To my foster students: A few words on role models

Ms. Hernandez’s Journal for August 27, 2013

I’m the oldest of 3 in my family. I’ve never had a big brother or sister to look out for me. But when I was in grade school, I had a role model. I wanted to be just like my older cousin. She was and still is beautiful and intelligent. Everyone always praised her and I thought she was perfect. But we all know that there isn’t a human being out there who’s perfect. Like all of us, she made mistakes. I won’t lie; she let me down.  In high school, there was nobody I admired really. It was just me, pushing my way through the four years before I left the suburbs of Chicago. I worked hard, but I didn’t have direction. There was no one in my family to show me the ropes. My mother and father also worked hard, but their lives and opportunities were limited by the English that they knew. Both of them came from Mexico and they worked diligently to overcome many obstacles including racial prejudice and a limited education. Neither of them had gone through the education system in the United States.

It wasn’t until I went to College that I learned about someone named Jesus. It was in part his character that drew me to him. He taught about forgiveness and kindness. He taught about giving to others out of a generous heart and about owning up and turning away from your mistakes and errors. He taught me mostly that I am bigger than the mistakes I have made in the past. For this reason, he is my biggest role model, and I want to be just like him. I don’t intend that this be a religious discussion. Jesus of Nazareth is among many things a very important historical figure. I have my beliefs and you have your own. However, I do want to emphasize that your role model must change the way you see the world. He or she must be making a positive impact. But remember that people do make mistakes. Just like I do. Just like you do. Be ready and willing to forgive, because no human being is perfect. Lastly, become someone that serves as a role model. Whether it’s to a younger brother or sister, cousin, friend, whomever, become that person who shows exceptional character.