Raising a Leader in Today’s World
It’s pretty appropriate that today we’re talking about how to instill leadership abilities into our kids. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Teaching our kids resiliency, critical thinking, altruism, and courageous compassion are all things encompassed by leadership.
Teaching kids leadership skills is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, but very difficult to write about, and even harder to apply. You see, I’m not a perfect parent or leader. My kid is not perfect and doesn’t always display perfect leadership skills. And I know that many people reading this post will know that. However, I am TRYING to teach leadership traits to my 8 year-old. And that’s something, right???
Many people know Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits. The good news is that the seven habits work really well for adults – and they also work really well for kids. So well in fact, that several schools have adopted these principles to become “Leader in Me” schools. They teach their students the seven habits and reinforce them through daily lessons. So why not reinforce that at home? Here’s a quick overview of the Seven Habits and how they relate to kids: www.theleaderinme.org/the-7-habits-for-kids
My husband and I try to teach our son these habits by not only openly discussing them, but also by setting a good example for him. And like I said before, we’re trying, but we’re not perfect! However we know something is sinking in whenever our son calls us on a behavior that is not “leaderly”. BUSTED!
But you don’t have to rely just on your (sometimes flawed) parenting examples and schools to teach leadership to your kids. There are other organizations here in the Huntsville community that focus specifically on this. Kids can have fun with their friends and learn leadership skills.
Here are a few examples:
Ready yoUrself For the Future
Website: ruffleadership.org / Follow them on Facebook at Ready yoUrself For the Future!
A great program for guys in grades 5-12. With upcoming programs like “Kicking It R.U.F.F. for Autism Awareness” and “How to Treat A Lady/Etiquette 101” how can they go wrong? Sounds awesome to me!
Why: The R.U.F.F. mission statement is empowering young men to be outstanding leaders.
The mission is to inspire ALL girls to be Strong, Smart, and Bold. Our vision is to be recognized as North Alabama’s leading advocates for helping girls to succeed in a competitive world.
Our goals are to help girls:
• Achieve Academic Success
• Improve their self-esteem
• Plan for their futures
• Become economically independent women
• Explore careers in science, math, and technology
• Develop skills to avoid risky behaviors related to alcohol/substance abuse and teenage pregnancy
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Lexie Robinson Austin is one of the few born and raised Huntsville natives. She is a stepmom to one, a librarian to many, a reader of books, and baker of cookies. She likes ridiculously impractical shoes and the color pink.
Additionally, 4-H provides excellent opportunity for children to develop self-confidence and leadership skills. 4-H, Girl Scouts, and martial arts training all have provided my children with a great foundation for leadership growth. The organizations listed are excellent places to start…but many, many resources are available to help parents instill leadership and character qualities in their kids. As you mentioned in your article, a great way to teach leadership is to set the example yourself. Sometimes parent’s aren’t always sure on how to do this; may I suggest John Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership as a guide. While it is geared towards business…the laws can be applied in our day-to-day lives. One of the most important laws, I think, in a parenting situation is The Law of the Lid. Everyone has their “leadership lid,” so to speak…and it’s always helpful to get help or guidance when we need it. Anyway, this is a topic I’m pretty passionate about and I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, fellow parents…there are LOTS of excellent resources out there! Great topic to address, Lexie!
Thanks Stacy! It’s always great to learn about additional leadership resources available in our community!