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 Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?

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normanhurst
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PostSubject: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 03:50

As a kid growing up in the aftermath of WW11… one of my elder sisters, born in the midst of a doodlebug raid on D day was charged with dragging me off somewhat reluctantly to my first days of school. What made it bearable were the wonderful stories she told to coax me along. Stories of Ernest Shackleton, Capt. Scott, Guy Gibson, Leigh Mallory, Douglas Bader and many more… these were the names of a few of the men that inspired me… and if asked who or what a hero was, I’m pretty sure I’d list a few of them. I can’t ever remember the mention of a role model back then.

Over the years I’ve read about them, added a few, and reconsidered my opinion of others… and I met Doulas Bader many times as a kid. Giants of engineering also spring to mind… Brunel, Stephenson etc… but not one footballer, cricketer or… well I don’t think there were any celebrity wanabees then.

The whole concept of a hero in the mind of a child has changed… and very short lived… George Best, Beckham, Rooney… they come and go like the phases of the moon… but are they ‘role models’ or hero’s… some being worshipped like near gods, definitely getting the wages of one anyway.
I bet there’s not one child these days that would look upon the heroes of my childhood with the same esteem if indeed they even knew of them…
So, who did you look up to, was he/she a hero, or a role model, and what’s the difference.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 05:03

There's a fair bit here to argue about, Norman. I am trying to think who I thought of as heroic as a child and no one much is coming to mind. Douglas Bader was talked about, and Scott was known to everyone, but the rest of those I don't think I knew much about. Shackleton as a name perhaps but not much else. Here, of course the big hero was (and is) Sir Edmund Hillary, but I don't imagine I fancied emulating him. I do think this must be a gender thing; I was a little tomboy and not very feminine, but I still don't seem to have had male heroes. I liked romantic sacrifice, which is probably what appealed about Scott's expedition. Perhaps some of those war heroines like Edith Cavell; we didn't seem to learn of Nancy Wake till quite recently.

I can't think of specific missionary sort of people, but I wanted to be a missionary as a child. (The people I seemed to admire most as a young teenager were a couple of older girls at school, one of whom was a strong sporting star and the other an ordinary girl with a lovely dry sense of humour that I liked. And later there was my best friend, who had lots of admirable qualities.)

I don't think you've chosen the best examples to make your point about footballers - those three have lasted quite well. How many people in soccer countries wouldn't know George Best still? Someone like Pele was heroic to sports-minded kids of the past. And my husband had Franz Beckenbauer as a hero.

Modern boys have their own heroes. My son's was a top NZ rally driver, Possum Bourne. He was killed on a practice run hitting another car at high speed coming the other way. And my son likes those high flyers like Richard Branson. I can't think of heroes for my other two, though - perhaps they are more secure in themselves. Terry Pratchett and Joanne Rowling for my youngest perhaps. And the inventor of Lego!

There were celebrities when I was a child, not much after you. I used to pore over our film star books, looking at the beautiful women like Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor. Liz Taylor's marriages made headline news in a way modern celebrities could only envy, I would think.

I've gone off Brunel since I read a novel which took him as a 'great man' who was not a great family man. And I suspect lots of these famous achieving men aren't great as husbands and fathers. How often did Mrs James Cook see her husband? I was reading the other day of a very well-known and beloved maverick mayor of Auckland in the 1960s. He had four wives and five children, none of whom came to his funeral when he was an old man.

This is all a bit bitsy - I kept thinking of things while I was writing, and popping them in.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 07:37

'Role model' is yet another new age expression much bandied about these days by the likes of the BBC, but when such expressions are closely examined they usually prove to be meaningless.

Today's role models seem to be based on images of people in the spotlight for one reason or another. Images that are entirely generated by publicity machines, and have very little to do with what the particular person is in actuality. Yet for some unfathomable reason it is the done thing to encourage children to look up to what is in fact, artificial.

Imo 'hero' is also skating on thin ice but a vast improvement on role model, there is some definition to the word that can be grasped, at least.

There are many people who can be admired for their abilities to sing, act, dance, write, paint, play any particular sport or who have done some extra-ordinary deed but these talents do not make any person perfect and in need of adulation. However, any one of these people can influence, to a certain extent, anyone aspiring to a similar discipline, but do people really want to be them? Or are they merely emulating? Not quite the same thing.


Last edited by Islanddawn on Tue 28 Aug 2012, 09:12; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling)
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 10:29

There's a real bitter-sweet feeling thinking back to the people I admired as a child/teenager/young woman. Part of me is laughing at how foolish I was - I'm shaking my head at my (understandable) naivete; but another part of me - if I'm honest - is rather sad. Lost dreams, lost aspirations, lost innocence and all that, and I'm sad too because such naivete no longer seems possible for today's youngsters. (But that, perhaps, is not a bad thing.)

My early heroes/heroines were fictitious. I had tremendous admiration for Richard Greene - or rather Robin Hood - as he rode with such vigour and determination (in his Wolford tights?) through the glens of Sherwood. I was only about eight, so I don't think I had fallen in love. I certainly didn't want to be Bernadette O'Farrell, his Maid Marian; I wanted to be Robin Hood, "Feared by the bad, loved by the good - Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood." Odd because, unlike Caro, I was a shy little girl and not at all a tomboy.

