Parental Influence: Shaping Lives Through Role Modeling and Education

One of the greatest titles on can have in this world is parent. Being a parent is one of the greatest responsibilities that one can possess in this world. However, with great responsibility comes great pressure and sacrifice. Parents are the ultimate role model for their children. Every word, movement, action and behaviour has an effect on children. No other person, from friends to outsiders, can have a greater impact on children than parents themselves. Born A Crime is an autobiography by Trevor Noah—a great writer, producer, comedian, and also a television host.

In the book, it can be seen how his mom, Patricia Noah, influences and inspires him to be the person he is now. His mother was fearless and independent. She was trained as a secretary even though black women are excluded from apartheid. She gave birth to Trevor even though apartheid stated two people of different races should never be involved in a sexual relationship, especially black and white people.

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She brought Trevor and his brother to church every Sunday, rain or shine. She is very distinctive unlike other women in the book who are traditional and accept their fate. She is dedicated to showing Trevor the possibilities that seem out of reach for someone of their family’s class status, not to mention race, in South Africa; she does this by encouraging him to read voraciously, teaching him English as a first language, and taking him on trips. She beat Trevor to teach him lessons about the world’s ruthlessness towards men of color.

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How did Patricia play her role of being a mother? How did her parenting style shape and aspire Trevor? His mother was an exceptional role model to Trevor and showed him traits of being resistant, strong-willed and also receptive to incidents that are not easily accepted by others. like treating women with respect and equal rights which was not taught in their culture before these traits later result shape Trevor into a fine, successful man with great manners and shows astonishing quality.

First of all, Patricia believes that people should educate kids to resist their fate by teaching them not to let others’ perception of life limit their imagination. I agree with that too. Parents nowadays always educate their kids to accept what is given to them, so the kids would not end up being rebellious and breaking the law in the future. However, I believe this is a wrong parenting style. Like stated in the book by Trevor Noah, “ We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited”(43). Trevor argues that how big can your dream is, is depending on what kind of family background and believes you were brought up and surrounded by. In other words, he means one can only dream big if one were taught and learned about how there is no limitation on imagination. All these requires parents to teach kids to be audacious, fearless to dream and to do things even when there is no one who did first, even when no one who agrees that what you were doing were right. Parents should be like Trevor’s mom letting him know that imagination is one of the keys to living life on a new level. In the book, Trevor showed how his mom raised him to be bold, “My mom raised me as if there were no limitations on where I could go or what I could do. When I look back I realize she raised me like a white kid—not white culturally, but in the sense of believing that the world was my oyster, that I should speak up for myself, that my ideas and thoughts and decisions mattered.” (56).

She does that for a reason. Raising him to learn there is no limitation in this world and teaching him to be resistance is her way of giving him a fishing rod so he has the ability to live on his own when she is not around. She wanted him to learn to have questions for the system when it is not right for him instead of following it blindly so he would not be limited by his capabilities and imagination. That is her way of teaching him to be resistance and it turned out to be wonderful. I believe all parents should teach kids to be courageous and to resist boundaries that are trying to limit their imagination that prevent them to live a better life and be a better person. Even though it will be a tough fight but it will be worth it as a man with no imagination has no wings. Because limited imagination are unable to motivate you to take action in order to move in the direction of your dreams.

Next, parents are more likely to encourage their kids when they themselve are showing the traits that they want their kids to learn. For example, Patricia is a strong willed women. As we can see in the book, she insist on going to the church every Sunday even if she had to take the minibus that would be very troublesome yet she still never give-back. In the book, a quote shows that Trevor was influenced by his mom’s iron-will, “I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don't hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.”( 87). In the book, Trevor’s mom taught him to be strong-willed and not back down even when facing the worst case scenario. She taught him by showing him this quality in everyday life. I think Trevor was able to obtain this trait from his mother was because her mother was showing him how to be strong-willed.

