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Role Model Essay: Doing It Right

November 18, 2020

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A role model essay is supposed to show if you can see useful traits or good behavior examples in other people and incorporate them into your system of values (and practice in life as well). Like, learn from others’ mistakes, but in a good sense. It can also show what you personally see as good or useful. So basically, this role model essay is more about you than about anyone else.  

Okay, you have someone you look up to, so your task may be easier. But what if you do not have any one particular in mind and forge your own path? Defending your individual life choices is great, but sometimes you just have to come up with some sort of a ‘your hero essay’ to complete the course and get a good mark from a picky teacher without starting an argument.

In this case, pick someone whom many people consider a worthy example, like Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, or a great athlete who came from poverty to fame and success because of hard work. Naming a parent or a relative your role model is also a safe choice. Then spin the story as you would spin it around yourself – what traits or deeds you appreciate and so want to imitate in your life.

How To Write a Role Model Essay

Now let us get closer to the mechanics of writing. Begin with giving a name to a person you describe (the first name is enough). Then explain who this person is and how he/she relates to you. Formulate what you appreciate most in this person and how you plan to include it in your life. This is your introduction and a thesis.

Consider this, for a starter: 

My role model and inspiration is my grandmother Gloria. She had a difficult life, but she excelled in her work and raised her children alone, making sure they received sufficient education. Throughout her life, she retained optimism, kindness, and the strong belief that everything is possible if you move towards your goal and work hard enough. 

Talk About A Person You Know Closely, Not Just A Distant Idol

 In such a way, you will show that you really know the motivations and actions of this person and learn from real examples, not an imaginary stuff that you ascribe in your head to this person. 

Naming some distant example as your role model has a big drawback. You actually do not know if this person is really that good or persevering as it is said in official reports and stories. So you rely on the gossips or imagination of other people while shaping your own personality. 

Okay, for Mother Theresa or MLK, there are plenty of witnesses who knew these people well and so can confirm that they were truly great. But for the majority of today’s celebs and ‘examples of success,’ the back story is muddy or openly polished and curated to be taken as truth. Hence, looking to such idols for moral or life guidance looks quite irresponsible at best. 

So the safest thing to write (and to do in your life if you are still looking for a good example to follow) is to pick a person you really know, and know well. Then you can tell for sure that this person is amazing and so you aspire to be like him/her. 

Continuing the previous example: 

I know my Grandma well because she stepped in and helped my parents to raise my brother and me, while they were working literally 24/7 to provide for the family. She was always there for us, physically and emotionally, and we felt loved and safe when she was around. Moreover, we got a valuable opportunity to know her as a person, and what we learned has definitely changed our characters and life for the better. 

Talk About Reasonable Appreciation And Admiration

Taking someone as a role model does not mean seeing them as gods or flawless creations. Seeing someone as a model means being observant and critical, yet seeing the true values or achievements of this person (and realizing their accompanying shortcomings as well). So when writing, you make it clear that: 

  • You draw a line between you and that person;
  • you say you do not want to be that person altogether;
  • you just want to be like that person in this or that aspect. 

This insightful and analytical approach is what every teacher wants to see in a successful essay. 

So, we will write like this: 

Our Grandma had endless patience for us because she remembered that we were kids. Yet, at the same time, she never stopped teaching us kindness and responsibility, subtly, gently but constantly. She did not preach or scold, but she always acted kindly and responsibly, never failing to say that it was the right thing to do. 

She had goals, maybe not as ambitious as she had in her younger years, but nevertheless, she had them and strived to reach them no matter what. We witnessed her pursue those goals, and she patiently explained why she set this very goal and how she planned to go about it. Then she set to work on it (all while supervising us, feeding us, or helping us with our studies). And she did achieve her goals, and we became involved in whatever she did and wanted to help, at least a little bit. Looking back, I realize that it was probably the most valuable lesson I could ever get. 

Focus On Details

To make your writing plausible and persuasive, write about the actions, beliefs, worldviews, goals of a person that make you appreciate and want to imitate him/her. 

It is normal to introduce the good traits of your role model in general terms, like kindness or goal setting. But then you need to provide specific examples of general ideas. Pick the brightest or most impactful cases and describe them briefly but retaining the main message. If we continue the example of Grandmother, the examples can range from her kindness towards her grandkids to her kindness towards any living being. 