I also wanted to be Moira Kent from "Bunty". Moira was the Girl with the Dancing Shoes. Like Moira, I practised and struggled for hours so I could learn to stand on one leg without wobbling too badly. Margot Fonteyn later took over from Moira - a real-life artist whose real life, as I sadly later discovered, was not one any young girl should aspire to. Fonteyn was used and abused - perhaps even beaten - by several men. "You dance like shit!" Nureyev, her lover, regularly told her.

When not reading "Bunty" I was devouring Enid Blyton's school stories, and Darrell Rivers from Malory Towers replaced Moira as heroine number one. Darrell got to be Head Girl of the Sixth, and, like Darrell, I thrilled to these words from Miss Grayling (the wise and extremely distinguished Headmistress at Malory Towers - God knows how she would have coped in an inner city comprehensive - probably very well, actually):

"One day you will leave this school and go out into the world as young women. You should taKe with you eager minds, kind hearts and a will to help. You should take with you a good understanding of many things and a willingness to accept responsibility, and show yourself as women to be loved and trusted...I do not count as our successes those who have won scholarships and passed exams, though these are good things to do. I count as our successes those who learn to be good-hearted and kind, sensible and trustable, good sound women the world can lean on. Our failures are those who do not learn these things in the years they are here."

Oh yes, yes - please God let me be like that (and please let me also one day be able to do 32 consecutive fouettes en tournant, just like Odile in "Swan Lake"). Enter Vera Brittain and Shirley Williams. Vera Brittain, my real heroine, was dead by 1970, but both she and her daughter, Shirley Williams, were excellent role models for an idealistic teenager: both were strong, determined women, Oxford graduates and passionate about politics and education. I was still, however, devouring fiction and was by now reading avidly about doomed and tragic heroines - Tess and Jane and Cathy and Anna (that would be a list of super-models today, I guess). Not, alas, such good choices as Brittain and her daughter. I longed especially to be Anna Karenina and I would pace up and down Platform 4 at Manchester Victoria in my Chelsea Girl (1970s equivalent of Topshop) maxicoat, wishing it would snow, and looking, as I imagined, suitably mysterious and heartbroken. My boyfriend was utterly bewildered (no imagination). Lord, what an idiot (me, not him).

Elizabeth Taylor (whom Caro mentions) was still famous, but she had got fat and boozy, and belonged really to an earlier generation. Marianne Faithfull was the girl we all thought we wanted to be around 1969; she was slender, beautiful and wicked. But by 1971 she had lost her appeal as a fashionable anti-heroine - heroin, suicide attempts and abuse had made her an object of pity, not admiration. So Vera Brittain was winning again.

But we were growing up now and the Stranglers - was it already 1977? - were singing "No More Heroes". Who was on their list - Leon Trotsky, Lenny Bruce, Sancho Panza and Shakespearos, I think.


Last edited by Temperance on Tue 28 Aug 2012, 19:39; edited 1 time in total
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normanhurst
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 10:37

wow temps... such enthusiasm, could have been written for a magazine... interesting.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 10:46

Oh dear, this is complicated to express.

A hero can be anyone, alive or dead, who is admired for some achievement or characteristic whether or not there is any possibility of the admirer replicating that. Certainly he or she may try to demonstrate some aspect on a smaller scale but the main claim to fame, that which confirmed their heroic status, is almost always not something that can be re enacted by that admirer.

A role model is just that: someone on whom one models oneself. Modelling behaviour is an intrinsic characteristic: every child does it consciously and unconsciously. In the sense the term usually gets tossed around, it generally just means 'copies'.

I've just noticed the time and your post Temp! Back later.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 13:14

I'm not sure "role model" is quite as recent a concept as you suggest, ID, at least not a "new age" one. Most dictionaries suggest its usage can be dated to the 1950s. But in any case it is simply a term which usurped others in popular usage beforehand and which served the same purpose.

To me as a kid I suppose my own "role models" could be divided into three categories: those recommended by my elders, those suggested by my peers, and those which I either found or invented myself (the invention part in creating personal paragons is much underrated normally in discussing this topic, I think).

As characters who I was expected to emulate I cannot think of one, whatever the source, of which I expected myself (or was expected) to emulate completely, with one exception. The biggest culprits in that department of over expectation with regard to emulation in my own case were the religiously motivated seniors around me who constantly held up supposed paragons who we were told we should emulate completely - as in their whole lives were held up as epitomes of "goodness" according to the recommenders' religious criteria. This totalitarian approach to creating a role model was of course lost on us all at the time. Even at a tender age one knew enough about people to know that there was no one who was that good!

However there were many who had individual traits which elders presented as worthy of emulation, or at least admiration, and these made an impression - I remember Paul Robeson being presented in that light, I recall.

