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Have you ever used the words role model and mentor interchangeably? Or do they mean the same to you? Has it also ever occurred to you that there is a distinct difference between the two words? Do you think they wield any power on people’s lives in today’s world? Well, this article hopes to answer all these questions and help you understand the importance of mentors and role models in the life of a child.

Mentoring according to The Balance, consists of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. Thus, the mentor becomes a source of wisdom, teaching, and support to the mentee.

Mentors, in other words, are ‘’lifeguards” in charge of ensuring that one makes informed decisions regarding important life choices. There are many types of mentors. They are usually selected based on the purpose we want them to serve in our life. Examples of mentors include professional mentors, academic mentors, and spiritual mentors.

Mentors are usually outstanding individuals with a wealth of experience to share with others. The purpose of mentorship is to help a mentee grow and develop by sharing relevant on- the- job or important life lessons with their mentees. In addition, the relationship between a mentor and mentee is usually personal.

A role model on the other hand according to is a person other people look up to in order to help determine appropriate behaviours. Role models can be either positive or negative. Positive role models offer a range of helpful or useful behaviours. Negative role models, on the other hand, offer examples of harmful or disruptive behaviours.

Anyone can be a role a model, but in most cases, role models are usually public figures who have made a mark in their chosen fields or endeavours. Common examples of role models include actors, musician, politicians, athletes, businessman, teachers, etc.

Role models, generally speaking, do not have to be people you know, nor do they have to know you. They can be looked upon, admired, and emulated from afar. Mentors, on the other hand, are like personal role models. More formally, we can state that mentors are trusted individuals with experience and wisdom (Source:

Most people tend to select mentors or role models when they are older but it is important for parents to speak to their children about having role models and mentors. As a parent you are indirectly your child’s first role model therefore your life must be lived in a way that influences your child positively.

In other words, mentors are people one knows in real life and are very personal while role models may not be known to a person.

Mentors and role models wield a lot of power and influence over people, especially children whether we choose to accept it or not.

In selecting positive role models for your child, you could ask your child to identify people who they think inspires them. You could also make a few suggestions of people whose lifestyle are worthy of emulation.

Mentors and role models mirror people’s dreams and life ambitions. Thus, it is important to select someone who is an embodiment of what your child hopes to become.

They also directly or indirectly influence your child with their actions and appearances. Hence, your child’s role model or mentor must be someone your child aspires to become in all aspect of life.

They also indirectly or directly empower people to make important life-changing decisions. For instance, if your child’s mentor or role model is a president, there is a chance your child might choose a profession in politics.

The responsibility falls on you as a parent to ensure your child has a positive pool of role models and mentors to choose from. Guide them through the selection process with advice and suggestions.

December 4, 2019


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