In a day and age when we see a lack of leadership at the highest reaches of government, in our children’s athletic heroes and tv characters, it is up to us as parents to teach them what a true leader looks like. It seems that we are not only devoid of true leaders (at least what is visible to most of us) but the ability to learn leadership skills is few and far between. They certainly don’t learn much in the way of leadership at a traditional school nor are they given the opportunity to make meaningful decisions. Society has completely removed the ability to fail which is an experience that builds character and perseverance. Followers are what this world loves to raise. Groups of people who buy things they don’t need, parrot anyone who they deem to be popular or cool, and whose moral compass seems to be non-existent.
The question is how do we take teaching our children leadership skills into our own hands? It starts at home. I am a firm believer that leaders are not born. They are created through life’s experiences. Life’s ups and downs. Through this journey our children are tested and at each crossroad their character and decision making skills are put to the test. Us as parents give them the compass but which way they decide to go on the map is completely up to them.
I believe a major learning opportunity is giving them the responsibility to make choices. These choices may seem trivial to us but to the child they are being given the ability to critically think. They must weigh the consequences of their choice. Even if it ends up to seemingly be the wrong one. Too many children are coddled and protected from failure and this is a disservice to them. How can we expect them to make decisions as adults when we never allow them to make decisions as children when the stakes aren’t as high. Society then wonders why there are so many people incapable of taking care of themselves.
Let them solve problems. Coming to a solution is an empowering experience. Don’t jump right into telling them how something needs to be done. In most cases there are many ways to solve a problem. Let them figure it out on their own and you might be surprised how capable they truly are. Knowing that you can work through something is a leadership tool that many people don’t have. That is why we have so many quitters. They have never been allowed to critically think for themselves.
Study great leaders at home. I won’t give any examples because my idea of a great leader may not be the same for you. Study the people that you would be proud to introduce to your children. Research the great men and women in this world. There are plenty of them. They just aren’t typically celebrated in popular culture. A great resource for younger children is the “Who Was” book series (Example: Who Was Anne Frank – https://amzn.to/3EDLeaI). They are short biographies on many different people from Henry Ford to Harriet Tubman. I’m sure you can find a worthy hero in their collection.
Finally, be the shining example yourself. How you speak in your own household is more than likely how your own children will speak as they get older. Are you always negative? Do you complain and whine about things that don’t go exactly as planned? Your children will absorb and parrot negative attitudes if this is what they see and hear in their home. Speak positively, speak kindly, and exude the leadership qualities that you want your children to have. Last but not least, walk the walk. It doesn’t matter what you say if when you are in public you don’t follow what you preach. Let them see you hold the door for someone or thank someone for a service. Let them see you let someone over in traffic or be the voice of reason in a stressful situation.
The world needs leaders. It needs individuals that haven’t followed the status quo since they were able to walk. The homeschooling community is a great place for leaders to be built. We have the opportunity to show the world that great men and women don’t have to speak down to others to prove a point and they do not have to step on others backs to move up in the world. We can teach them that once they have arrived at their destination to reach back and grab those that have fallen and help them along the way.
Good luck to all the future leaders of this world.
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All About Reading: https://www.allaboutlearningpress.net/go.php?id=2109
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