Role models suggested by peers however filled so many different other categories and criteria that they were much more relevant, and often much more durable as something to emulate. Amongst them included not only paragons of virtue and virtuoso-ness but some who had qualities of danger-seeking, adventurousness, cheekiness, and even downright evil. This is where the bulk of the footballers who made it into our private pantheons came from, as well as notorious models such as Ronny Biggs, Marlon Brando and Tiny Tim, to name but a few of the many.

The privately accrued ones though were the ones who bit deepest into our young psyches, even if the bulk of them were, as Temp also said, gleaned from the pages of comics and storybooks, or from the cathode ray tube whose particles which were beamed at us from its lair in the living room entrapped and enthralled us with its inexhaustible and varied assortment of hero-worship suggestions, many of whom were badly drawn and even less completely understood in any case but who we then absorbed and magnified and filled in the missing pieces ourselves until we had constructed an imagined paragon in our minds - one that, when looking back on it, was often a far better creation than the original version.

It is only fair to point out that few of these role models lasted long at all, at least in the sense that their virtues etc could be associated with their source. Abstraction set in pretty promptly in most cases. To this day I'm not even sure if I'm more Bruce Wayne than Ben Cartwright!
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 13:39

This is probably the best juncture to recommend Umberto Eco's book "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana", in which the narrator, while recovering from a stroke which has robbed him completely of all memory of everything before the incident and therefore also his own sense of identity, recreates both himself and the world from scratch after finding in the attic all the comics, movie posters and books he had accumulated in his childhood and youth.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 20:03

Right, I've squandered 57p (including delivery!) on that, I haven't read an Eco for a while.

Oops, time for "Bake Off" so I'm off!




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alantomes
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 20:53

I had two role models. The second was Humphrey Bogart. I can remember wearing my mac' collar turned up just as he did.

However, my first role model was my Dad!

Regretably I was not the sporting son he wanted, although I loved football. I was never as strong as him, and as I got older I didn't smoke like him, nor drink like him, nor swear like him. I was also academically much cleverer than my Dad, although I didn't want to be. I just wanted to be like him.

My younger brother was the opposite, he was not as academically clever as I, but he was good at all the things my Dad wanted him to be, the only exception was that he didn't smoke!
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 22:40

It was too late last night when I saw Temperance’s post to respond, but there are lots of points in it that resonated with me. Probably fictional characters were the ones I responded to most as a youngster too. I liked Darrell in Malory Towers too (and some of the others had my admiration too – Bill charging in with her four brothers on horseback I expect raised some envy, as does anyone now who can ride a horse confidently, and I have always remembered the expert swimmer who thought she could beat the wild sea. This was an object lesson in pride, but showed definite ambition really).

But Darrell had the moral compass that I think I admired mostly. My real heroine was LM Montgomery’s Anne and her attitudes fitted with my ideals; she was high-minded and highly moral, imaginative, loving, in tune with nature, liked writing, and was something of an outsider gradually gaining the love and respect of others. I read the first two again just recently (they are books I used to know almost off by heart) and could still see the appeal, though the down-to-earth humour of some of the older characters now were more enjoyable than some of Anne’s flights of fancy.

I also liked Sue Barton, another high-minded young woman. (Girls had to grow up, marry and have families and a career for me to read about them – lots of adventures and nothing else à la Cherry Ames didn’t appeal.) I think Jesus appealed to me too (I never understand how Christians can be right-wing – Jesus had all the left-wing ideas that I appreciated, and the lilies not toiling was a very useful sentence to me).

I read Anna Karenina for the first time recently (can’t date it since it took me 18 months) and your comment about longing to be Anna was very shocking to me! How could you want to be someone so self-obsessed, boring and mentally unstable? I loved Tolstoy’s writings and his insights, and the parts about Levin were great, full of farming detail and his relationship with Kitty and his worries about how to treat his staff, but Anna and Vronsky left me cold. He seemed shallow and she was silly. So much for in-depth reading. However I was just as bad re Cathy, finding her situation the height of romance, instead of the mutually abusive, difficult relationship it was.

I’m not sure you couldn’t have been in love at 8. I recall going to euchre evenings from the age of 7 or so, and usually I was in love with (had a crush on might be more accurate) a couple of the younger men there. They would still have been around 30, reasonably good looking – and good at cards. I wouldn’t have had any respect for those who didn’t seem to be able to play euchre with any flair. Which brings me to a point which I think contradicts something I said earlier. I always liked people best who were older than me and superior intellectually. I was a bright child, so by definition that was someone older than me. I liked listening to adults talking, though I didn’t always understand what they were talking about. But I don’t think they were necessarily role models. In the sense of wanting to be like someone else, that was probably really just Anne of Green Gables.

And like Alan, my father was a big part of my life and probably someone I did automatically copy to a fair degree (or perhaps it is just genetics that means I see him in myself sometimes). But my father didn’t like any sport (except horse-racing) and I do.

