In life sometimes we are faced with the question: “who was a role model in our lives?” If it’s during a job interview, army, or family member’s wonder (mostly mothers) or maybe we just wonder for are selves. Who had an impact on our life? Do I have someone like that? Did I really change because of him/her? Douse he/she know they were my role model? Do they even know what they did (big or small) what impact/transformation it had on me and my life? I am proud to say I have had a couple of role models in my life, mainly my parents. The role model of this story though is not them. I would like to start my story with an unknown role model. I don’t know his name or who he is, but he played a major role in my life. This is his story of which he doesn’t even know of or that I remember it till today.
Let’s go back, way back to when I was a chilled no older then 10, my parents decided to take the family to a water park for some vacation (might have been Disney Land, can’t remember). It was an amazing and magical day, the type of rides at the park were endless, the environment with the people was breath taking, Disney figures standing there in reality to take a picture with, as a kid I was in heaven. As the day went on by my eye got coat on a water slide that I immediately wanted to go on. Now this slide was one of the bigger water slides in the park, and my dad agreed to go with me. Now as we American’s know before every ride there was the ride ‘bouncer’ (that’s what I call them). For those of you that have never been to a big park in the stats, it’s a man that stands at the beginning of the line and seas if you are tall enough to go on the ride. It turned out that I happened to be right under the line, I was so disappointed and he saw it on my face. He gave me a good long look and said “hey kid” I looked up, “can you swim?” (Me looking back now I’m thinking seriously! That’s what you’re asking a kid?) I was dying to go on this ride. Of course I said “yes”!! Not thinking about why he would ask me that, I knew how to swim (I really did).
Making my way up the stairs to the ride, I notice this ride is a little higher then I had expected. But no matter the height I was determined to go down it. Made it to the top, was next in line, than was told by the lifeguard to get ready. I sat down in the starting position, the lifeguard put his hands on my back and said: “one…two…th”… with a great push I was off. The whole way down I was having a blast, the turns, the water under me, the flips, the twirls all of it. Then came the moment I didn’t anticipate, the drop. Reminding you I was a 10 year old kid, so I may be a little Exaggerating but the drop was at least 100,000 feet. All I remember from the drop was nothing. I was not ready for that drop and the next thing I remember was understanding that I was under water. I can’t tell you how long I was under, but it felt forever. Now you may be asking yourself: ‘where this kids parents are?’ and if my mom is reading this she for sure asked herself by now, “where was I in this story?”. Well I’ll tell you, my dad was next in line to go down after me, so he was back on top. My mom was with my younger and older siblings somewhere else in the park.
So back to our story, still under the water level I tried as hard as I could to tell my hands and my feet to move, but nothing. They stayed still and I floated like a dead fish in the sea. I was having what we call a ‘panic attack’. All I could do was watch me slip deeper and deeper under the water. I seriously can’t remember how long I was like that, but the next thing I remembered was a hand grabbing me and pulling me up out of the water. I grasped for air as I was walked back to the ‘shore’ by some person. I sat there for a couple of seconds and only after calming down, and my dad joining me did I realize it was a lifeguard who rescued me. It was the first time I came across this job. Looking at him, he was so calm and cool sitting there in his high chair like nothing happened. I was shocked, what he did for me was amazing and he goes back to sit there like it never happened. It was that day I swore I would become a lifeguard.
The biggest role models in my life are my parents. Their life surrounds around giving, helping and asking for nothing in return. There the type of people that do the things we feel uncomfortable to do and try to avoid, even though it’s the right thing to. They never have or had a problem helping anyone and everyone, no matter how much they have on their plates already. And speaking of plates there is always room for one more at our Shabbos table (Jewish, non- Jewish it doesn’t matter). It’s mostly because of them I am who I am today. I may have decided to become a lifeguard because of that one act as a kid, but it was my parent’s characteristics and their roles in my life, that brought me to where I am today.
Today, with the right training, courses, and years in the field I am a licensed lifeguard instructor, a Water Safety Instructor and the head of a water front at a summer camp. Today I can proudly say I have had a couple of saves of my own, under my watch and supervision and all of them where thank god not to serious. I love what I do even though it’s a lot of responsibility on one person; the job has taught me skills I need in life, in and out of the water. And it all started from that one moment many years ago. Now you and I can/can’t decide to be a role model, the beauty of this position is it happens whether we like it or not. It’s not a goal most people have in their life (even though there are those who do). But you must realize the things you do in this life can echo in eternity.
Now let me ask you: “who was your role model?”