A leader is a person that has influence; they can change the mood, the actions and beliefs of those around them. Do you look for leadership skills in your children?
Though we can be born with the strengths to be a leader (the natural leader) I believe we can teach our children the skills and the desire to be a leader. I’m not talking about being up front public figure – but to be someone who influences those around them – for the good. We can give our children the inner wherewithal to be an effective leader, regardless of their personality. Personality will affect our leadership style and yet, each one of us can be a leader.
Growing up my parents would encourage us kids to stand up for God, to make a difference in the lives of the kids around us; to be a leader. They would quote this verse – and I passed on the same thoughts to my kids.
The LORD will make you the head, not the tail.
If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
When we read this verse we have to remember that God’s ways are not man’s ways – and the ‘top’ probably means something different in God’s economy. But the key here isn’t so much the reward but the obvious desire that God would have us be a head – a leader, not a follower.
Jesus gives a very clear model of being a leader –
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become
great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many
If anyone wants to be first,
he must be the very last,
and the servant of all.
Serving is God’s model for leadership. Our children need to learn to serve others (as do we as well!) As they put other people first they will find themselves developing leadership skills. Isn’t this contrary to the hype of leadership we learn today from popular media!
[Tweet “As we teach our children to love and serve others we are teaching them leadership skills.”]
5 R’s of Leadership
Relationship – To be a godly leader, to influence people towards God’s ways we must first have a relationship with God; we must know God and know His ways. It is their love for God that will motivate them to love other people. It is God’s love for other people that mould them to be other focused. God’s commandment is to love God, and love others. This is the order of things.
Responsibility – We are our brother’s keeper; we need to help and protect our brothers in Christ. Just as the big brother in our family has a sense of responsibility towards his younger siblings, we need to have a sense of responsibility towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. This starts with praying for others and getting involved in their lives.
Respect – Our sinful nature quickly turns the idea of leadership into control and bossiness. This is why it is so important to lay the foundation down of servanthood and love. We must respect others – the foundation of the preciousness of others. God made each person, he loves each person. We are to love as Jesus loves. Our role is not to change people but rather to help them meet Jesus, just as we have a need for Jesus.
Rapport – In order to have an influence with the people around us we need to be able to connect with and communicate with a variety of different people. This includes skills such as listening skills, reading body language, showing empathy, giving time, understanding world view and faiths, being able to choose words wisely, and being comfortable in a variety of situations.
Resourcefulness – To solve problems, to be the solution not the problem, is the hallmarks of leadership. Our children need to
- Consider the risks and know their abilities and limitations
- Understand consequences and identify a wise course of action
- Think outside the box and find solutions
Developing Leadership Skills in your Children
If any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
Our children need to know, and walk in (that is, practice) asking God for answers.
The best place for our children to learn and develop leadership skills is within the family. Remember leadership is the ability to influence people, it isn’t being bossy. As parents we can help them in three ways
- Model godly leadership; servant leadership in our own lives.
- Prepare them – As a situation arises where one of our children can be a head and not a tail, we can draw them aside, remind them and encourage them of the issues at hand and send them forth prepared.
- Debrief them – after they have tried to be a leader in any given situation they need feedback. They may have been successful; they may have ‘failed’. Either way, debriefing is an effective way to continue training; to look back on the situation, on their responses, and to assess the results. This prepares them for next time.
Teach your Children to Serve Others: Teach your children to serve others by teaching them to serve in their family. Charity starts at home.
Do you Allow Your Kids to have an Opinion: Though it can be confronting to hear our kids opinion, they need to learn how to think and own their beliefs and it starts with talking to their parents.