and realize she is so smart, creative, giving, and loving. Even with all her fears she keeps drudging through life. She tells me her hopes and dreams and I know she will accomplish them because she is persistent and has so much determination. If you were to ask me who my role model is today, it would be my daughter.
Growing up my famous role model was out of the norm. Maybe it was the way I was raised. My role model was Madonna. Why? Because when she introduced her debut title album in 1983, she has not looked back and has continued to be a global superstar. She followed it with a series of albums that pushed so many boundaries back then. I felt when I was younger that we had a lot in common. Her mother died of cancer at a very young age, where I felt like I had no mother. Madonna moved to live with her grandmother and she resented housekeepers and invariably rebelled against anyone brought into their home. I reacted the same way to any one my mother tried to bring in our home. I thought she was trying to replace my father. In an interview with Madonna she commented that she saw herself in her youth as a “lonely girl who was searching for something I wasn’t rebellious in a certain way. I cared about being good at something” (Havranek, Carrie, 2012.) I had actually seen this interview when I was younger. I felt like we had so much in common with our younger childhood and look where she is today.
Before she was Madonna, the future pop diva, she was simply Madonna Ciccone, a struggling dancer from the Detroit suburbs who longed for stardom. After a brief appearance at the University of Michigan on a dance scholarship, she decided to take a chance on herself, and in 1977 landed in New York City with $35 in her pocket. For several years she studied dance, modeled, and worked low-paying jobs, barely surviving until friends convinced her that she had a pleasant singing voice, leading to experiments with disco and pop that caught the ear of a disco DJ who helped land her a deal with Sire Records in 1982. Sire reportedly paid Madonna $5,000 per song for several singles, which found moderate popularity on dance and R&B stations, leading many to believe she was a black artist and convincing the record company to finance a full LP. “My inspiration is simply that I love to dance,” Madonna said of her first release, Madonna, in 1983. “All I wanted to do was make a record that I would want to dance to, and I did. Then I wanted to go one step further and make a record that people would listen to on the radio” (Smith, Chris, 2012.) She played in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) and has ventured into fashion design, writing children’s books, and film directing. Madonna believed in free speech and the lyrics in her songs have proven that. In her song “Like a Virgin” the backlash from parents after her performance was a surprise to her (Clerk, Carol, 2002.) The way she took the female gender and gave it so much empowerment, and how she felt free to express sexuality in front of millions of people, was not something parents in the 1980’s were thrilled about. Madonna empowered me and many other young women. She wasn’t encouraging women to get jobs or fight for equal rights but to embrace themselves as the people they are (Cross, Mary, 2007.) Madonna gave younger generations more exposure to women that were working to free their gender roles. Although it is still widely oppressed there is far more room for women to empower themselves whether it be through music or sexuality. I feel this is why she has not only been a role model for me, but for America as well; she has given women a voice that goes beyond politics and allows women to embrace themselves as part of the human race. One can learn a lot from her work ethics, her desire to achieve, her ability to adapt, and her knowledge of self promotion (Mahli Ricky, 1984.) Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the world’s top female recording artist of all time. She actually holds six world records with Guinness World Records:
- Top-Selling Female Recording Artist (2011) – 200 million records worldwide
- The Female Artist with The Most #1 singles in the UK- 9th Number Ones
- The Artist with The Most #1 DVD’s in the US- (Celebration is her last DVD topped the Chart)
- The Highest Grossing Tour for a Solo Artist of All Time
- The Most Costume Changes in a film Evita (more than 300)
- The World’s Most Successful Female Musician. Bohem, David A. (Bohem,1990.)
In recent years, even after all the bad publicity over her stunts on stage, she has continued to give. She traveled to Africa to help fight poverty and the problem of HIV and Aids. While she was there, her heart was stolen by a child who she adopted and brought home to the States to join her other two children. In my personal opinion, it seems once Madonna decided to have children and a family, she decided to stay out of the lime light. You don’t see her up on stage doing all the things she used to do. She loves her children and wants to be a good role model for them. She is a role model to many who believe in her and what she has accomplished.
Aristotle’s idea of virtue ethics relies substantially on the effects role models have on people. Aristotle believes that we learn to be moral (virtuous) by modeling the behavior of moral people. Through continual modeling we become virtuous out of habit. Of course, people can learn both good and bad habits depending on the role models they have. (Lawhead, 2011). I went in great detail to explain the hardships of my life because I truly believe if I would have had a better role model I’m sure I would have finished school, which would of lead to better education and a more beneficial job. I’m sure the abusive relationships I found myself in time and time again, had a lot to do with insecurities from not only having a negative role model but to feeling so alone as a child. Maybe I would have learned to handle life situations better if I would have a better example. The one thing I know is that, I would never want my children to experience the things I have, and I hope and pray that I can be the best role model for them.
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