Sowing the seeds of leadership
AS parents, we always tell our children about the importance of possessing leadership skills. We tell them stories of great leaders and what made them outstanding. We share our decision-making process with them and get them involved too.
A good opportunity to sow the seed of leadership is when we organise an event at home, for example, a birthday party. Even though we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, we can still plan for one.
Ask each of our kids to be responsible for one thing and be the leader in that area. Give them several small but important responsibilities such as drawing up the menu, preparing the guest list and deciding what games to play. Assigning them these little tasks helps train them to be leaders.
When school reopens, we can encourage the children to join in and lead in school activities. In my family, there are two things that our kids know they have our support on without having to ask us first: participating in academic programmes (e.g. quizzes and spelling contests) and co-curricular activities, including sports. We always encourage and look for such opportunities. We even go the extra mile — making an extra trip to and from school to enable them to join these activities.
We want to show them that these activities are important and great for building leadership skills. As much as possible, we encourage them to go forward and volunteer to lead an activity or event, if not the whole organisation.
We even allowed our daughters to participate in several camping trips so that they could learn to be independent. Not many parents are comfortable with the idea, but we believe these types of trips help to build character.
Encourage your children to be active in school and grab any opportunity available to take part in societies, uniformed bodies and sports programmes. Don’t limit them to just the academic programmes. These co-curricular activities are created for a reason — to train future leaders.
I’ve come across several cases where parents didn’t allow their kids to be active in school. Their reason? Being too active would take precious time away from the classroom and they may miss their lessons. Maybe they’re right, but to me the trade-off is too great to miss.
Being active in school is probably the earliest — and biggest — responsibility any child can have! They’re assigned very critical tasks and are required to be highly disciplined and responsible. They must be accountable, principled, firm yet fair. Tell me where in the world would you get such great leadership training? And for a few years at that?
Being active is the best leadership training programme one can get in school. Thank God all my children did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep easy knowing that they’d missed the chance of a lifetime.
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