Leading the Way
One issue that occasionally pops up in sports today is whether or not professional athletes are role models. Former basketball great and NBA analyst Charles Barkley doesn't think so. “I ain't no role model,” he said once. “If kids are looking up to me to be their role model, they're looking in the wrong place. Their mommy and daddy—that's who their role models are.”
Whether you think pro athletes are role models or not, Barkley definitely has got it right. A child's most influential role models are his father and mother. Babies and children are like little sponges, mimicking the habits and behavior of the people who are around them the most. A child first learns from his parents, siblings, and extended family, while the other influences on his life—television, school, peers—come later.
This realization will hit home to you most powerfully at some point after the baby is born. He will be putting up a squawk about something—it's always something—and you will hear a familiar inflection in his voice. Or he will crinkle his nose, or move his hands in a certain way, and you will think, “Hey, that's me. That is what I do.” You were not consciously teaching him how to do this, and yet he picked it up by watching you and being around you.