I remember playing football in the fourth grade every recess. It was twenty minutes of my time during a long day of learning; but, for those glorious minutes, I was Cris Carter, John Elway, and Thurman Thomas, all in one. The games resembled nothing like a real football game, but my friends and I had fun. We all dreamed of catching the game-winning touchdown on Super Bowl Sunday that won our team the championship. During football season, I would watch every game that I could, and even go to some Arizona Cardinals games with my dad. On Monday, back at school, we would talk about the amazing plays and prepare to take the field as our favorite players, our role models. Their skills were envied by all, and we wished we could be like them. These NFL superstars did not know who I was, but I looked up to them.
As I grew older, I no longer looked to the television for my role models because I started to find them in my life. I realized that the people I held on a pedestal were no longer great football players, but people who had changed my life. I started to look up to my teachers, coaches, and parents. When the time came, the older Scouts in my troop became my role models. I had no older brother to look up to or to guide me, so I watched the older Scouts instead. Those were the guys I wished I could be like when I grew up.
During my first summer camp, the Senior Patrol Leader was my former Den Chief. I had known him for sometime, and wanted to be where he stood during role call one day. I watched how he led the troop, worked towards perfect campsite inspection everyday, and how he journeyed out on his own to become a Solo Hiker, a camp tradition.
Four years later, it was my turn to serve as Senior Patrol Leader. I worked hard to make sure the campsite was ready to go for inspection every morning, and I tried my best to lead the troop to the Big "G" Gold, the highest troop rating at summer camp. I also journeyed out into the woods to find a small box on my solo hike, as my former Den Chief had done.
Today, my role models are people I know; they are my friends. I look up to those around me because I see the challenges they face, and learn from the actions they take. I have learned more from my real-life role models then I ever could from a NFL superstar.
Being a role model is something that we are all called to be. You will never realize how much influence you have on other people or how many lives you impact. I no longer dream of NFL glory, but the idea of being a role model has never faded away.