An average Nigerian child perceives leadership as being in a position of power, commanding respect, giving out instructions or dictating the modus operandi, but as a parenting adult, one way to find out your child’s views about leadership is to ask simple open-ended questions around leadership skills, qualities, values and examples. What your child will understand and believe about leadership is largely dependent on how YOU lead at home, so how can you show your child the leadership we all crave? Here are some things you can do:
Make service a core family value: Every member of the family can be placed in charge of one or more aspects of the day-to-day operations in the home. One person can be in charge of calling for prayers/meal time, another monitor’s the use of respectful language/behaviours, and another ensures a safe, healthy and organized environment, and so on. This creates a responsibility upon which each person can be held accountable.
Role-play Day: Choose a day within a month/quarter where one person renders the services of another to all members of the family. For instance, you can prepare your child for a role-play day by running him/her through your typical day at home so s/he can function well on the day s/he is to lead. Even if you think your child will be unable to cater for all that has to be done, it will teach your child to ask/seek for help when in need, show concern for a need, explore many alternatives to meet a need and also own up/apologise/take responsibility for not meeting a need. All these are leadership lessons.
Be exemplary: You have to be the leader you wish your child would become, first by being approachable to enable your child have open conversations with you and give feedback when necessary. Also, let your influence be perceived in terms of you rendering a service out of responsibility than by force.
You can get your child to be a great leader by using these simple strategies and as Ronald Reagan would say, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things; he is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.