Sunday, August 9, 2009

I had a startling revelation the other day.

Jacob asked me my greatest female role model the other day. Naturally my mom came to my mind. Then my grandmas. Then my mother-in-law.

"Who else?" he wanted to know. I couldn't think of anyone. There are other women I admire, of course, but role models is a special term. I asked Jacob the same question.

Jacob's answers were similar.

But ask for male role models, and though our fathers would be mentioned as well, there are so many other male role models to pick from. The US presidents have all been men. In the Church, the prophets are always men. Yes, we have Relief Society presidents, but they change constantly, while you really get to know the twelve apostles.

Athletic role models are usually men. You don't want to model your life after most of the famous actresses (or actors, for that matter). Most famous business people, members of the military, scientists, politicians are men. Even literary figures and composers seem to be dominated by men.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I'm blown away by the impact you have by being a mother. Our perceptions of womanhood are so greatly influenced by our mothers, because there aren't nearly the other role models elsewhere like there are for men. Even the scriptures are mostly populated by men, heck, even Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are male. And the most famous woman in the scriptures (after Mary, maybe) was the one who listened to Satan and illegally ate the fruit, after all.

In our church, we often talk about how the priesthood is for men and motherhood is its counterpart. I used to think that seemed a little uneven, when men are fathers, as well. I'm seeing the power of motherhood in a whole different light, after Jacob asked me this question. It is really an underestimated role. I don't know, what do you guys think? Do you feel like there is a dearth of female role models? Please comment on who your role models are, male or female.


oh said...
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oh said...

Great question Kalli. The names that came immediately to my mind were very strong personalities. Strong women who led their nations in time of military conflict and political turmoil. Israel's Golda Meir and Great Britain's' Margaret Thatcher. I also thought of a Marie Cure, who was an outstanding role model of intellect and great personal sacrifice. Of course I also thought of family members. My mom. My sister Sue. But your comments caused me to reflect further. Who, besides family has influenced my life for good? And the answer came. Bee Jensen. Bee was right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. I can't imagine anyone more loving. She was a primary teacher, but much more. She smiled constantly, laughed easily, and praised everything you said or did. Even now I marvel at the sense of love and goodness that surrounded her. She made me feel important.

It is a reflection of our times that my initial thoughts went to political and professional accomplishments. That is where the world showers its accolades. We don't easily recognize the traditional role models of personal sacrifice, service, love, goodness, and yes humility that are the hallmarks of great people. Thanks for helping me remember women with those attributes. They are the true role models.

oh said...

Grandma C. doesn't know how to post, but here's what she wrote.
"When I was growing up in the Heber Third Ward, there were many amazing women. Not the small town type, but women with opinions and great insight. Mrs. Sander, the bishop's wife, constantly challenged us to become all we were meant to be. She wanted us to be culturally refined along with being spiritually inclined. Madelyn Wootton's mother had a gift of words and was called on constantly to speak in funerals, at wedding receptions, etc. I could go on and on about women I knew. That's the beauty of being raised in Heber and rubbing shoulders with them for so many years. Good things come to mind when the correct question is asked. Thanks for letting Jacob make me think as well."

Laura said...

Most of my role models are in my family as well. My mom, my mother-in-law, grandmothers, etc. One of my biggest non-family role models was my Early Childhood Teacher, Connie Logan. She believed in me and stood up to administrators who thought I would not be okay. She's my hero. My middle school orchestra director is one of the reasons I still play the violin.

Mother Teresa is also an amazing example of being so selfless and kind to others.

Basically, all my role models have been the motherly ones. I don't have a lot of other famous ones I can think of right now.

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