What Kind of Role Model Are You?

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Do you have a process for managing your conflicts with others, or do you tend to withdraw, get angry, resist or comply as a way to control or avoid conflict? Do your children see you avoiding life's difficulties with alcohol, drugs, gambling, spending, TV or other addictive behavior, or learning from life's challenges? Are you boring because you just try to be safe and maintain the status quo, or do you extend yourself and take some risks that result in aliveness and vitality? A client of mine was recently struggling with the lack of passion in her life. I asked her if her parents were passionate about anything.

"No," she said. "The smoked constantly, drank beer, and watched TV. They were nice to me, but they were both sick a lot and both died at young ages. I never saw either of them excited about anything." This woman in her late forties had no idea of how to discover her passions and her life felt dead to her. Her husband had expressed a lack of interest in her because he actually found her to be boring, and was no longer sexually interested in her. This is what brought her to work with me.

Let's take the role modeling a little further. Are you honest, or do you let your children think it's okay to withhold the truth or even lie outright. Do you role model integrity, or do you behave in ways that you would not want announced in a newspaper? Do you stand up for yourself, or do you let others walk all over you? Do you tolerate abusive situations or do your children see you take action in your own behalf?