My friend Randy recently walked into a room with several individuals that had not seen him for several years. Numerous of these individuals commented on how much he looked like his late father, Chuck. Later, one told me, “I couldn’t believe my eyes when Randy walked in. He looks exactly like his Dad.” You could tell by their comments that they had admired Chuck and respected him as a man and as a friend. And, they could see many of these positive attributes in Randy.
As I thought about this man’s comments about Randy, I concluded there are three key ways we can model someone else and how, when we pause to consider them, this understanding can help us become a better person:
Look like your Dad
I have heard the same things many times in my life about looking like my Dad*. It seems that, as we age, genetics take over and we assume the physical appearance of our parents. We tend to have a similar size, shape, and structure as others in our genealogical line. However, people often assume that, just because you look like your Dad, you have the same personality, actions, and character that he possessed. Not necessarily true! It is often a burden to become that unique individual that you are.
I am always flattered when someone says that I look like my Dad. He was a handsome man. I have come to realize, though, that your physical resemblance to someone is much less important that other attributes.
Act like your Dad
I am blessed with seven grandchildren. And, there are times when I see their parents in each of them. Their expressions, mannerisms, and actions often remind me of one or both of their parents. Children often mimic their parents even without trying. They see how their parents act and copy them. For a grandparent, this is funny to watch.
However, our prisons are full of people that, unfortunately, have continued the negative actions modeled by their parents. Finding and copying a role model is not always positive. If your Dad was a man of character, findings ways to act like him is something we often do throughout our lifetime.
Be like your Dad
The greatest honor you can bestow someone that you look like is to “be” like them. I have always wanted to be the man of character modeled by my Dad. I can look like him and even act like him, but the best I can do is to be like him in the ways I live, by how I treat others, and by how I contribute to society.
An individual may be given a measure of respect simply because he/she looks so much like someone that had integrity and was respected. But, your own life – what you do, say, give, and express – defines your own measure of integrity and character.
There is also another aspect of this that impacts me. I know that, whether I choose it or not, my children and grandchildren will likely copy some of what I model in my own life. They see me for who I really am, so living a life that is worthy to be copied is a daunting task.
So, at the end of it all, I would rather be a man of character than merely look like one. Though I am proud that some say I look like my Dad, one of my hopes in life is that my actions and my life might reflect the wonderful man of character that epitomized him.
Today, someone is copying you. What kind of man or woman will they be if they become just like you?
* For the sake of this discussion, I am using my likeness with my Dad as an example. Many women look exactly like their mothers. Some even look like their Dads. The point is the same… it is good to look like someone that you love and respect, but it is much better if your life reflects their character and honor.