Do You Really Want Your Child to Be a Leader?

I hear parents say it a lot, but I cannot help but to question their sincerity. In my twenty years of teaching and coaching, and my travels as an inspirational speaker and artist, a common theme among parents is the importance of leadership in their child’s lives.  Or so they say.

Do you really want your child to be a leader?

My experience says no. I think most parents confuse leadership with being the star. They don’t want a leader. They want their child’s picture in the paper, the trophy on the mantle, or the name on the record board. They want to tell relatives that their daughter is the captain of the team, that their son is the president of the club, and add another title to the college entrance application. They want their child to be well liked and admired. That is what I believe most parents want.

The truth is that while leadership can often be a truly rewarding experience, it is often a lot of hard work.  Leaders have responsibilities whether their team wins or loses. They are often ridiculed, criticized, and they work well beyond ‘their fair share’ with little to show for it. Leadership is not a popularity contest and it isn’t about being the star.

Do you really want your child to be a leader?

If you are still answering yes then I must ask you what you are doing to encourage that leadership? Do you criticize public leaders in front of your children? Complain about the decisions a leader has made? Do you volunteer in leadership roles? Do you offer your child opportunities to make decisions and take leadership roles? When they do, do you support them?

If you want your child to lead you really do have to take action. It’s not going to happen on its own, and you can’t leave it up to someone else. So many parents assume their child’s school, teacher, coach, or advisor is helping their child become a leader. And while that may be true in part, it is the parent’s role as the leader of the home, to see to it, that they are passing the torch of leadership to their children.

The ingredients we mix into a bowl determines the dish we prepare. Yes or no? You don’t get cookies using spinach.  What ingredients are going in your child, and will they make a leader? What books do they read? What games do they play? What do they listen to? What movies do they watch? Who do they admire? With whom do they spend their time? These are important questions.

I want my children to be leaders because I want them to make a difference in the world. I want them to understand that their lives have purpose, and that they are here to help others accomplish great things. I understand they will be ridiculed, criticized, and beaten down.  I know the decisions they make as leaders may cause them to lose friends. And I know when the time comes they may choose not to lead, but they will be prepared if they decide to answer the call to lead.

Please consider sending your son or daughter to The Ohio Youth Leadership Conference, or inviting Kelly to speak at your child’s school or organization.

Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and professional speaker. His presentations have entertained and amazed audiences across the nation including corporations, schools, churches, conferences, and wherever people come together to be entertained and improve their lives. Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.

Please visit Kelly’s website to book him  for your next event.


8 thoughts on “Do You Really Want Your Child to Be a Leader?

  1. “The ingredients we mix into a bowl determines the dish we prepare. ”

    So true and I think it begins in the womb or even well before that as one considers deeply before marriage and bringing a child into this world, as to how one will do that well and as a ministry to the child, to the world and to the parents.

    So many women today miss the sacredness of pregnancy and yet everything that goes into the mother…food, mood, thoughts etc…goes into the growing baby. Even the father can take those 9 months to bond with the child…we meditated and read to ours in 2 languages daily, shared beautiful music and a peaceful life. How can we create peace in this world if we never take time for connecting to the peace within. How can we lead if we stay so busy in our lives that we do not listen to the inner wisdom?

    There are many different ways to lead and types of leaders. Sadly, I think our schools do not teach leadership, but followers. Or as Godin says, “It’s easier to teach compliance than initiative”.

    Tomorrows leaders will be different than today’s so parents must think several generations ahead when raising a child. Our world is in a paradigm shift so the ways that worked in the past will no longer work. Schools are still teaching kids to have a good job in 1950.

    “The future belongs to a very different kind of mind–creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These people–artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers–will now reap societies richest rewards and share it’s greatest joys.” Daniel Pink

    The world is growing smaller, so being fluent in several of the world’s top languages and deep understanding of other cultures will serve our leaders greatly. Travel also adds to creativity and adaptability which are skills needed by tomorrows leaders.

    We believe in conscious conception, conscious pregnancy, conscious and attachment child rearing. The greatest leaders of all time, were conscious people led by inner wisdom.

    I am not consciously raising my child as a leader, but she has always been one ( even as a toddler, other mom’s would comment on it). We are consciously attempting to give her the best possible upbringing that we can. I believe a strong foundation will allow her to forge her own destiny in a way that best serves her and the planet.

    We are monolinguals raising a fluent trilingual/triliterate. We are non-musicians raising a violinist and pianist ( even as we travel the world non-stop as a family). Not that we want her to lead in those areas, but just as a foundational skill that is easiest to pick up as a child and enriches life.

    If we want to raise leaders, we must first teach them peace and love though exampleship and to have the TIME to know themselves and follow their own inner guidance.

    • Thanks for the great comment. I am glad the article resonated with you. You make an excellent point about not consciously raising your child as a leader, but providing them with the best upbringing possible. That’s what it is all about. In truth everyone leads at some point even if it is a co-leadership position. Leadership is important in families, relationships, and anywhere decisions need to be made. On the most basic level, we are in fact the leaders of our lives. I do think, though, that discussing aspects of leadership are important as our children grow. Some great questions for families to investigate are: what is our role in society? When do we stand up for others? and How do we take action? I am finishing a book about leadership, and it focuses on six main points, Wisdom is one of my six and I spend a great deal reflecting on some of the areas you touched on here. I enjoyed your comments. Thank you.

    • Thank you for commenting Phil. I agree. I welcome any insight you can add to the discussion on building the character of our children.

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