Raising Leaders: Part 1
- Debra Bell Columnist, author and conference speaker
- 2002 29 Apr
A passion my husband and I have in parenting our four children is to raise them to lead. I don't believe this is naked ambition, but rather a calling the Lord has for this generation of parents--our children are the hope of the future. In a culture devoid of any moral landscape, the compassionate and biblical leadership that our children can provide in their churches, neighborhoods, workplace and nation may be the only hope their generation has.
This is not a leadership that seeks to control, exploit or gain material wealth and power; but a leadership that invests in others lives that they may be touched by the love of our Lord.
This doesn't come about by chance. Let us practice "intentional parenting." In this series of articles, I want to share the ways the Lord has led my husband and I as well as many other in birthing this passion in the children under our charge.
1. Give your children a vision for their future. Raise them with a sense of destiny. Esther, Joseph, David they led and even saved their generations. In our own century men like Winston Churchill and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were sovereignly used by God to provide leadership that inspired thousands. Fill your children's childhood with stories of moral leadership. Breed in them a sense of mission, not a sense of fear. The "Trailblazers" series by Dave and Neta Jackson introduce young children to many of the forgotten missionaries of the past; and the "Leaders in Action" biographies from Cumberland House are excellent for teens.
2. Seek out opportunities for them to serve. Responsibility breeds leadership. During our children's younger years, my husband and I were involved with a crisis pregnancy ministry in our area. As we worked to get several centers started and funded, our kids joined us in much of the effort. When Mike and Gabe were only twelve, they took responsibility for organizing their friends participation in the annual Walk for Life. My daughter Kayte has carried on the tradition, and has only missed one Walk in the past 15 years. We've encouraged our kids to serve at their earliest opportunity in our church as well helping with set-up and tear down, sound ministry, the worship team and children's care.
3. Model servant leadership for them. My husband and I have conscientiously attempted to model service as a way of life as well. We have taken on much responsibility in many volunteer situations over the years. The key thing the Lord has impressed upon me time and again is that He has called us to serve without complaint. I can fail here so easily. If I am serving with the expectation of gain, then I grumble and complain about being overused; under-appreciated; taken advantage of, etc. As my children have grown older, I have recognized how destructive a model this can be. An ungrateful heart is at the root of my complaining. Service is a privilege entrusted to us by the Lord, and flowing from our gratitude for His mercies towards us.
Fortunately, God has surround our family with many friends who serve selflessly -- some who have poured out their lives in unbelievable ways. I am most grateful for the many missionary families who have been involved in our home school community. If you have some in your midst, or home on furlough, give them the opportunity to share with your children their experiences on the field and the passions in their hearts. Their lives and stories will shape your children's futures.
In His Sovereign Grace,
Leaders in Action:
"Call of Duty" by John Wilkins Robert E Lee
"Carry a Big Stick" by George Grant -- Theodore Roosevelt
"Give Me Liberty" by David Vaughan Patrick Henry
"Never Give in: Winston Churchill" by Stephen Mansfield
Trailblazers: by Dave Jackson & Neta Jackson
"Trailblazers-Abandoned on the Wild Frontier"
"Trailblazers-Attack in the Rye Grass"
"Trailblazers-Danger on the Flying Trapeze"
"Trailblazers-Flight of the Fugitives"
"Trailblazers-Shanghaied to China"
"Trailblazers-Trial by Poison"
*This article published April 29, 2005