Parenting And Role Models = Positive Ambition And Success
April 23, 2013

Parenting And Role Models = Positive Ambition And Success

I was a very lucky child. I had parents who supported my endeavors as well as provided me with role models to live up to. My mother was a professional woman, the bread winner in my family. She taught me to always exceed my goals and to not let anything get in the way of those. She pioneered my desires to be a professional woman myself. My father was a stay-at-home dad who taught me that gender roles had no role in my life. I could do whatever I wanted and so could my brothers. Both supported and encouraged me in ways that were not pushy, overbearing, or demanding. They were fantastic role models, parents, and teachers.

According to’s latest study, people who had a good role model growing up and healthy parental encouragement have a healthier attitude and approach to ambition and success as adults. As far as I can tell, that is true, at least in my case. Through my parents’ love, support, and examples I learned that no barriers should prevent me. found that those who had both a role model and supportive parents are more likely to:

  • Be driven to succeed
  • Be very ambitious
  • Persist in the face of obstacles
  • Aspire to achieve great things, both in their personal and professional life (e.g. achieve top honors, aim for highest education level, strive to be a good partner/parent)
  • Believe in themselves and in their ability to succeed

I think that most of my friends, family, and colleagues would confirm that these describe me almost perfectly. I think the fact that my supportive parents were my role models may have impacted me even greater. I did not have to look outside of my home to find role models worthy of living up to.

As Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests, said, “People who grow up in this type of environment do still have their troubles and failures…They just refuse to give up. For example, 66% of individuals who had supportive parents and a good role model said that they still have moments of self-doubt – but are able to swallow their fears and push forward. Forty-five percent said that when faced with obstacles, they may be temporarily deterred, but will find a solution to get them back on track. Sixty percent reported that they get nervous when given an assignment that is above their current level of skill, but still find the challenge exciting and take it on. It’s this attitude of tenacity and determination that has been instilled in them that makes a difference – not simply the belief that success is the only thing that matters. It’s much more profound than that.”

These numbers definitely show that though individuals who had parents like mine and role models still feel all the same insecurities and worries, those do not prevent them from overcoming and succeeding. In fact, through their parent’s teaching and encouragement, they were better prepared to deal with such insecurities.

We should all want to provide our children with the discipline necessary to teach them right from wrong, good from evil, but we should do so in a way that is educational and supportive as opposed to distant and officious. When we can parent and rear our children in ways that encourage while also teach, we instill drive, ambition, persistence, aspirations, and beliefs in our children. All parents should want to be their children’s hero, a role model. If’s research helps this, then I’ll gladly blog about this study.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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