「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Finding role models

By Deborah Davidson


Good role models are hard to find. Do you have one? Maybe your role model is a parent or grandparent. Maybe it is your boss at work or a teacher at your school. Maybe your role model is a historical figure from long ago.

When I was a child, I didn't look forward to growing up. I thought becoming an adult would be boring and stressful. I didn't know any adults who seemed to really enjoy life. Of course, I knew that I could not remain a child forever, and that made me sad.

I was 15 years old when I found a role model that made me eager to become an adult. I was no longer a child, but I was not quite grown up. It happened in a small town in southern Hokkaido called Setana. I went to Setana to work as a volunteer laborer for a group of young and struggling dairy farmers. It was an interesting and useful way to spend part of my summer vacation.

The young dairy farmers in Setana worked harder than anyone I had ever known. Back then, they were too poor to have many farm machines. From raising dairy cows to burning fields in preparation for planting, harvesting and storing hay and alfalfa, they did all the work by hand. It was the hardest physical labor I have ever experienced.

At the end of one exhausting day, I was told to patch the holes in my rubber work boots. They had been slashed by the sharp stems of bamboo grass when we were clearing the fields. I began cutting round or square patches from spare pieces of rubber. The farmer, who must have been even more exhausted than I, was cutting patches for his own boots into crescent moons, stars and hearts.

I suddenly realized that becoming an adult with adult responsibilities didn't have to mean a life of drudgery. On the contrary, it was possible to be playful and joyful even during the most difficult times. That day I found a role model for the kind of adult I wanted to become. I began to look forward to the challenges of adult life with humor, curiosity and a creative mind.

Many decades have passed since that day. I found new role models for the different stages of my life, including models for how to raise children, how to grow old and how to prepare for death. I found role models among the living and I found role models from the ancient past. Someday, somewhere, maybe I can become a role model for the people who come after me.



The Japan Times ST: May 19, 2017

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2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版