Planting the Seeds of Leadership in Childhood
Your teen’s room is still a disaster area, even though you’ve asked them way too many times to clean it up.
Your kids say they’re working on homework – but every time you check on them, you find them playing video games.
You prep your kids over and over again so they’ll know how to behave at an important event…only to have them do basically the opposite of everything you asked them to do once you get there.
How often do you find yourself frustrated, banging your head against the wall and asking, “Why can’t my kid/tween/teen/young adult just do what I ask them to do… just this once?”
What if I told you that instilling a sense of leadership gives young people the power, not only to make one “good” choice, but provides the framework upon which to base all their choices?
Kids Can Be Leaders, Too!
Childhood and leadership are two words that, while sometimes used in the same sentence, are rarely given much airtime in our families’ busy and over-scheduled lives. Think about it for a minute. When was the last time you had room in your schedule for a meaningful discussion with your child about leadership? If your family is anything like mine, you are hustling, bustling, and trying to GET. IT. DONE!
Yet, investing the time to cultivate the seeds of leadership at a young age encourages the flowers of our kids’ self-authority and ownership over their own lives to grow. They begin to consider the why, and start to understand the thought process, behind our desire for them to “just do what’s asked this one time.”
The best part? When these seeds are cultivated and watered, they will allow us to take a step back while kids are blossoming into leaders who do what needs to be done without anyone asking them!
Why Should Parents Teach Their Kids About Leadership?
So, why should we parents invest our time in teaching our kids about leadership anyway? Don’t they teach them that in school? Or maybe it comes up later, in college, right?
Wrong. In the book “How to Raise an Adult” by former Stanford Assistant Dean Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author was astounded by how many young adults arrived at university without basic life skills. They were so inept at leading their own lives, that one incoming freshman was unable to figure out how to get his own belongings into his dorm room. He ended up leaving the items outside overnight until his RA came to ask why the boxes were still sitting on the curb!
In my own work with parents and the Youth Leadership Academy, I have seen beautiful unique flowers bloom with youth when the seeds of ownership, creativity and self-authorship are cultivated.
Challenge: I challenge you to water the seed today, by taking 5 minutes to have a conversation with your kid around this question:
“What leadership skills are important when ___________(playing sports, start high school, college, their job, etc.)?”