April 1, 2011 - submitted by Jared, United States of America

I realize that this is a sort of personal question and if you don't answer I understand, but I just like to hear people's stories. So here goes: Who is someone that has really helped shaped who you are? Because none of us are without our role models and influences.

The Oracle replies:

That's a tougher question than on first look. My initial thought was 'my Mum' and not just because it's Mothers Day here in the UK this coming Sunday. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I told you that she's the most amazing woman I have ever met but I'd have to say that everyone I have ever met has probably in some way helped shape and mould me. Even re-shape in some cases. It's not just who, it's what; life's experiences both good and bad have helped shape who I am and I'm still expecting that to be the case even though I am very happy within my skin right now. Over to you...

This probably sounds really cliche and silly, but in my case that person is my boyfriend. It's been a process, though. We've been best friends for ages now, and ever since we first met he's always been the one person I know I can trust and will always be honest to me. When I was younger I was incredibly shy, to the point where I did not open my mouth unless I had thought about it at least three times, and of course by then it was too late to get it out. That of course, fed my insecurities, both physically and intellectually. It was only him I would sort of open up to, and then when we became a couple he began to push the subject, push me into actually talking about stuff. He would not give in. It was incredibly difficult and frustrating for us both, as I was so used to keeping my business to myself it was even physically difficult to just open my mouth, get words into sentences that spoke about feelings, thoughts, me, us. Yet he never gave up, he always made sure I knew he was there for me and no matter how much it would take me to get it out he would be there to listen. Now, 16 years after we became best friends, we are closer than ever and so different than when we first met it's almost ridiculous. But at least on my part, my transformation, confidence, self-esteem; it's all because of him. I'm not afraid to speak my mind anymore and I smile more than I ever did. Pris, Mexico

My friends are my role models, without a doubt. Some people might say their mom or dad, or perhaps their brother or sister. But when you think about it, you spend much more time with your friends than you do with your family (at least I do!). I choose my friends because of their personality and what we have in common. Nearly all of my friends exhibit something that we don't have in common... which can be a trait that I don't have. Several of my friends are extremely patient, which is sometimes not my strong point. They set an example for me, and it's something positive I can work on. Blake

My dad has helped shape who I am today. All my life he has taught me to wonder about the world, think about life, the universe and everything, and to see the good in people. I am a confident person, and I know I am that way because of him. Regardless of frustrating nonsense and potholes in the road of life, he has always been an excellent Poppa and has always put his family first.
I am thankful to him for making music such a big part of my life. While I was growing up he was always writing music and playing the piano. Music has always filled our home, and has led me to play piano as well, which is the one thing that I think brings me the most happiness. My dad is like my best friend- he is always there for me, always has good advice, and has always inspired me to become the best person I can be. I love you Dad! Thank you for taking me to see Coldplay! Allie

My mom, whether I, (being a teenager) wants to admit it or not, has really shaped me into who I am today. Not as much shaping as guiding me. Teaching me right from wrong and how to deal with my problems in a responsible way. I may not say it as often as I wish I to but I love her. Sarah.

A lot of people have had wonderful influences in my life and has shaped me, but I feel like a place has really made me who I am today. That place is Europe. I am from America and I travel there whenever possible. I was just in Berlin last weekend for two amazing concerts ;)
Ever since I have been traveling, It has made me a more strong, independent, and a smart person. It changed my life forever. In fact, I am working on moving there permanently, so my whole life is kinda surrounding that idea. Like going to school, saving money, learning languages. Europe is what keeps my battery running. Thank you for your question, It made me realize how much Europe actually meant to me! Caitlin.

I was 13 and had no clue what I was going to do with my life. My friend was playing on the piano and we both learned to play songs on it, one day he played Clocks, I had no clue who Coldplay was. Then another day he played The Scientist, and I'm like, "that's awesome" so I go on you tube and listen to some of Coldplay's songs, and I really liked their music. This ties into my role model by this, when I started to listen to the music and playing it on the piano I realized how much I enjoyed playing piano, so slowly ever since I have been picking up instruments and playing around with them and as of today in my room I have a full drum set, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboard, microphone, 8 way amp/mixer and a ukulele. I guess what I'm trying to say is Coldplay inspired me to want to be a musician I even have some songs written and wrote one for my middle school band. I look up to Coldplay for helping me find what I want to do in life. Timothy

My role model is probably my mom. A lot of people will say it, but it's true. My mom has been playing the saxophone for about 40 years and she got my into playing it. The music part of my life came from her and I believe what she has taught me, really stands out from her personality. She has taught me to believe in the music itself, and not just the notes on the page or the name of the composer in the top right hand corner, not even the title in the middle or the beats per minute, but how the music flows between your fingers and into the brain, teaching not only the sound, but the meaning of the music.
When she was a child, she received good grades, and so of course I do. Whatever she has accomplished in her ife, I feel that that's the right path, that's the way to go. When there is a time f trouble, everyone looks to her and she knows what to do. No matter what, you can count on her and her wisdom, courage, and kindness. She is what she is, and no one can change it. Bailes E.

I hadn't thought about this in quite some time, so it's been nice revisiting my favorite role model. My grandmother is that person. Mary was one of only four women in her graduating class in medical school in 1936. She worked as a physician and had her first of three children while her husband was serving in WWII. In the 1950s she was permanently maimed in a head-on car accident that should have outright killed her. Mary spent 10 months in traction in a hospital bed, and when she got out, she returned to school to get her specialty training in anesthesiology. I think she saw her surviving the crash as gravy, and she lived each of her remaining days as if they were gifts. My grandma had a wonderful sense of humor, and this ability to see the funny in just about any situation got her through some dark times. I didn't follow in her footsteps professionally, yet her humor, amazing work ethic, and limitless compassion for others still inspire me today. Miss you Grandma! Aimee

Yes it is true that we cannot be who we are now without the figures we look up too. We're constantly changing in life but in the end, we all have at least 1 person we would like to be. Me personally I look up to Chris Martin; not because he is the lead singer of Coldplay, but rather for his expressive side. If you've seen the way he performs Fix You during the Viva la Vida Tour in Japan you'll see what I mean. Billy N.

Many people have influenced me, but I think one of the biggest influences on me was an old youth pastor by the name of Joe. One winter, we went on a ski trip, and on our last night, Joe was skiing and hit a tree. They had to airlift him out of the resort. He had broken his neck and they said he was just lucky not to be paralyzed. Maybe you remember about four or five years ago when there were many miners in West Virginia injured. Joe was put in the hospital down the hall from those rescued. The doctors said that Joe would not make a full recovery and that any recovery would take up to 18-24 months. Joe should have been very upset about this. I know many who would be. He never once worried about himself. As soon as he was able, he had a nurse get him in a wheel chair to wheel him around to the miners, so that he could try and offer relief and comfort to the miners and their families. He did not request that people send him cards, flowers or gifts. He asked that he get sent bibles and other things to take to those in the hospital. His concern was for others, even during a very difficult part of his life. Later, he would say that he was supposed to hit that tree, so that he could be there for those in need. Joe made a full recovery in less than year. Joe taught me that no matter how bad our lot in life, we can always find a way to make a difference. He taught me to keep hoping for the best no matter what the situation. And he taught me to love others under all circumstances. Jared

Thank you for sharing your stories this week - including on this occasion, Jared our asker. Please do join in and submit your replies.
Click to read this week's Team Oracle question, and send us your answer.