No matter what your child grows up to do, having some skills in the area of leadership will be of benefit.  They don’t have to be a President, general, school principal or football coach to utilize leadership qualities.  I remember thinking this when we went for the first Parents Weekend when one of our children went away to school for the first time.  We showed up on Friday and the room was cleaned, there was folded laundry in the process of being put away and the room was tidy, I could tell that the rug had been vacuumed.  I noticed all of this and said “your room looks nice,” and I thought, I wonder if this was just because we were there.  The response was, “Yeah, that’s my Friday routine.  I don’t feel like studying on a Friday after class so I do my laundry and clean the room so I’m ready for the weekend and that’s how I end my week, so I can enjoy the weekend and get some studying in on Sunday.  I remember as we were leaving on Sunday, as we said good-bye, I said, so “studying for most of the day after church?”  Yeah,  and I call Grandpa Rog & Grandma Shari and Grandpa Jimmy and Grandma Diane.  That’s my Sunday routine.  I thought to myself as we rode back to the airport, this kid is doing a good job of managing their life at this point.  

     Leadership skills such as good organization of one’s life, taking care of their spiritual, physical, academic and social needs, along with being able to make good decisions and follow through on goals and promises will serve a child well even if the only management role they have is the management of their own life.  That in itself is a big job.  Consider what it takes to manage one’s personal life, professional life, family life and financial fitness.  It’s a lot.  If one decides to get married and start their own family, it takes a leader to direct that family.  A good leader needs to be able to make good decisions for those who are entrusted to them.  Some of these decisions are deliberated decisions and sometimes there are decisions to be made on the spot.  Some people have a hard time making decisions because they are afraid of making the wrong decision so they vacillate as to what to do.  To NOT make a decision, is making a decision.  “Analysis can be paralysis” and it is understandable to want to be careful especially when it comes to the “biggies” of decisions, but there comes a point when one must say, “this is our decision.  It’s the best decision now, with the information we have.  If there is contra information, we can change paths and will, but for now, THIS is the decision and we stand by it and we will move forward with confidence and not look back.”

A few more leaders to be recognized

     Whether one is the manager or leader  of a store, a restaurant, a community, a company or a family, those under them COUNT on them to steer the ship and keep it on track.  A leader sets a good example for the rest of those entrusted to them.  They lead with a positive attitude and confidence.  Today in our world, I see so many leaders who do not know how to lead and I see people who try to undermine leaders as well.  These two do not bode well for a strong world.  Good leaders in a family, community, business or country will inspire those under their care to be THEIR best. Consider the teacher you had who inspired you to work hard and to do a good job, no matter the job.  Think about the pastor or priest who led a congregation through September 11, 2001 and the aftermath or the pandemic.  Or yet, reflect on the parents and  ancestors who struggled and worked hard so that their family and future generations could have a better life and how you sat up and listened when they ‘matter of factly’ told stories of what they experienced, not to brag, but rather to let you know, that your family members were strong individuals who knew their efforts would be well worth it.  

To teach your child how to be a leader, give them age appropriate responsibilities where they can succeed. Each time they have success, let them know how they fared and if there were set backs or or areas where they could improve, let them know, constructively of course, giving them feedback as to how they could improve. Don’t give them more than they can handle and be available to step in if necessary. Consider a camp in the summer to challenge their abilities in the outdoors, even if that isn’t there thing. Challenge them to ‘step out of their comfort zone,’ and when they do, discuss with them that many things in life are uncomfortable but to step in and meet an obstacle face to face and have success or at least not fail, how good they will feel. And those times when they miss the mark or fail, explain that failure and set backs push us and teach us to get back up and try again. If life was easy, where would the challenge be?

     Leaders are tough.  They do not complain.  Their actions speak louder than words.  They show up ready to work, perform or lend a helping hand.  Leaders put the needs of others first. They do not expect a reward or trophy for every little effort.  They prepare for the next day by getting a good night’s sleep, eating well and taking care of their body, their vehicle to get through life.  Leaders lead from the top but are the last out of a burning building or any bad situation. When faced with a tough circumstance, they take action. They know the importance of surrounding themselves with likeminded supportive people and they are not too proud to listen to advice from trusted friends, family and advisors.  Leaders do not think they know it all and they are willing to admit they are wrong and ask for forgiveness when needed.  They treat everyone with respect and expect it in return. Teaching your children to be good leaders is a tall order.  You can do it.  And in the process, you may even find that YOUR leadership qualities become even stronger as you set a good example for them, leading to….Many Great Days for all 🍎 

Author, Mrs.Burau