Don't scroll down for the answer just yet. Allow yourself to indulge in the build up.
For those of you that just did... you can't be trusted.
Looking back, I always thought that having someone to look up to as a child was essential to a specific part of my growth. That person could be: TIME's Most Influential Person, professional athlete, celebrity, or your grade school teacher. Whoever it may have been, the kid in us always spoke about and looked at that person in a certain "awe". We did this because in that moment of our carefree lives, they gave us a glimpse of the life we wanted or the person we wanted to become. For me, mine was always very specific.
My role model is the definition of loyal, dedicated, hard working, resilient, giving, selfless, patient, dope, a leader, and many many more. Yes, I am aware that that list may have been too long. Too many commas.
*insert shrug emoji*
At a young age, he grew up with many siblings without luxuries of life many people see. But every person in that household was taught to be great. Raised to be outstanding members of the society they lived in and will continue to grow up in. The first time I remember being able to sit down and chat with him (my role model) and others that grew up with him, I became aware of the person he was as he grew older. Mature at a young age with the older girls chasing him. A king. Popularity in high school, but not because of the characteristics portrayed in our movies today. Not the "care less about school work, only want to date the prettiest girl in school, play football, go to parties Steve" we always see. But popular because of the way he treated people, drew smiles from his peers, and respected those around him. Now I must admit, I was told that he did end up with "the prettiest girl in school." Lucky coincidence.
He went to college to pursue his business-like mindset. Graduated with a degree and that same girl on his arm. And continued to grow into a man that people strived to be liked. It was evident that he did this because that's who he was. Thats who he is. A man of true morals, who wants to become a better man, husband, father, and friend everyday.
He showed me Loyalty. Met his girlfriend in high school. Still together today. By watching them interact with each other, I noticed that they always put each other above the hustle and bustle of life. He showed love and care always, but the most noticeable moments were in times after hardship. An argument or disagreement. Loyal to one. Loyal always. He showed me that loyalty to those who actually show you loyalty, are worth it. He showed me through words and actions how to perceive loyalty. How to judge it. When it's true and when it's just "words".
He's shown me Dedication. Throughout my time of having the privilege to get to know him, I have always seen this. No matter the job, hobby, or activity he declared his priority to, dedication came through and through. From the corporate sector, to transitioning through personal adversity, to marathon runs, to T25 workouts. It shone through his relationships and friendships. Whatever was set out for him to do, whatever he said he wanted to do he did. Plain and simple. Hard-working also relates to this term. Everything listed above and more, was a result of hard work. Every success and every failure he has had, has been through nothing but hard work. Resiliency was one of the things I noticed most. Throughout all adversity, success, and failure, he never crumbled. He provided for his family and never showed an ounce of defeat. If it was hidden occasionally, I should add that he taught me subtly how to be a great actor, because it was never noticed. I don't think his family noticed either. Well, at least from conversations I have had with some of them.
He's shown me how to Give. He's given to charities he is passionate about. Whether that's giving his time or donations, he gives. Gives to those in need in the cold fall and winter months when people don't have places to sleep. He makes their bed at his church so that groups of people suffering the chill can have a warm place to rest their heads. He gives knowledge to those who seek it. He gives 100% to whatever task is at hand. Work related and personal.
He's shown me how to be Selfless. I remember him telling me a couple times that the world didn't revolve around me in times where I acted as if it did. Taught me that other people matter. I later realized that if the world did, indeed, revolve around me; we'd be screwed. I'm not cut out for that power nor does anyone have the energy to deal with that. His awareness for that fact about humanity was always certain. And still is.
He's shown me how to be Patient. Patience is one of his best attributes. With his work, his wife, and his kids. He's patient with others' ignorance and when others don't have the mental capacity to be just that. Watching him in times of stress or when people act in a way that he knows isn't anywhere near acceptable, is always eye opening. The calmness about him, with an absolutely understandable occasional outburst, was extraordinary growing up. Because who is he kidding, we're all human. This allowed him to observe situations in the correct manner and always come out on top. Something that I have been trying to master myself for some time, but still can't quite grasp the technique.
He's shown me how to be straight up Dope. The man is a dope human being. An athletic, smart, comedian that never found his way on a stand up special. He can interact with anybody as if they've been friends for years. He looks at life with an open mind that I hope I have been able to obtain as best as possible as I've grown up. He can dance like he doesn't care that people can see him. He doesn't care what people think about him or what he does. He unapologetically himself. And to me that's the dopest attribute any person can have. To truly love yourself, flaws and all. And continue to just not give a damn.
He's shown me how to be A Leader. A leader in life. Not even necessarily being the utmost leader of a team or group of people. A leader in the way I conduct myself. He isn't a CEO of his company, but people follow his actions and requests. Not because he is a superior or anything. But because they trust and respect the way he moves about the company and around his co-workers. He's a leader to his friends for the same reasons. And a leader as a father. Teaching his kids the rights and wrongs in life, knowing that they will fall down trying to perfect those. He leads by teaching them how to get back up. How to band-aid those scrapes, and keep pushing along the trail he worked so hard to build for them.
Some like to use the term "tip of the iceberg." Well, that's what that is. The tip of the iceberg characteristically of a man who has triumphed in all he has set out to do. A business partner, a husband, a father, and a friend. In his roller coaster of a life, he rarely ever wakes up without a smile on his face. And I'm pretty sure that's where I got my constant smile from. Because being a son to the best dad, friend, and role model one could have? Something's gotta give right? Some of those characteristics got to be passed down. I'm sure those who know me read this with knowledge of who my role model is. My dad is an amazing person. A constant support system with realistic teachings. Always told me how it is, even when I didn't want to hear it. He taught me how to be loving son. To always respect those who respect you. To always stay dreaming and working to achieve the highest of those dreams. To be the best man I could possibly be. To this day, I'm still working my tail off to do just that. The shoes I have to fill are huge, to be honest. It's hard to live up to a guy like him.
But it's worth every second.