I Wanna Be a Role Model Who Makes Mistakes

Gizem Saruhan
3 min readJun 11, 2023
Photo by Pandav Tank on Unsplash

Let’s start with icebreakers. Who is your role model? Are you sure? Please think more. Why they are your role model? Do they have the personality you want to have? Or a job, money, vision, or power? What does your role model look like? Seems perfect or broken?

In my observation, people choose experienced people as role models for themselves. And I believe that people also choose role models because of their excellence. Is it makes sense?

Time and our failures make us perfect. Being perfect does not equal being a masterpiece. The masterpieces don’t have any life experiences, they are not broken, and they seem too clear. My role model looks like my grandparents’ house’s carpet. Not a masterpiece in the showroom.

If you want to be a carpet that has been used for many years, you have to be completely present and give your effort in that process. Just as our genes are passed down from generation to generation, our behavior spreads to the people around us. And if we’ll be good role models, we also develop future generations.

If you can’t affect anyone positively, don’t worry. You can improve yourself, you could be a different person. Ok, how? Let’s get back. We have neural networks in our brains that control our bodies, emotions, and behaviors -wow!-. These neural networks are developed by the behaviors we saw or heard from others, especially from our family or best friends (or role models).

And, are you ready to magic?

Yes, our neural networks have already been developed when we were a child BUT we can change them! Surprise! Let me introduce you, it’s neuroplasticity (which is magic I mentioned before). As we created our neural paths before, we can do this again with different behaviors. If you are wrong and aware and want to change, you can show the right behaviors again and again. After that, your neural links start to redesign. Ofc, it’s a process and takes lots of time. But, you’ll have your new personality at the end of the process. Like domino rocks. It should be ended.

A little sum: We can be the perfect role model with experiences, failures, and learnings. If we want to be a role models that will influence the next generations in a good way, we should be a challenger. If we act wrong, we can change our neural networks. If we agreed with that now, let’s get back to the main topic and continue: Being a challenger.

Did you watch any pool education videos for babies? The trainers drop the babies into the pool and observe what is going on. They don’t push the babies, they are there for support when they drop the babies into the pool at the same time. It’s named as a challenge.


We have a great point now. The difference between pushing and challenging. According to the Theraplay Theory, there are 4 core concepts for healthy growth; engagement dimension, nurture dimension, challenge dimension, and structure dimension. Theraplay therapists never advocate pushing. Just like swimming trainers, they always create an encouraging and supportive environment for difficulties. And, in my opinion, role modeling should be exactly like that!