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Three Ways To Help Your Child Become A Leader This Summer


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Summertime is here and for many of us, it is time to enjoy the break from the daily, but important and needed, grind of school. Considering how busy some our kids are out of school, maybe there is no break for some of you. Still, I am quite sure that our children will be having their fare share of fun this summer and good for them. They have worked hard and deserve some extended “down time.” So do you, my fellow parents, but helping you create some “down time” for yourself is a whole other story and a great idea for a future column. Note to self.

Today, I want to challenge you, my fellow parents, to help your child become a leader this summer so he or she can assume such a role in and out of school when September rolls around. If your child is already a leader, please take this opportunity to fine tune these skills and like anything, know that there is always room for growth. We always talk about today’s youth being tomorrow’s leaders. While there is certainly truth to that, why can’t today’s youth be today’s leaders in and out of their schools. The answer is that they can be and we have to do whatever we can to help them get there. Here are three tips to make that happen:

Tip #1: Lead By Example
In today’s world we are constantly seeking tips, like the ones I am sharing with you, strategies, etc. to improve aspects of our lives. While some of them work and some of them don’t, the truth of the matter is our actions speak much louder than our words. Before you set an agenda in motion for helping mold and sculpt your little leader at home, please make sure that you are a leader yourself. Just because we are parents does not make us leaders.

C’mon now. Every person reading this can probably give me a list of parents who you know are not leading by example. In an ideal world, yes, all parents would be leaders, great communicators, great listeners, in touch with their emotions, experts in patience, you name it … even before entering into parenthood. Unfortunately that is not the case.

Take a little self-inventory of yourself, whether it is at work or at home. Would those around you identify you as a leader and if not, why not? Again, there is always room for growth but for the most part, you are either a leader or you are not one. For those who are not, this does not mean that you can’t become one. The world can always use another leader and I can think of no better excuse than to become one for the sake of setting an extraordinary example for your child and probably other children.

Tip #2 – Identify Leaders In The Community, In Our State, In Our Country, And Around The World
Imagine taking a stroll in the park with your son or daughter and witnessing, with your child, a group of individuals cleaning up the park. Imagine having a dialogue with your child about what is transpiring before your very eyes, what good is being done, the fact that nobody is getting paid to do this, and that it is simply the “right” thing to do without a doubt. In the next moment, you are at a baseball field and you see a teenage boy gathering his team around and begins giving them a peptalk and how they can win the game if they all work together. Now you are at home, you sit down as a family to watch television, and there is a documentary about the great Nelson Mandela. Find yourself explaining to your children, along with the commentary on television, how this man emerged as a leader by leading by example and fighting for what was right.

There are leaders all around us that serve as great teaching examples for our children. Take these journeys with your children and find yourself creating a pretty impressive list of leaders in this world, along with their characteristics, that your children will want to emulate.

Tip #3 – Ease Your Child Into Leadership Opportunities
Whether it is suggesting that they raise their hand to be a captain of team, help their baby brother or sister out with a simple task, earn a weekly allowance for doing chores around the house, volunteer to help a charitable organization or maybe even a neighbor who could use a little help in some capacity, or just striking up a conversation in which they have to problem solve … continue to help your children create leadership opportunities for themselves and see how they respond.

You will find that some children are natural born leaders. People seem to gravitate towards them and they feel very comfortable in this role at all or most times. They don’t mind being the center of attention. Then there will be other children who may be shy and while they would like to insert themselves into a leadership role, they can’t seem to find the courage to do so. Help ease them into these roles by reminding them of how it is the right thing to do and how much better you will feel about yourself. And then you will find that other children will always do whatever it takes to avoid leadership roles no matter what the situation may be. Yes, we all have the capacity to be leaders, but many choose not to be. My advice has always been that if you don’t want to be a leader, you better make sure that you are following a great leader.

Enjoy your summer!

Scott Chesney is a motivational speaker and life coach, Verona resident, husband, and parent of two children. You can reach him at [email protected].

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