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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 23:25

Looking back to childhood, dimly, I'm sure that I didn't really want to emulate any of the finer character traits of those people, real or fictional, that I admired. No, I wanted to be them. Whether it was Princess Anita (School Friend or Girl's Crystal?), Belle of the Ballet (Girl?), Michela Denis (anyone remember her and her husband Armand?) or even Jacques Cousteau, it was the exciting things they did that I envied and craved. It all seemed so much more thrilling than 50's Glasgow. Much though I guzzled the Mallory, 5 and 7 Blyton books, the '.... of Adventure' series was my favourite; all those exotic places had much more appeal than sandwiches and pop on some windswept moor or empty beach.
I'm afraid I found many of the tragic heroines of classic fiction irritating but then I've always tended to being rather unsentimental. Some who know me might even go further!


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Gran
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 28 Aug 2012, 23:39

My hero's changed as I aged, I would say probably 6-8 Enid Blytons heroins 8-12 various ballerinas, (clumpy old me-never!) 13-15 I collected movie stars photos we girls used to write off to the studios and they sent back personally? autographed photos. After that usually whichever male singer was currently popular.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Wed 29 Aug 2012, 08:04

@Caro wrote:


I read Anna Karenina for the first time recently (can’t date it since it took me 18 months) and your comment about longing to be Anna was very shocking to me! How could you want to be someone so self-obsessed, boring and mentally unstable?

Very easily, Caro, very easily! But please do note I was laughing at myself - I did put "Lord, what an idiot!" after my confession about wanting to be the doomed and lovely Anna. (But that mazurka with Sean Bean - er, I mean Count Vronsky - what woman could fail to be moved by that? )

Amanda was the swimmer - yes I remember her. She was going in for the Olympics, wasn't she, but got smashed to pieces by the wild seas off the Cornish coast? You're right; it was a good lesson about pride and ambition. (*Was* Malory Towers in Cornwall - I think so - will check in a minute.)

There was Shirley Flight too, the Air Hostess. I admired her tremendously - so competent.

How revealing all this is! Who did I really want to be? Shirley Flight or Shirley Williams - a dilemma indeed for any young girl.

PS There's a new film of "Anna Karenina" just out, starring Keira Knightley. That'll ruin everything. KK will look ravishing, no doubt, until the chin takes over. But KK and her chin is the ideal for many girls today.

PPS Ferval - I loved the "of Adventure" books, too. "The Island of Adventure" was the best. Kiki the Parrot was great.

PPPS Alan's remarks about his father were interesting. Do many people keep parents as role models?
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Wed 29 Aug 2012, 08:19




Here we are, ladies. A bit of romance for a miserable wet Wednesday morning.

Edit: Obviously not. Never mind.

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Wed 29 Aug 2012, 09:07

Fixed Smile
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Wed 29 Aug 2012, 09:32

Oh, great - thank you, Nordmann.
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normanhurst
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Wed 29 Aug 2012, 11:28

Very interesting and quite revealing some of this stuff. I can hardly remember my mother and that which I do, I’d rather forget, so it’s obvious then that my father would be the dominant parent and be of such an influence, I think my sisters are glad to have been more influenced by him as well. He was a very learned man, a toolmaker that encouraged us all to read but often scoffed at fiction regarding it I think as a trivia… knowledge should be our quest. My reading material was mostly about practical things, how it works etc… but I enjoyed learning about the first settlers of the Americas and their treatment of the people they discovered already living there. I read about nature, and the explorers of the past.

The authors mentioned here are mostly unknown to me, although Caro’s mention of LM Montgomery’s Anne struck a distant bell which I had to Google, not for the authors name but for Anne, with an E. A few years ago I borrowed a set of videos from my ‘foster stepdaughter’ of Anne of Green Gables... I thought they were wonderful, very ‘girly’and I could see the attraction for any girl to be drawn to them.

I suppose there have been three men in my life that had been inspirational… my father, my scout master and a wonderful marine engineer I worked for that was like a father figure, but he really had a lot of time for me, something my father often said he just couldn’t be bothered with.

And women… well they just remain a complete and utter bloody mystery…
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Wed 29 Aug 2012, 13:43

My father was very right-wing, Norman - he had actually been (in his youth) a supporter of Oswald Mosley. You can imagine how difficult that was for me as a girl. What was particulary confusing was that my father was an extremely clever and educated man - someone I looked up to in many ways - someone indeed whom I longed to have as a role model. But his political views angered and exasperated me. I tried to argue with him, but it was hopeless; and his rages when anyone tried to oppose him were fearsome. I gave up in the end. The famous Oscar Wilde quotation: "Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever do they forgive them" was sadly certainly true for me for many, many years. But my father (like us all) was a product of his times and his circumstances. Trouble is it takes you most of your own lifetime to acccept that obvious fact about people. To understand all doesn't necessarily mean you can forgive all, but you can - eventually- forgive a lot.

I haven't read any of these lectures/essays by Thomas Carlyle "On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History", but apparently some consider that Carlyle's ideas on heroes contributed to the later rise of fascism. I have no idea if that is true or not, but it got me thinking about just how dangerous the wrong choice of "heroes" can be.

http://www.online-literature.com/thomas-carlyle/heroes-and-hero-worship/

I've also been wondering about the heroes of famous historical figures. Whom, for instance, did Caesar admire? Who were the heroes and role models of the great tyrants of history?

