Nurturing The “Childish” Out of Leadership

Nurturing The “Childish” Out of Leadership

As parents we may say our kids are strong willed or defiant. When we are completely exhausted and exasperated we may think "brat." But, would you be open to the possibility of "Great Leader?”

Childish Leadership But Still Leadership

While boarding a flight last week I was in line behind a family of six. Dad, mom, three boys and a girl were returning home from a Disney Vacation here in California. While on the jetway the little girl, the oldest, kept moving ahead of the boys and mom and dad for that matter.

She wasn't belligerent about it she would just take one step further to be first or in front. Her brothers knew the game well I'm sure from repeated play over and over and over again.

Her youngest brother would "pull her chain" just about every other step trying to get in front of her. He would shuffle his feet to get an inch advantage then she would take a step to regain the ground.

Shuffle, big step, shuffle, big step and on and on it went. I loved watching this play out as it reminded me of when our kids were younger.

As we got closer to the plane door the speed of the game picked up as well. Little brother shuffle, big sister step, little brother shuffle, big sister step. Little brother step, big sister bigger step, little brother two steps, big sister three steps until finally the younger brother scooted a little to fast and a little to far.

It was then that big sister grabbed the handle to the brand new Disney Cars backpack he was wearing and "yanked" him back to where she though he should be which was behind her.

Wise Minded Parenting

I loved how these parents were with their kids. The dad turned to his daughter and with a wise mind said, "We aren't going to do this right now." The tone was calm and gentle with a touch of exasperation. Clearly this was not the first conversation about this game.

He made the kids stand side by side right next to him so neither one would be first and neither one would be last. He was teaching them the values of sharing, humility and honor, all good stuff.

While they were standing side by side I could see the girl eyeing her little brother and then very slowly, with the stealth of a ninja and the quietness of a cat she would lean forward.

The dad looked at me as if to say, "I'm sorry you are having to endure this." So I told him that I was all to familiar with the game and let him know my own kids played it all the time. I told him what I would tell Mary when our kids would play the shuffle, big step, reach out and pull you back game.

"That's great leadership potential! All you have to do is nurture it!"

As I said, this was a family with four children. Only two children were playing the shuffle, big step, pull you back game. The other two were making sounds and noises and weren't in the least bit interested.

Somewhere in the big sisters DNA there is a leadership imprint. That imprint says be out front, risk, lead because that's who you are. You can't teach that as a parent, you nurture it.

Nurturing The “Childish” Out of Leadership

We nurture that strong will because if big sisters grow up playing the big step, bigger step game that later turns into a pull you back where you belong game we get leaders who are arrogant, self-centered and narcissistic.

We can’t “make” our strong willed kids into passive leaders. Being out front is in their DNA. When we don’t nurture the childish leadership we see demonstrated by our young children they turn into leaders who, when they don’t get their way, reach out, grab the person in front of them and pull them back. To them leadership is about being first not about being the best, the best they can possibly be.

Ephesians 6:4 says, "Don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master."

We see leaders today who try the "big step" and some who even reach out and pull others back. I wonder if, when they were younger and playing the shuffle, big step, pull you back game, they were ever taken by the hand and shown the way to go?


Photo Credit: Image ID:378013771 Copyright: ISchmidt