Not long ago I was talking with someone about a friend who was thinking of becoming a model. This idea soon inspired a conversation about the dual sense of the word “model.” The first sense of the word, as we were using it, refers to the occupation of demonstrating how clothes or products look and work. The second meaning of model, and of course today’s sense, involves the act of showing someone how to do or to be.

One of the ways that we learn how to be: to think, feel, and act, is by watching and then copying the behaviors of others. Psychologists use the word “modeling” to describe this process of learning through observation, identification and imitation, and substance of that comes from the role models who are in their lives.

This fact is not lost on the entertainment and advertisement industries. Successful and healthy looking people populate the film and television screens and print ads that announce to us that all we have to do to be successful is to try the products that they are endorsing. Millions of children and adults eagerly “buy” into these role-modeling sales pitches as means for achieving the promise of health or a sense of success themselves.

Following this trend it occurred to me to consider the possibility that just as there could be supermodels walking down fashion runways and exhibiting the latest styles for us to buy and to put on, perhaps we can also have and recognize supermodels who walk around in our communities, exhibiting outstanding personal characteristics for us to identify with and imitate.

So, how can we become super models?

We can start by developing and understanding of the basic power of modeling in our own lives, taking advantage of whatever we can learn from people who have acquired exemplary skills and traits, and then doing the very best we can to share these same examples of the finer aspects of humanity with those who can learn from us.

Growing children and even many adults need to be able to look up to individuals of good character and reliable performance to inspire them to reach to the heights of their own possibilities. Such role models can be powerful sources for behavioral change, because they help us to see beyond our selves and our own self-limitations.

From this vantage point, my idea of the supermodel is one that applies to each of us as a possibility. In this case is not essential that you be very tall or very thin or that you look particularly good in expensive clothing. What makes us super as models is our ability to express the best in ourselves in a manner that inspires others to strive to be his or her best. This achievement is as valuable to our fellow humanity as would be the skills of another whose abilities include seeing through walls and flying over very tall buildings. I wish you all a super day!


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