I know Henry VIII (sorry) longed to be Henry V. The latter has always struck me as being a bit of a sh*t actually, rather than a true hero, but that's probably Shakespeare's fault.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Wed 29 Aug 2012, 23:13

I have no idea who famous historical male figures might have admired, but I have noticed that high female achievers, at least in the past when they were in fields normally permeated by men, often seemed to have very supportive fathers, or were in families of daughters only where a father has pushed or at least helped them. The father of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson for instance ensured his daughters were given every opportunity.

One exception to this, well known in NZ, was Jean Batten, aviatrix famous in the 1930s for being the first person to fly solo from NZ to Britain and for other exploits. It was her mother who was the driving force behind her aviation career and her life generally.

That doesn't necessarily mean these were the heroes, but have been the catalyst for success. You do read of people whose careers have begun with an interest in someone else in their field; naturally I can't think of an actual example off-hand.

Henry V strikes me as someone who was lucky to die when he did, before any subsequent events or personality failings could damage his reputation. If Henry VIII had died aged 35 we would have had very different impressions of him too. (Works the opposite too - if you live long enough you usually break down any poor impressions of your life, either turning it around, or becoming a favourite black sheep of the nation type of person.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 08:31

@Caro wrote:
I have no idea who famous historical male figures might have admired, but I have noticed that high female achievers, at least in the past when they were in fields normally permeated by men, often seemed to have very supportive fathers, or were in families of daughters only where a father has pushed or at least helped them. The father of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson for instance ensured his daughters were given every opportunity.


Elizabeth Tudor's father wasn't at all supportive of course, yet by all accounts she held him in great esteem. He was, almost, her hero. I've always thought the famous Tilbury speech ("I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and a King of England too...") was for her dead father.

I agree about dying young - go out on a high before it all goes pear-shaped - or worse!
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 09:11

I've been struggling with the realisation that my most important role models at an early age were those who advised me not to adopt role models.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 12:27


  • Are the Disney Princesses dangerous role models for girls? People can get very worked up over this.

You can see the various girls here and read about their different character traits. (They twirl about nicely when you click on the arrow.)

http://www.disney.co.uk/princess/index.jsp



I've had great fun deciding which princesses we resemble. I think:

ID = Rapunzel

Caro = Ariel

Ferval = Cinderella

Priscilla = Pocahontas

Gran = Belle

Now who have I missed out? Of course - Snow White!

PS You have to click on a princess's name to read her character description. Takes ages for the girls to appear at first, but twinkly-twirly music (including the nauseating "One Day My Prince Will Come") plays as the site is "Finding Princesses" for you.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 12:36

Cinderella? Even the stepmother would have given up on me as a skivvy. I'd like to think of myself more as Belle, certainly not as a beauty but as trying to find the princes in all the little beasts that I dealt with over the years.

I always think of "One Day My Prince Will Come" as being a cry of frustration.
Did any of the princesses have a really dirty mind? Looks like I'm none of them then.

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 12:41

I hope you've read your description properly, ferval.

"Cinderella wasn't *born* a Princess, but she has all the qualities of one..." (or something like that ).

Wish there was a similar list of Princes to match up to our gentlemen contributors.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 13:17

Ah, that's the difference then. I was quite definitely born a princess but must have been stolen from my cradle.

Let's consider the male leads then

Prince Charming - easily trapped by a pretty face and with a shoe fetish.

The Beast - superficially ugly and aggressive but a real softy at heart

Aladdin - cheeky chappy with ideas above his station

Peter Pan - need I say more!

Prince Philip - looks like his horse

I can't remember the others, help please and attributions.

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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 13:23

There is:

http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Disney_Prince

I see Quasimodo is listed as an "unofficial" Disney prince.

Norman - I do apologise for putting this nonsense on your thread. Just a bit of fun, honest. (And better than wittering on about Thomas Carlyle.)

Edit: Oops crossed posts again, ferval.


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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 13:35

Deleted.


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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 13:44

no worries... this isnt the BBC.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 13:56

You see, a meander of posters!

But returning to the op, are anti-role models as influential: those that we determine we will absolutely, definitely not become like? If these are in fact parents can we really overcome nature and nurture?
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 15:26

That makes me think of the song - is it "When Doves Cry"? - the one with the line, "Maybe I'm just like my father". I have no idea about nature and nurture, although the social scientists have done all their studies and have solemnly pronounced. Perhaps there's much more going on than they - or we - can understand, about nature and nurture, or anything else for that matter. Do we actually "determine" anything, or do we simply think we do? I believe destiny (or whatever word you chose for it - all the "it is written" Danny Boyle Slumdog stuff) plays its part. Easy to dismiss such ideas as New Age crap, but they're not so new and possibly not all complete crap.

"There is a divinity that shapes our ends,/Rough-hew them as we will-" said Hamlet and I agree. Don't cringe at the word "divinity" - he wasn't being God-Squaddy.

