The month of February holds many important awareness days and celebrations but the one observation that clearly hits home for us at HOBY is National Parent Leadership and National Youth Leadership month.
HOBY’s mission is to develop our youth into great leaders and even better citizens. While we know our efforts are unmatched by other organizations also teachings these skills, we certainly acknowledge that our efforts are not the final step in the success of young people. Reinforcement from caring, involved parents and teachers is vital.
This February, HOBY wants both parents and active school and community members to recognize that YOU are the everyday life changers; that your roles as leaders are those that our younger leaders will emulate. It’s a big responsibility but it’s so important.
Start small. We are all busy but take a moment to reflect daily on how you are helping your child succeed– determine whether you are giving them the resources they need learn and practice their leadership skills. Are you nurturing their decisiveness, ambition, motivation? Keep the standards high and achievable… Your children will thank you.
To help parents reinforce leadership behavior, we found this great list of ideas by Founder and CEO of MyJobyChart.com, Gregg Murset:
- Lead, don’t follow — as a parent, do your best at encouraging your child to be in front of the crowd and not following it. We often tell our kids to blend in, make friends and feel comfortable. Children should be challenged to find opportunities to be first, take on additional responsibilities or get involved at school and in their communities.
- Respectfully challenge authority — let your child know that it’s OK to have an opinion and to support that opinion, even to teachers and other adults. The key, however, is to always present a respectful and educated argument. As adults, your child will face a world full of individuals ready to tell them how wrong they are, so let them learn now how to state their case.
- Support their passion — at some point children become passionate about something — school, art, sports, Scouting, theater, music, etc. Parents should support this passion but always guide the child to play a larger role, be a vocal leader of a group or lead by example.
- Don’t praise failure — somewhere along the way we became a society where everyone had to win, everyone gets a trophy and no one was allowed to celebrate on the playing field because it made the other team feel bad. At some point everyone has to fail. When it happens, help your child learn from it, develop character from it and understand that in real life, many successful people have failed before achieving greatness.
- Always stand behind it — Accountability goes a long way in any phase of life. Teach your child that being accountable will gain him or her respect and demonstrate maturity. Show kids the numerous examples when politicians, sports figures and young entertainers made mistakes and failed to be accountable. Then show examples of those who handled a bad situation totally different and how being accountability changed the public opinion.
Since marking a national month builds awareness, talk to your children about leadership; what it means to them, which leaders inspire them and what qualities they find most admirable in the leaders they know. Also ask them about the issues in their schools and communities that they feel passionate about or want to change. You may gain a lot of insight on how you are doing as their role model. Let us know what you learn! This could be the beginning of a life of service and leadership.