In addition, people believe that children are able to grow up to become a fine adult when parents are tough in educating them while growing up and I agree with that. For instance, Patricia was tough on disciplining Trevor especially in his early age which result in Trevor becoming respectful, chivalrous and a well educated young man. However, sometimes parents being tough on kids will result in children hating and being impatient with their parents take Trevor as an example. Trevor in “Born A Crime”, had this thought about his mom being really aggravating and he felt irritated and incensed by her words and actions. His once said “ my mom was forever trying to rein me in.” (80) It can been seen as he started acting rebellious. This was later known by his mom. His mom stated that, “I know you see me as some crazy old bitch nagging at you,' she said, 'but you forget the reason I ride you so hard and give you so much shit is because I love you. Everything I have ever done I've done from a place of love. If I don't punish you, the world will punish you even worse. The world doesn't love you. If the police get you, the police don't love you. When I beat you, I'm trying to save you. When they beat you, they're trying to kill you.” (109). It’s clear to us that Patricia way of loving and educating Trevor was by punishing Trevor from little mistake so in the future Trevor won’t repeat the same mistake in the society to prevent him for getting the punishment that are deadlier than hers. It was for the best even if it took Trevor to hate her and I see eye to eye with Patricia. Being harsh on him is the only and best way for Trevor to grow fast. Nobody is born strong. People grow stronger little by little when being taught and prepare for the worst. Tough time don’t last but toughness will remain in us even when the storm and rain is over. Every parent wants to do what’s best for their child same goes for Patricia and in the end Trevor did recognize the effort of his mom and was able to understand how far a mother would do for their child even if it means dying to protect her child . However, it is important for us to know tough on disciplining your child and abusing your child is totally different. The best example would be Abel, Patricia’s boyfriend and later turn out to be Trevor’s stepfather. He was the accurate example of just being violent and abusive with no reason behind it. He was a drunkard, an alcoholic, a bad father and husband. He would hit Trevor constantly just because he felt like it there is no meaningful reason behind it. This kind of parenting is wrong. There should always be a reason behind your action and words to a child as it would leave a traumatic memory to them. To conclude, parents words and actions have power in children so use them wisely.

Last but not least, Patricia believe that equality and respect should be given to women and she taught Trevor that which I side her with that. Patricia will constantly remind Trevor on being respectful to women and treat them with love as she herself is a feminist and feel the urge of teach him that. It can be seen in the book ,Trevor was lectured by his mom on how to treat a woman right. He stated, “ I’d walk through the house on the way to my room and say, “Hey, Mom” without glancing up. She’d say, “No, Trevor! You look at me. You acknowledge me. Show me that I exist to you, because the way you treat me is the way you will treat your woman. Women like to be noticed. Come and acknowledge me and let me know that you see me. Don’t just see me when you need something.” (78 ) Her mom was dedicated to teach him right because she wanted him to be a gentleman and most importantly have an open mindset and to not stick with the traditional believe in women at that time. I believe it is important for Patricia to teach him that because she wants and hopes for an environment or society that wipe out gender imbalance so boys and girls are equal in terms of status and power as they grow up. She also wants him to learn to be grateful for women.Which I agree to that because if a boy can’t learn to respect the women who works hard all day to take care of him, I would have doubts in him whether is he capable of feeling there's anything wrong with jeering or harassing a stranger? Parents should all follow Patricia example and teach their children to respect women. The world will not change for women until we make changes on how men are educated growing up.

Everyone has their different opinions on what is essential for parenting. For me, I would go along with Patricia which are serving as a good role model for the children, show good traits to the children and being tough on them. She shows stupendous elements on what it takes and how to become a good parent. We know her parenting is a success by how his son, Trevor had turn out now. A fine, successful man with great manners and show astonishing quality. However, every parents have a different parenting style and I do not object their way of educating their children as the ultimate goal share by the parents are all the same. It is to give the child the best thing the could ever offer and hoping them to succeed. But just to remind parent out there, your kids watch you for a living. It is just what they do. That is why it is important to try your best to be a good role model for your kids. Lastly, make sure to educate children from young as it is easier to build up a child than to repair as an adult. To conclude, parents’ love is the most purest love you can find on this earth. The depth of love of parents for their children cannot be measured. It is like no other relationship. I said that because parental love is the only love that is truly selfless, unconditional and forgiving.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Parental Influence: Shaping Lives Through Role Modeling and Education. (2021, Jan 29). Retrieved from

Parental Influence: Shaping Lives Through Role Modeling and Education essay
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