But such stuff will go down like a lead balloon around here, I know. I'd best shut up.


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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 16:07

'Our fate is not in the stars but in ourselves'; quite literally I fear. Some of the recent stuff about the expression of the interplay of genes in us is just a bit scary, so much more complex, subtle and particular than was thought.

My cat must have had a rather distant and aloof daddy, her mummy was all cuddly and affectionate but she's an imperious and ungrateful madam.
http://www.messybeast.com/paternal.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 16:30

Listen to Hamlet, ferval, not Cassius (bad egg).

Haven't time to read about moggies now, but will later.
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Thu 30 Aug 2012, 16:50

I always rather fancied Cassius. Now that's weird, why on earth....., perhaps because he seemed so much more exciting than goody - goody Brutus. It was always the bad boys for me.

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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sat 01 Sep 2012, 09:39

I was quite taken the other day reading a tribute from a woman to her elderly mother who had just died, aged 98. In it she uses the phrase 'role-model' several times. She wrote, "Mum's adjustment to the 20th century in the city was a generational challenge. I know how it is for me to make sense of 20th century stuff. Once again Mum has role-modelled the way to do it." And speaking of herself with regard to her son-in-law she said, "We haven't had much time together, which now I can change, and I hope to be included in your camping, tramping, fishing trips as we role-model basic values to your children. I see us bringing my grandchildren up with adventures, basic values, firmness, curiosity, love and a strong sense of self."

I don't know that I would ever use the phrase in relation to my own activities or ideas.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sat 01 Sep 2012, 10:43

@Caro wrote:
And speaking of herself with regard to her son-in-law she said, "We haven't had much time together, which now I can change, and I hope to be included in your camping, tramping, fishing trips as we role-model basic values to your children. I see us bringing my grandchildren up with adventures, basic values, firmness, curiosity, love and a strong sense of self."

I don't know that I would ever use the phrase in relation to my own activities or ideas.

No - and although that message to the son-in-law sounds very worthy, it makes me rather uneasy. Poor kids, I find myself thinking, which is probably quite unfair.
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sat 01 Sep 2012, 11:19

And poor son-in-law too, he'd better never slip from the true path or mother-in-law will be there to point out his failings. Quite forcibly I'd guess.
I'm less worried about the kids, with any luck they will rebel healthily and take up thoroughly disreputable pastimes to annoy them both.
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sat 01 Sep 2012, 12:07

Not only will mother-in-law point out his failings but sounds like she'd print it in the local paper for all to read also. These sort of public declarations always make me uneasy too and usually strike me as false, but I was raised in an era when it wasn't done to make a public song and dance about the private and personal.
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sat 01 Sep 2012, 13:21

@Islanddawn wrote:
These sort of public declarations always make me uneasy too and usually strike me as false, but I was raised in an era when it wasn't done to make a public song and dance about the private and personal.

No - the washing of one's dirty linen in public was always frowned upon - definitely not the "done thing". And certainly in recent years everyone has got sick and tired of psychobabble sob stories.

That said, the washing of one's clean linen in public (as I think you are also suggesting) is also suspect. Is that what Caro's lady is doing, I wonder? I'm not on Facebook, but I believe the family laundry activities described in great detail there involve not just clean linen, but linen which is carefully and crisply starched, ironed and beautifully folded. It's posh 450 thread count linen, too, none of your soiled and sweaty cheap polyester rubbish on display for the whole world to sneer at. Are those perfect families really to be believed?

Reminds me of the Round Robin things people used to send out with Christmas cards detailing how wonderfully their lives/careers/ marriages/children/pets were developing - always just as planned. No addictions, no infidelities, no anxiety disorders, no senility, no sickness, no lonely deaths (apart from the odd unfortunate hamster or two) - in short not the sightest whiff of human misery. Until - out of the blue - a friend with a perfect life - usually one you hadn't spoken to for a couple of years or so - would ring and sob her heart out down the phone at you.

But yes, the sobbing and the declarations are best done in private - you are right, ID. But it *is* interesting to read/listen to people's stories too; and perhaps they are not all false.

That said, I do think that woman who is so determined to go camping and fishing and tramping whilst relentlessly offering herself up as a role model for her grandchildren perhaps has one or two "unexplored issues" of her own to deal with - but then, who's to say?

Off topic again. Sorry, Norman - I know you kindly said it's not the BBC, but even so...
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sat 01 Sep 2012, 22:23

Pocohantus - indeed - I'll take a humf, please bar tender -iced. I have not contributed to this thread because if one is honest then it perhaps reveals too much - dodecahedrons, Temp.... again. However, one of my fictional heroines has to be The Little Red Hen. So you were not far out ... a little red something just about fits, I guess.

