For many of us, leadership is a term that we typically associate with business. And for the most part, that is the arena in which we see the most emphasis on leadership.
- Jack Welch speaks about it
- John C. Maxwell writes about it
- Ken Blanchard tells stories about it
You get the picture…
But leadership is a concept that goes far beyond business. It is also a trait that is learned early. Children need to learn and understand leadership.
How do we expose our youngsters to leadership? It is pretty simple really…
Lead them by example.
My son is fortunate enough to get to play baseball this fall with a really talented group of youngsters. They are all 9 and making the transition from machine pitch to facing a live arm. Since I am not coaching this team, I am taking advantage of the opportunity to sit and observe some dynamics that I normally cannot focus on when I am mentally thinking through a baseball game. And much of what I am observing involves interactions regarding the players…and their parents and coaches.
My role is different in this situation. So toning down my verbal involvement, at least at the ball park, is a challenge. I am used to coaching…its in my blood…and my son responds to that. He wants and expects it of me. But when I coach him, I am coaching much more than baseball…I am coaching life. Breathing life into the mind of a child is a massive responsibility. All of us at times are guilty of taking it too lightly.
What I am observing is the stark realization of something we all know…but do not always keep in the front of our minds.
Our children learn how to live…by watching us.
Yes, they ask questions. Yes they learn from trial and error. But they learn more about how to handle life by simply observing how we handle life.
Its that simple.
Never is this moment understood more than when you see your own child repeat a bad habit that you have. Maybe it is something we say that we shouldn’t. Maybe it is an expression of the face. Perhaps it is even a disposition toward negativity and complaining.
If we want our children to exhibit leadership, we must demonstrate leadership to them, by leading ourselves first.