Example: 

Grandma Gloria believed that every helpless creature deserved protection and compassion. She believed that being not like everyone else was not a crime or a fault. She believed that no goal was too small or insignificant if it worked towards some bigger good. 

She would feed stray cats wandering in our yard, and she would regularly refill the bird feeder in winter and then took us to the yard to watch birds come and feast. She planted flowers and herbs, and anything she planted would blossom into amazing greenery. She was always friendly and nice with a neighboring boy who had severe speech impairment, and when he tried to talk to her, he seemed to speak a little better than usual. When we once tried to laugh at him behind his back, she did not chide us. Instead, she asked if we would laugh at her in a similar way if she had such a problem. It made us reconsider how we see and treat other people. But perhaps the biggest impact she had on us was her goals and work. 

Show, Not Tell

When it is possible, draw a picture with your words. Yet if impossible, better put it in a straightforward explanation than entangle yourself in an unclear and lengthy description of some event that only indirectly illustrates your idea. Let us just look at the example: 

The Grandma’s precious lesson that I will keep in my mind all my life is the story of church charity bazaar. It was planned that people would bring various foods and items and will sell them to raise money. There will also be a raffle of gifts for kids from poorer families. It seemed a good idea to hold a raffle because no kid would feel betrayed or handed a worse gift. It would be a matter of luck. Yet it was clear that gifts would be some useful stuff, like school supplies or books, but no one would waste scarce resources on toys. 

There were 10 kids altogether who were expected to receive gifts: one boy and nine girls. When the plan was revealed to the adult community members, Grandma decided to make the kids a surprise. She had little time, but she was a great knitter, and so she set to knitting nice stuffed dolls and one teddy bear for those kids from the yarn she had at hand. She divided the remaining time into equal parts and set herself to knit one doll per time.

All free time she had was dedicated to knitting. Watching the news, watching the dinner cook, watching us play – it all was accompanied by knitting. She simplified the pattern, but she produced a whole nice toy in the short time she assigned herself, and we were already involved in this charity race as well. We carefully painted faces, we cut threads into short pieces to make hair, and towards the end of Grandma’s quest, we even learned to sew a bit – we cut dresses after the simple pattern and painstakingly sew them together.

The teddy bear was finished a couple of hours before the raffle, and since Grandma ran out of rusty colored yarn, she knitted a funny colorful patch on the teddy’s belly. One ear was also colorful. The bear was so funny and cuddly. I liked it myself. Never in my life was I so motivated and determined to finish the task as in those few days before the raffle. 

But when kids got to reach into the Grandma’s basket and pulled out those soft and cuddly creatures, I understood that it was worth every minute of it. A girl got a bear and generously traded it for a doll from a boy. Everyone was happy. The kids’ excitement was genuine, and seeing their kids happy, adults’ mood improved as well. Toys making may seem a petty task, but when it makes a difference for many people, it becomes a big and worthy goal. 

You can put this bright, detailed description into a few sentences if the word count requires concise writing. Yet remember to mention the key things: the goal, how it was planned to achieve, how it was achieved, how you were involved, and what was the overall impact. 

Explain How This Person Influenced You And Your Actions/Beliefs/Goals

Now it is time to summarize what traits you want to borrow from your model. Here it is okay to generalize and not delve into great details. So, you can say that you remember to be kind to every living creature that comes to you seeking help, that you value every human life and personality, no matter how unconventional it may be. And finally, that church bazaar knitting quest will always be with you as a reminder that everything is possible if you want it badly and work hard towards it. 

What Not To Write

You may pick any role model you want, but please avoid blind following and admiration. Today it is a common thing to want to be like social media stars or like some successful digital entrepreneur. The point is you do not know much about them except what is posted on the social or in the news. Instagram bloggers and celebs who are famous for being famous are usually not the best role models for this reason. 

Although, if you have enough ideas and evidence that illustrate how this person did influence you in a good way, then give it a try and see how compelling it looks. Stick to the guidelines we have provided, and you will not miss the point. 

Afterword

Only you know what person made an impact on you and inspired you to become a better self. But sometimes it can be tricky to put everything you want to express in clear and persuasive writing. In this case, drop us a line and ask for help. Our writers will take the information you provide close to their hearts and create moving and impactful essays on role model.

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