As for being a role model, I failed today, again. It was better to dash out and find something to do in the kitchen than take on a grandson again who is being decidedly honest and very non PC whilst watching the current games through innocent eyes and not understanding the issues of classification; which I don't quite, either. A switch over to the X factor was no better when he wanted to know why all the judges said yes to rubbish singers.
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sat 01 Sep 2012, 23:12

I am not sure they are unexplored issues, Temp. This woman had had her mother in her home for the last 8 years and was obviously exhausted. I only knew the old woman as a sweet highly religious lady who copied out various bits of the Bible or kept interesting and sentimental snippets in scrapbooks and liked to give me a cup of tea if I visited. (I found her a little hard-going for half an hour.) The writer said, "We have all been challenged by our Mum's blind unbending faith". She mentions a large text that hung on the mantle piece saying '"Christ is the Head of this House, the unseen Guest at every meal, the silent Listener to every conversation.' Terrifying to small children who developmentally knew if anything went wrong it was because they were to blame."

Her mother also suffered from mental illness and spend years in hospitals and institutions with that and physical illnesses. So I think the family had quite a struggle and I feel a little unfair talking about them. I was just interested in her use of 'role modelling'. It was mostly a long thank you to people who had been close to her mother.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sat 01 Sep 2012, 23:38

Quote :
It was better to dash out and find something to do in the kitchen than take on a grandson again who is being decidedly honest and very non PC whilst watching the current games through innocent eyes and not understanding the issues of classification; which I don't quite, either.

Neither do I, in fact I can't decide whether, despite the high minded rhetoric, there's not something inherently patronising and condescending about the whole thing. The emphasis on 'back stories' just adds to this.

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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Sun 02 Sep 2012, 06:10

I agree ferval, patronising and condescending. I don't think it is their intention but the over the top fuss being made does give that impression. The athletes are just normal people afterall and I'm sure they'd prefer to be treated likewise.
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Mon 03 Sep 2012, 16:31

Caro mentioned Amanda, a would-be Olympian swimmer who had lessons to learn about ambition and pride and achievement.

The Olympics and Paralympics have left me very confused as to how we should view these sporting heroes and heroines - the new role models that London 2012 has offered up to us and to the world. As with everything, there seems to be a dark side to it all.

I've swung wildly over the past few weeks from cynicism to wild enthusiam (what I think ID called the fuzzy warmth we all experienced as we cheered ourselves hoarse for "Team GB") and now I'm back - not to cynicism exactly - but to a definite unease about the "legacy".

I've just read this from one of my (don't groan) counselling books ("Will I Ever be Good Enough - Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" by Dr. K McBride):

"The best way to teach a value system is to model it for your children. Show them that values matter by dealing with them and others honestly, kindly, compassionately, and with integrity...Use examples from the neighbourhood, television, movies, school and the daily news to discuss your values...Your love for your children needs to be based on who they are and not merely what they can do. As the daughter of a narcissistic mother, you were taught that what you did was more important than who you were, so you likely grew up feeling your parents did not even know the real you...Don't define them (children or grandchildren) by what they do (my son the football player; my daughter the ballet dancer). If you allow your children's self-esteem to be centred on their accomplishments, you are setting up another generation of achievement-dependent narcissists who have to be "stars" to feel good about themselves. Give them credit where credit is due whenever they realise their goals or visions. Let them know you are very proud of what they have done, but that you will love them just as much if they do not become CEOs or star basketball players."

Apologies for the great long quote (and there's another one coming up), but that made me very thoughtful, especially after reading in the Sunday Times yesterday the very disturbing extract from Victoria Pendleton's autobiography. Victoria is now very much a heroine and a role model. The extract was prefaced with "She is a cycling superstar. But, as her autobiography reveals, Victoria Pendleton was a 'fragile misfit' with a desperate desire to please her father and who used self-harm to escape her demons on the rise to glory." The piece continued with this heartbreaking paragraph:

"Dad rode away from me as we climbed the hill on a cold and drizzly Sunday morning in Bedfordshire. 'He doesn't love me,' I said to myself as I tried to keep up with the distant figure. 'He doesn't love me. He doesn't love me...'

I repeated the words over and over again as , never lifting my gaze from the unbreakable man on the bike climbing the steep hill, I turned my legs as fast as I could. I had to hang onto dad."

The unbreakable man. How awful. How many "heroes" and "heroines" are/were beset by demons, I wonder, as they rose to glory, sporting or otherwise. Perhaps the best role models are, after all, not superstars at all, but the ordinary people - who work hard, yes - but who are not the *driven* ones. But, as ever, I just don't know. And I suppose cycling or swimming or running or dancing to escape the demons is better than drink or drugs or getting involved in the crazy world of the fundamentalist religious fanatics. But not allowing the demons in - or creating them - in the first place is the really hard job. Easier said than done, whatever the counsellors advise.

I'm not sure if the Philip Larkin poem, "THis Be the Verse" is appropriate here, but I'll post a link for it anyway in a minute because it's so good.



PS Caro - I meant no disrespect to the lady you wrote about - I feel a bit bad about my response now. I did say that perhaps I was being unfair. Poor woman is probably - like us all - doing her best. Her own childhood sounds as if it was pretty grim.

PPS Priscilla - no dissing you either with Princess P. I chose her because she looked like a stong and no nonsense Princess. I didn't think you would appreciate being depicted as simpering and wearing a frilly, flouncy frock! Old Pocahontas seemed quite reasonable, as princesses go.


