Children and Leadership
Business leaders today tell us that in the name of creating a generation of children with high self esteem, we’ve created a generation of young adults who believe in themselves but who can’t seem to finish a degree or keep a job. Participation trophies for showing up and endless affirmations of “good job” whether or not the job merited it, have developed esteem but left core values lacking. I’m not blaming or pointing fingers… I am a parent of this generation myself and we were all dedicated to being the best we could be. However, the results are in and we can all learn from mistakes, no matter how good our intentions.
It is the confident individual with a realistic understanding of their abilities who out performs and is more successful than the individual who feels superior to others and who believes they deserve special treatment and personal success.
How can parents nurture confident and successful children who become confident and successful leaders in their own lives as adults?
Here are three tips:
1. Allow them to fail
As a parent, I know it’s hard to watch. Whether it’s making a failing grade or not winning a game, it’s important for children to learn that even in a cooperative environment there are winners and learners. Every incidence of failure is an opportunity to learn something.
Did you make a failing grade? Maybe you learn how to study more effectively.
Maybe you learn that you have to study!
Maybe you learn that one thing is your strength and something else isn’t.
The role of the parent isn’t to protect children from failing. The role of the parent is to be available when a child fails to help them make sense of it. It’s your job (and mine) to teach them that failure isn’t the end but the beginning.
2. Challenge them
Encourage your child to be more and do more.
Look for their strengths and push them to expand their limits.
Whether it’s excelling on the sports team or in the classroom or in another arena, everyone has an area of expertise. It’s easy to rest on our laurels. The child that learns to accept a challenge is the child that will learn early on to handle the difficulties that life sends her way. A large part of confidence comes from the experience of competence and if children are not challenged then they will not learn the very things that they are skilled at.
3. Teach them there are consequences
Learning to be accountable for their actions, means learning that there are consequences. It also means learning that for every situation there are choices. This is a powerful concept. Through our choices we give direction to our lives. By teaching our children to be leaders of their lives through choices, we are opening up the world of possibilities to them. Life is not something that merely happens to them. Instead it is something that they have the power to direct and change. Every child needs to learn that they can solve problems when faced with them. They can learn to be at cause in their life rather than a victim of circumstances. Of course there are always things beyond an individual’s control but many of us give up our personal power of choice without even being aware of it.
As we value our children for the unique individuals they are, we in turn teach them to value themselves and step forward with confidence into their future.
If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.~Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Want a good read about winning and handling failure? Grab a copy of:
Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Mindset
Wyatt the Wonder Dog didn’t make it on the All Star baseball team and he feels like a loser. All his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach. How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future. Will he give up trying new things? Will he have the confidence to try again? Are there some things that take more practice and persistence to learn than others?