The importance of role models vs charting our own paths
I am fascinated by the need for role models and the problems people have charting their own paths, either in life as a whole or in figuring out how to behave in certain situations. I am particularly interested in the latter when mores and customs shift - such as certain men not knowing how to behave with women after the advances of women's lib, or people who are lost without the rules of protocol for a specific event.
I may have been lucky in that my parents explained the reasons why we do certain things when it comes to manners and customs rather than just saying "that's the way it is", which seems to have made me more comfortable in rejecting certain traditions, but also in adapting to new situations. It's like knowing the steps to the gavotte and choosing free-style dancing instead.
So, do you prefer having the rules of conduct spelled out for you or do you simply operate from a basic foundation of treating people as you would wish to be treated?
Are you living your life to a particular template of what is or is not expected? Are there areas in which you find yourself freer or more constrained by societal rules?
Who are your role models?