Bad role models can lead to what?
It has been said that nature abhors a vacuum. Wherever there is emptiness, something must be stuffed (no parallels and snickers about my clutter problem please, that is an intervention for another post). I am of course, referring to the average role model of the modern child. I dread hearing my daughters sing along with the radio in the car, which is partly my fault for not locking the radio on Z88.3 and ducktaping over the other radio settings. Whether it is Lady Gaga, Brittany Spears, Taylor Swift… the lyrics simply aren’t appropriate and their not-so-private lives are conversation landmines. So far my daughters have not been interested in the personal lives of these characters, but I fear the day they decide to become fascinated with the people behind the catchy lyrics.
In order to prevent the spread of bad role models into my children’s lives I began a diligent effort to ensure there isn’t a vacuum where a hero should be. Sure, the vast majority of homeschoolers teach American History from a very positive and patriotic angle, but I have upped the ante. Not content to simply teach about the great George Washington, complex Thomas Jefferson, or wise Benjamin Franklin, I dove off the deep end. I began *gasp* researching my own family history. Can there be more accessible role models for children than their own ancestors? I searched high and low on my own before wising up and getting help and I can’t even express how much I appreciate the friends I made on my journey. My quest to find stories of my ancestors for the kids led me to connect with cousins from across the country and to join several organizations that truly value my skills (not just as a homeschool mom!) and provide awesome leadership training for my girls.
At the ripe old age of nine my oldest daughter has had some ups and downs. It feels like some days she is just the belle of the ball with her friends and the next day Igor wouldn’t even associate with her. I remember those days, how much it hurt and how confusing it was. It doesn’t help that my kid is a smart aleck. If I even tried to comfort her with some line from an American Girl book or George Washington’s life story, she would shoot me down in flames. What I can do is tell her the story of her 6th Great Grandfather, Colonel Hugh McGary, who traveled with Daniel Boone and fought in the American Revolution. I can tell her about her 7th Great Grandfather, Daniel Pitchford, who drove a supply wagon in Virginia for Colonel Creed Haskin’s Regiment. I can tell her the tales of the real, crazy, exciting, boring, hard lives her ancestors lived – and it isn’t a cliché from a blog or book. This fills a void in my daughter’s life; she knows she is here because of God and her ancestors and that she has a place in that proud line.
“Act in a manner that will bring honor upon your noble ancestors”, that is the summary of the yearly Convention Code of Conduct that governs a hotel full of kids under 18, filled with energy, sugar and enthusiasm. Is this a recipe for disaster? Not at all! Instead it is a time when every one of those kids gets a complement from the hotel staff or a fellow hotel guest on their behavior. Knowing where they come from and what they can accomplish is priceless. I don’t really have to worry about my girls’ role models; they will tell you about the older girls and moms who are gladly mentoring them. All because of a bit of research.
Kris VanNederynen is a homeschooling mom of two with a clutter problem and an addiction to research. Her favorite website is Family Search. If you are interested in learning more about genealogy please feel free to email her at KHVANNEDERYNEN@GMAIL.COM