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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Mon 03 Sep 2012, 16:34

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Mon 03 Sep 2012, 19:35

A Walt Disney Silly Symphonies cartoon, "The Wise Little Hen", was based on the story of the excellent Little Red Hen.

This cartoon was important historically because it marked the debut of Donald Duck (another great hero) who appeared with his friend, Peter Pig.

DD and PP tried to skive off work by pretending to have tummy ache, but MS Hen teaches them the value of hard work.

Let us stop twirling and start clucking at once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoBF210i8rc
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Mon 03 Sep 2012, 22:54

I think a lot of achieving people in many different fields owe much to parents, either pushy ones, or ones prepared to put their own lives on hold while they support a talented child, or having the 'unbreakable' parent, or having a parent whose expectations are very high. If the children then do do extremely well, they may well congratulate themselves on a job well done, however the means may make the rest of us a little queasy. I read of one Chinese family who had not seen their eight-year-old daughter for a year, as she had been picked for something, probably gymnasstics. The father said rather sadly that their daughter didn't really belong to them any more.

I like Mavis Cheek's writing (though it is becoming a little too stridently feminist for me recently), and she gives a picture of achieving men (especially I am thinking of Brunel) whose success comes at the expense of any attention to the families, or even any indication that they think of their wives and children individually at all, just as sort of extension to their large egos.

But I wonder, too, if too great an acceptance of a child as they are brings a self-satisfaction that prohibits achievement. I am thinking very personally here: I was completely accepted as I was in my family, to the point where my father would come and wake my sister (a year younger than me) up and an hour later come and tell me it was time for me to get up, since I didn't like getting up early. We had chores to do, but they weren't harsh. And it may be my personality more than my upbringing, but I do feel a bit more pushing in childhood might have meant I made more use of my talents (and I was a very bright child) and done more with my life. I wonder if that is often the case, or perhaps a different child would find ambition however laid back and accepting their parents were.

I would always be the DD or PP in the story, or the duck, the pig and the cat in the original.

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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 04 Sep 2012, 00:16

Temp, I too have been through that whirl of emotions as sports engulfed a few days of my interest but am now suffering badly from flag fatigue and discomfort that I can't quite identify. Today the fog lifted a bit as I began to see the pyramid legion of support that all these champions must have had to reach the pinnacles of their success.; parents, friends,educators, sports specialists or doctors and carers - and fund raisers too - as well as the many volunteers who formulate the games to bring them fruition - and then there are the others who keep the games running in so many capacities.

I have friends whose daughter got an Oxford first. At the graduation, they were dismayed when she suddenly said ' I am really proud of myself - I did this all on my own, didn't I!' That family had given her tremendous support all her life - the father by taking lonely overseas postings to pay for the best of schools. They had taken few family holidays because their girls had so much they wanted to do and places they wanted to visit. Their home was filled with all the things that would enrich children's lives and mummy fought like a lioness for them if ever her children were crossed in endeavour or opportunity as well as devoting endless hours to helping with homework and later their research and so on. Yes, the girl had studied hard to get her first but the foundations for it were built for her long before.

... there is a postscript. The parents later refused to pay for the girl's enormous union bar bill she had presented them with--- because, as they reminded her, she had done that all on her own, too.
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 04 Sep 2012, 00:30

well done them I say… the first steps of growing up, a bit late though.
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PostSubject: Re: Hero or Role Model... what's the difference and who were yours?   Tue 04 Sep 2012, 05:59

@Priscilla wrote:
Temp, I too have been through that whirl of emotions as sports engulfed a few days of my interest but am now suffering badly from flag fatigue and discomfort that I can't quite identify.

Yes, coming down off that media driven high is discomforting, not unlike waking up sober the morning after a wild drunken party and remembering behaviour best left forgotten.

Caro, I'd go further and say almost every achiever owes family for their achievement. It is rare that anyone achieves success, in any field, without someone else (usually family) making the sacrifices to make it possible. There is, of course, the other end of the spectrum where an over achieving parent drives a child who lacks the ambition or talent to succeed, thus making the childs life a misery, but this is rare imo.

My husband has coached and trained a lot of children in football over the years, both in Aus and here, and the amount of children who have had the talent to play professional soccer but have lacked the ambition, disipline and family support to do the work necessary far exceeds those with the talent, ambition and support. It is a rare combination. His latest one is a 15yr boy who has so much promise that an Italtian agent (who works with two of the biggest Italian clubs) wanted to take him to Italy. His education, training etc would have been finished and paid for with quite a lucrative contract included. All the boy needed to do was improve in one area and a training programme was worked out for the months leading into the winter season and husband was willing to give up his own time, free of charge to work with him. After all that the child only bothered to turn up to one training session and was full of excuses for the ones missed, he is unappreciative, lazy and just not interested in doing the work. The parents aren't keen either and would rather he (a mediocre student at best) went to university instead and play football at a small local club. What do you do? Then there are those children who have all the will and ambition in the world and who lack the talent, those are the most difficult and saddest of all.
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