Photo Cred: Arlina Pletcher of The Lighthouse Fine Art Photography
Today we continue our series on Developing Our Kids into Leaders. If you missed Part 1, Read it Here!
Leadership Principle: A leader believes in others, and uses their words to encourage and bring out the greatness in others.
We’re potty training Finn #prayforus….you know how it is..its stinky, its messy….unless you have some kind of wonder child you are liable to find out the poop hasn’t made it into the potty in a couple of lovely ways.
- Your older child steps in it…ewww…sorry bud #oldersibprobs
- You are making muffins on a beautiful spring afternoon, certain that everything in the potty realm has been taken care of for at least the next 20 minutes because you just had your child sit on the potty for 5 minutes. When in the midst of mixing the batter your son runs in saying “poo poo potty, poo poo potty” inwardly marveling at your potty training success because your son is already on day 2 telling you that he has to poop on the potty you exclaim “awesome bud, ok lets go poo poo on the potty” only to watch him open his hand to show you his poop…umm yeah…ok…that’s not quite what we were hoping for there…. And as you scramble to clean up the poop in his hand and the other logs that dropped everywhere but in the potty…an ingredient is forgotten in your muffins…and you end up having to buy store muffins the next morning for the event you were making said muffins for…why did I even try to make anything homemade during potty training week?
But in the midst of all these lovely moments, I keep thinking about the power of our tongues and how I am modeling and training to both of my boys how to lead others well. I believe in Finn, I believe he can get all his poop and pee in the potty. Not only do I believe in him, but I tell him I believe in him. I say “ you can do it Finn! You can get all your poop and pee in the potty!!!” And when he gets poop and pee in the potty…wow the celebration that occurs…you would think we had just won the Super Bowl #pottytrainingisharder Not only do I celebrate, but I encourage Caden to celebrate Finn in his successes! Caden does such a great job shrieking with delight and celebrating every drop of pee that lands in the potty! And you know what Finn does when we celebrate and dance and encourage him…he beams…you can see the joy and confidence he gains, as he accomplishes something new and hard for him and we recognize his accomplishment.
It all starts with our belief. If we don’t believe in the people we are leading, and then express to them the belief we have in them, we won’t ever be able to lead people into their full potential.
I want my boys to see and hear and experience the power of my belief in them and in my proclaiming it over them…so someday when they are leading a company, or team, or family…they will naturally look for ways to believe in others.
Have you ever had a boss who believed in you? I always worked harder, performed better and had a greater level of job satisfaction when I worked for people who believed in me. It wasn’t even a conscious decision most of the time, but I was propelled into greater things by those who believed in me and expressed that belief.
No one has ever provided a greater example of how to believe in people than Jesus. Jesus called 12 men, fishermen and ordinary people of no particular status or importance in the world’s eyes, to be his disciples. Over the next few years on earth, Jesus would pour everything He had into them. He trained them to hear the voice of His Father, He called them to go into all the world and preach the gospel after His ascension. This group of 12 was his only plan for world wide evangelization…wow…that is a lot of faith and belief. This same group of men would mess up in some big ways. Peter would deny him (John 18:15-17 & 25-27, they fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane after Jesus asked them to stay awake 3 times to watch and pray, leaving Jesus wrestle through alone what He would endure the very next day, the cross (Matthew 26:36-46), and one of his disciples, betrayed him (John 18:1-8). Yet Jesus believed in them so much that as He was about to ascend into heaven after raising from the grave He said “ Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” He trusted them to recreate and reproduce what He had given them, despite their flaws.
When I am having a hard time believing in someone, yes even my kids =) especially my kids….I go to Jesus. I ask Him to tell me who He has made them to be. Guess what! The vision He has for them is always better and more filled with faith then I have in my own strength. Then I write it down and I remember it and say it outloud over and over. I pray it over my kids. Until I also begin to believe it to! This is how we usher our kids into their God given destinies. We first have to understand God’s heart for who He made them to be, and whether it seems plausible or possible…when our jelly stained, mud covered blessing is throwing a fit at the top of his lungs in the middle of the grocery store…we choose to believe it and ask God for the gift of faith to believe in our kids even when all we see is the mess, and the fits and and chaos.
