2,000 respondents reveal how their role models inspire them to pursue lifelong learning, higher education
You sit down at the kitchen table, exhausted after a long day at work. Dinner has been cleared, the dishes done, the house is settling down for the night. But not you, you’re getting back to work. You open up your laptop to start on today’s assignment, the next step toward getting your degree.
For many working adults going back to school, this is the process of reaching career goals. But what do your children see in this moment? Most likely, their role model.
Parents serving as a role model to their children can make a profound impact in promoting the importance of education, according to a recent survey of 2,000 Americans about their role models, conducted by OnePoll for University of Phoenix. The survey found that most of us have at least one role model who has influenced our major life decisions – a big one being the idea to pursue education. About three-fourths, believe young people’s perception of education is influenced by their role model.
According to the survey, a role model’s impact goes beyond perception and sometimes can even affect the decision to make education a priority. In fact, of the 74 percent of the respondents who said that they have had a role model, 55 percent said that their role model motivated them to pursue higher education. Even more respondents shared that their role model encouraged them to continue learning beyond the classroom. Eighty-six percent said that their role model encouraged them to be a lifelong learner.
University Provost Dr. John Woods said he hears from UOPX students all the time about the impact their studies have on their kids.
“I’ve heard from many University of Phoenix students that when they sat down to do their homework, often times their kids would be watching them do it,” Woods said. “And then they’d go to their backpacks and pull out their homework and come back and sit right next to them at the table, working on their homework together.”
In fact, Dr. Woods said that when parents go back to school, their kids are much more likely to pursue a higher education themselves. If one of your parents is a college graduate, he said you are nearly twice as likely to earn your degree.
Role models can affect other areas of our lives as well. Another finding from the survey highlights the importance of role models being involved in their community. Of the 56 percent of respondents who believe they are a role model for others, most believe they have become a role model because they are making a difference in their local community.
“What I am doing, I am helping other people reach their dreams and goals. And the ability to do it is because I took the time to invest in myself to be able to help others.”
— Wade Stewart, MBA UOPX 2009
That’s true for Wade Stewart, who earned his MBA from UOPX in 2009 while working full time and just starting his family. Now, Stewart is a senior sales executive for Builders Capital, working with private capital totaling that primarily funds land development, new houses, multiplexes, apartments or other commercial buildings. His kids are 10 and 12 now, and they have seen him use his education to enhance his education and help others.
He says his kids see him in a leadership role, which they have emulated, whether it is in their giving nature or eagerness to stop what they’re doing and lend a hand whenever Stewart needs help around the house. Giving back is part of Stewart’s moral code. He said he didn’t get a degree just to get a degree. And he isn’t doing business just to do business.
“What I am doing, I am helping other people reach their dreams and goals,” Stewart said. “And the ability to do it is because I took the time to invest in myself to be able to help others.”
Stewart tells his kids that we are designed to do good things, to stretch ourselves to do bigger things. He tells them we are here to go out and spread love and make positive changes in other people’s lives. But before you can successfully do that, he tells them that they need the right experiences—education being one of the most important.
At 10- and 12-years old Stewart’s children are already modeling his leadership skills in their own actions. He said his daughter is a natural leader who is helpful and giving, and his son is the first to put down the Xbox controller to lend a hand whenever anyone needs help.
The fact that Stewart is one of their role models isn’t surprising, given the fact that most role models have something in common with their mentor. The person most likely to be a role model, according to the survey respondents, is Dad.