Do you realize that as a parent you are in a leadership role? In business you can define leadership as the ability to motivate, and persuade others to take the actions you want them to take that are in their best interest and the best interest of the business.
As a leader in business you would make things happen that normally wouldn’t happen without your presence. In my martial arts school business, I’ve been responsible for changing the lives of many kids because I was able to convince them and their parents that my service was right for them. In most cases, the amount of convincing involved was minimal. It was more like putting it in the proper perspective so they could make a decision that was in their child’s best interest. They all thanked me for helping them years down the road. In humanitarian leadership (the leadership I most admire), leaders are responsible for causing millions of people to support a cause, give help in some way, or change their feelings on a particular subject. Think of greats like Dr. Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa, or a less than positive example Hitler. These leaders used their power of speech and their belief in their cause to persuade others to action.
Some of these examples apply to family and some don’t. However, if you take the time to study leadership as a way to enhance your parenting skills, you will see what I mean. But let us now move on to what I believe to be the number one law of leadership as it applies to parenting.
Lead by example, both of you. Your children will follow your example of how you live your life up until the point they are able to decide for themselves. And at that point they’ll still look to you for leadership in some way.
But you’d have to agree with me that if they have a good example to follow all those years when they still think you’re “number one,” they’ll be much better off. Everything we do as parents should be with the intention of making our kids upwardly mobile. We want to contribute to enhancing the next generation. In other words, we should want our kids to make more of a contribution to society than we ever did.
Here’s an example: If I write three books in my life and consider it a way of leaving my mark, that’s fine. On the other hand, if my daughter wants to become an author, I would hope for her to either write more books or sell more than I ever did. If she doesn’t want to write a book, that’s fine too. To make our children unstoppable, we can’t set any limits on their potential. Regardless of what our level of contribution and service to others will be in our lifetime, we should hope that our children out-perform us in all that they do—as long as they achieve happiness and success in the process.
We learn from our experiences, that’s common sense! One definition of common sense is to have an experience, good or bad, and then draw lessons and knowledge that we can apply to subsequent experiences. This ties in perfectly to parenthood because we’ve got twenty, thirty, and sometimes even more years of life’s experiences than our children. We bear the responsibility to steer our children clear of any regrets or mistakes that we’ve made. It’s just common sense that each generation doesn’t make the same mistakes!
Begin to embrace your leadership role and use every chance you get to inspire your child to achieve great things!