Recently I started reading the book “Early Life Leadership in Children” by Christina Demara. The book is sort of a workshop guidance manual for inculcating the leadership skills in children.
The section for leadership infusion stage 1, is termed as “Preparing the soil”. The name of stage is so aptly selected,as this stage refers to introducing the young souls to leadership basics.
Below 4 traits are mentioned as the points that social systems like parents, schools etc. can aim to instil in the children from early years.
Gratification is a struggle for mankind from cradle to grave. Adults are not able to overcome it. Expecting kids to do so is a tough ask for sure. But, elusive targets have tough paths. It is not easy; it has never been for anyone who has win over it. However, it is possible, no doubt on same.
We all understand that life requires us to give up many things to accomplish something bigger. Restricting the calorie food to gain fitness, giving away the online time to utilize time for better goals etc. As adults, our chances of struggling at it are more if we have never been introduced to the idea of denying gratification.
Introducing the children to rules in early age can help them to learn the significance of wait in our lives. They will not like it; no one does that. But surely, they will like the results in hindsight. We can set house rules like, screen time of 30 mins only when you have had your dinner and teeth brushed. They will start demanding the gadget before dinner itself, however we need to stick to the ground rules, irrespective of the drama that ensues. There can be some other activities build around to make them like this time and pattern. Talking out kids about the need and advantage of this setting can help.
There can be your ways but as a parent making the life unruly and “as you say it”, kind of robs the learning opportunity from the child.
Learning to put others first
The world needs kind hearts. We all agree with this. On one hand civilizations struggle to make its youth kind and empathic. On another hand Children are said to be born pure and angelic. This shows something happens in between the children becoming youth, that removes the purity and kindness from the hearts. Life brings the hard part with it and some lessons from it, naturally teach us that being kind is weak.
However, the fact is that still there are some who hold on to their faith in kindness and we need more of them. Parents, in their love for the children, tend to become selfish. We teach them how to protect themselves. At times this keeps the children unaware of the impact kindness and empathic attributes have in life.
Welcoming opportunities for failure
Usually, we associate the parenting role to someone who should protect the kids. While it is the responsibility of the parents to keep the children safe and secure, this should not make them dependent and feeble. Children should be introduced to concepts of failure, rejection in early life. We should focus on preparing them the mindset to learn from failures. In our attempt to keep them away from failure we can succumb their growth. To learn from failures and comeback is the critical quality needed throughout life.
Respecting the people around is something we teach our kids. This comes in basic attribute. Most kids learn it, as they see it. But respect should not stop at only the people level. Respect should be inculcated for the place, rules of the place. Children learn as we do. If they see us being respectful to the people, ambience around us, they follow it naturally.
Giving an environment to kids that displays the above components in behavior can help them to appreciate the need for these leadership skills in life. Children learn far too less through theory and more through adult behaviour around them. The onus lies on parents and society as a whole to give the children ambience that shows them these characteristics in play.
As a whole if we see, these characteristics always come to our mind when we think about the great leaders in past or leaders we want in present.
Inculcating these behavior aspects at early age equips the children in better way to become efficient leaders. Bringing these in our kids is not easy and requires all the tough efforts. But it becomes easy if you can be a leader in your home that your child can look up to in awe and appreciation.
#References : Early Life Leadership In Children by Christina Demara