[Melinda Finch is a 30 something mother of two from Dyersburg, TN. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree from Tennessee State University. Follow Melinda @sillymi09]
Characteristics of Good Leader
Teaching your son to be a leader is important for many reasons. Leaders tend to make their own decisions taking into consideration the consequences of those decisions and the people affected. Leaders have an exceptional character. They are willing to go that extra mile and are tolerant of those they lead. They tend not to follow the in-crowd. They have higher self-esteem and make more sustainable choices. Leaders stand for right and justice even if it goes against what everyone else is doing or thinking.
I have heard that leaders are born as leaders, but I disagree. Leadership is not hard. It just requires training. Everyone has the potential to be a leader. However, everyone is not taught to thrive in leadership. It is your responsibility to instill leadership within your child.
Leadership in a Healthy Relationship
In a relationship, leadership is not selfishness and making all of the decisions. It is the ability to view the entire situation and take into consideration all of the consequences and benefits of everyone the decision will involve. It means acting rationally thinking out your decision not acting simply on emotions. Leaders ensure that their choices are in line with their goals.
A good leader does the right thing when there is no one around to witness him doing the right thing.
They are patient and tolerant with their mate. They are also excited about accomplishments to come in the relationship. Leaders are able to communicate and compromise, support and show leniency. Teaching your son to be a leader will eliminate any feelings of inadequacy in his future relationships because he will be sure of himself and his decisions.
Teaching Leadership Qualities
I have taught my son the leadership qualities that he now possesses through my example and my instruction. Since he has been old enough to speak and comprehend, I have taught “YOU ARE A LEADER AND NOT A FOLLOWER.” There have been times where he has followed. In those times there have been consequences for his actions. I used those consequences as an opportunity for teaching moments.
For example, during the summer he is allowed to go to the country. During his visit to the country he is allowed to go hunting with his Uncle and cousins. My son and his cousins were instructed not to shoot anything, but when his Uncle went to the truck they shot a squirrel. When his Uncle returned, the group was taken back home and not allowed to hunt for the rest of the summer.
When I was called and told of the situation, I asked my son how he felt. He told me that he felt sad because he was looking forward to hunting and shooting the gun. I asked him why he disobeyed his Uncle. He told me because his cousin told him to shot the squirrel. I asked, “How does it feel to be a follower?” He began to cry. He felt horrible because he had been taught better. He knew better than to do what everyone else was doing. Because he decided to follow he suffered the consequences.
Of course, you want to know how you can do this with a toddler. First, your instruction will be verbal such as “You are a leader not a follower.” You will then reinforce this during play dates with other children. Notice and discuss it when you observe your son wanting to do what everyone else is doing instead of what he wants to do. As your child grows older, there will be events where he will be able to display his leadership qualities and sometimes he will follow the crowd. Use those as teachable moments that provide examples of the importance of leadership.