Leadership Principle: A leader is humble
In college I read a book called, Good to Great by Jim Collins. In spite of the years and Mommy brain I have managed to remember a few things from this incredible book on business and leadership. The great thing about this book is that the principles can be applied to any organization or I think role that you are in as a leader, including being a parent. I would highly recommend reading it, regardless of if you are in the business world or not.
In this book Jim Collins describes a concept called “the window and mirror”. His assertion is that a good leader looks in the mirror when there is a failure in the company. They have the humility to look at themselves and see how they could have contributed to a problem or failure. They will take the time to apologize for their own error and brainstorm how they can be a part of the solution moving forward. A good leader doesn’t walk around always pointing out people’s faults and errors, shaming them for their mistakes. They are aware of areas that people to grow in or change, but they offer grace, encouragement and effective training to help people overcome their weaknesses. And they always first look at themselves for how they can change and solve problems. Jesus did this, now Jesus is the only leader who is perfect, so He never had any errors to apologize for. But He never flaunted His perfection, if there was anyone who ever had a right to say “you messed up and I am awesome and perfect” He actually could have said that and been correct. Instead of flaunting His own strength and perfection. He lovingly taught others what the truth was. People were drawn to Him because He perfectly offered grace and truth to those around Him. He showed people how to obtain freedom and walk in the truth. He hung out with people who were shunned, people walking in bondage and sin, and instead of shaming them He showed them a better way and gave them a choice to follow Him. He never shied away from speaking the truth, but He spoke truth in a way that expressed love never shame.
When there is success, a good leader looks in the window. They look around at what others have done well and they celebrate their successes. We see Jesus do this all throughout His time on earth. When Mary broke her jar of expensive perfume on Jesus’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair as an act of worship and surrender, Jesus could have responded by saying this is what I deserve! Because it is, He is to be worshipped and honored, He is worthy of bringing whatever we value most and surrendering it to Him. But instead of saying that He honored the pure worship and love He saw in Mary’s heart and defended her actions when she was criticized He said “what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (Matthew 26:13)
As parents we have a unique opportunity to humbling guide and teach our children. Right now we are teaching Caden how to take off and put on his own clothes. My goal before Ezekiel is born is for him to be able to do this on his own. When we first started teaching Caden this he was not excited about learning…apparently having a butler do his dressing and undressing sounded like a great idea to him #thisisn’tdownton. It took a lot of encouragement and patient instruction to even get him to try. Even though we have been working on this skill for 3 months, he is still liable to have meltdowns about the pants that aren’t going on, or the shirt that is twisted. I have realized I have a choice in these moments as a parent. I can either get frustrated with him because I have already shown him how to do this a million times, or I can look in the mirror and ask myself how can I help him succeed.
The first thing I did was give him truth to speak over himself as he learns this task. We taught him a scripture verse to say when he gets frustrated, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philipians 4:13). And then I thought about how I could teach him better. I literally thought through ever nuance of the dressing process and tried to break it down in my mind to the simplest steps and showed him to look for the tag or writing on the undies, pants, and shirt because those go in the back. And then I have shown him patience by showing him again and again how it works. I have challenged him to try himself before he asks me for help, to say his scripture verse and then ask me for help. And guess what! He is getting it! There are so many days now when he runs up to me and says “Momma, I did it! I put my pants on all by myself!” and then there is much rejoicing because #wedon’thaveabutler. In those moments of victory, I choose to look out the window and celebrate Caden and his success, his hard work and perseverance. I don’t sit there and applaud myself for being such a great teacher (Ok, maybe I am giving myself a silent hand clap inside)…and that’s fine, but the focus of my celebration of success is on Caden.
I am convinced we teach humility by being humble. Our children will learn to lead with humility if that is how we lead them.
I have saved what I think is the most important leadership principle to teach kiddos for next time!
Until then, Check out Part 1 of this series!
I would love to hear your thoughts! How are you, have you developed leadership in kids? I would love to hear from anyone whose been around kiddos…parents, empty nesters, educators, babysitters, Aunts and Uncles!