How to Model Leadership for Your Kids
- Guy Hatcher The Legacy Guy
- 2016 9 Jun
Why Character Counts in the Hearts of our Kids
Children are not simply born to lead they must be taught and inspired to lead. Leadership is demonstrated through the actions of parents, teachers, pastors, and all who act and serve an influential role before the eyes of your child. Character is not talked it is walked. Character is not acquired it is determined and practiced. Character is not hidden it is revealed through choices, actions and honorable decisions. Character is shown through the examples of others.
A little over 200 years ago, a man dressed in civilian clothes and riding on horseback past a small group of tired and battle-weary soldiers digging what appeared to be a hole where they would stay hidden while in an important defensive position. The well-appointed man noticed the leader of this group was making no effort to help his men. Rather, he stood shouting orders and making threats to punish this hardworking group if they did not complete their work in a timely manner.
After a few minutes of quiet observation the stranger on the horse asked a very telling question, “Why sir, are you not helping?”
The leader of the group looked with indignation at the stranger and replied rudely, “Can’t you see I am in charge. My men do as I tell them!” He then made quipped, “And, if you have a problem with it, help them yourself.”
To the leader’s surprise the stranger calmly and confidently dismounted his horse and picked up a nearby shovel and worked alongside these men until their job was finished successfully. The stranger congratulated the men for their hard work and encouraged them in their duties as soldiers. Then, he turned, looked square into the eyes of the confused leader and made a very wise statement, “The next time your rank prevents you from serving and working alongside your men, you need to notify top command– and I will make sure you are provided with a better and more effective permanent solution.” With that he mounted his horse and continued on his journey.
The leader, now completely embarrassed and totally humbled recognized he had just been in the presence of General George Washington. Through General Washington’s actions and carefully spoken words he learned a lesson he would never forget—great leaders do what other leaders are not willing to do. This is what separates the good from the great, the effective from the ineffective, and the respected from the ill-respected.
Children are like sponges they “soak in” what they see even more than they “soak up” what they hear. Children are action emulators. They repeat what is spoken to them and they walk out what is lived in front of them. Character is taught and instilled over time. Teach your children the character of a leader. Begin by showing and telling them through your actions and words the following 5 character traits great leaders walk out.
1. Leaders care deeply—they put others first. We teach our children how to think of others through what I call the “open-hands” family policy. This is living the example, “What is mine is yours and I am going to give (share) it.” Jesus said, “Freely you have received, now freely give.” Matthew 10:8.
SEE ALSO: 3 Ways to Raise Up Leaders in Your Home
2. Leaders are not afraid to dig with their teams—they have a strong work ethic. We teach our children a strong work ethic by laying down attainable expectations. Around our home we say, “We all live in the house and we all work together to keep the house neat and clean.” Give your children responsibilities to complete. This teaches a strong work ethic and it also allows them to feel success when a task is completed. Be sure to reward their hard work with praise, affirmation and allowance if you are able.
3. Leaders have set known values in place—as a family, take some time to determine together what your 5-7 core values are. What are your non-negotiables in life? Some examples are: faith, giving, trust, honesty, integrity, etc. It is important for your children to understand what your core values mean.
4. Leaders model what they value—teach your children how to model the values that are foundational to your family. Discuss the importance of implementing these into daily actions and decisions. When you understand what you stand for, it is easier to take stands on the things that matter and are right. The more your children learn how to identify which battles you take on in life the better equipped they will be in the leadership skills as they grow into adulthood.
5. Leaders live legacy—we tend to think legacy is something we don’t need to think about until we are older because it is something we leave behind after we are gone. However, this could not be farther from the truth. You can’t leave or pass on character traits, integrity, modeled leadership, and the intangibles of life if you didn’t live them. We begin defining our legacy the day we are born and continuing defining it until the day we breathe our last breath. What we teach our children and how we live in front of them shapes their legacy, helps set into place a life foundation on which they will build their futures.
SEE ALSO: The Secret to Impactful Leadership
Strong leadership skills are developed over time. As parents we have been called by God to lead our children in His truth, goodness, and beauty. Just as General Washington recognized the importance of “showing” these men how to lead through his actions and demonstrated integrity so are we given a daily opportunity to lead our kids and point them toward God. We model legacy every day in front of our kids. Today, as you go about living your life, I challenge you to reflect upon two important questions: How would your children describe your legacy from their observations and are you living a legacy of leadership you want them to model?
Guy Hatcher: The Legacy Guy® – is passionate about helping families plan their legacy. His book, Your Future Reflection: How to Leave a Legacy Beyond Money, is available at amazon.com. Follow him on twitter @guyhatcher or contact him at www.guyhatcher.com
Publication date: June 9, 2016