There are many assumptions we can make when it comes to looking at our children as future leaders. What does leader mean? Can it be defined? Are there social assumptions we make? What is valuable in the culture? Is it a president, a mother, a great entrepreneur, a fabulous wife? What dictates or says ‘leadership success’ to us as parents?
All human beings have a potential. This potential is driven by our highest ideals, values and objectives. Alfred Adler, world renowned psychologist wrote, “every human is an architect, because he creates something from various factors and experiences.” When we look at our children, are they going to be the architect of their own dreams and desires, or are they going to fulfill our leadership ideals, or maybe a blend of both?
At the heart of leadership is ultimately aligning with our own inner value, worth and inspirational life objectives. Some of us are going to be great managers, some amazing artists and some passionate about raising chickens on farmland.
What is extremely important for parents to understand is that their definition of leadership will dictate what values they impose on their children. If you start with the assumption that leadership comes in the form of politics, sports or business, then if your kids decide to be an artist, they won’t be considered a leader by you. If you are fashion expert and your definition of a leader is runway models, aesthetics and beautiful garments, and your child turns out to own an ice cream shop, you may feel a sense of disappointment that they are not a leader. We often have our own definition of what a leader is, and it may not be how your child thinks or even cares about.
If I can suggest, that if your definition of a leader falls within a realm of your child living out their passion, following their highest ideals, expressing their gifts and talents, then being able to observe and appreciate that they are being leaders will be more effortless than if your definition of leadership is pigeon-holed into a specific persona or profession.
In India, it is classically and stereotypically commented that that their version of leadership and success is directly linked into being an engineer and doctor. And a like, in the western world we also place value in society on specific professions and downplay others…often narrowing the scope of leadership into what may be a financial payoff or place people in a ‘hierarchy’ within the social structure. This is what our mind manufactures as ‘leadership success.’
In contrast on the more human side, most of us are in awe of those who have mastered their craft. If their craft is literally sewing or metal work or teaching or athletics, we are inherently inspired by those fellow beings that have dedicated their life to mastering a specific talent, capitalizing on it, and expressing it in a way that aligns with who they are. Every four years we watch the global olympics as those people have mastered their craft. When someone expresses mastery, it is a thing of beauty. This is what tends to inspire us. The persona of a doctor or engineer may appeal to part of us that enjoys significance within the social fabric, but if you move from the mind into the heart, we are intuitively inspired and open hearted not at the status, but at the expression of human potential of a given craft. If that is our navigation point for our children, then here are three steps to ensure your kids are on that path.
1. Know what energizes our child: The amount of energy your child has for activities and their level of inspiration is definitely a cue to show if it is in their highest values. Watch carefully where they like to spend their time, what they talk about, what they dream about, what they gravitate toward. If they are playing soccer but talking and dreaming about building and throwing a ninja star, you may want to lower your expectations that playing for a European soccer team may not be in the cards. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but you as a heart centred parent allow your child to sort through that as you watch with a unattached mind. Revisit on a monthly basis what truly energizes your child, and help them to the best of your ability to live their highest ideal.
2. Encourage not what we like, but what they love. It’s not uncommon for us to attempt to live through our children what we didn’t accomplish ourselves. We see kids with limitless potential, and if they show some level of potential that we did not fulfill, we can quickly attach to their potential to live through them. The heart resonates with inspiration and love, not to what we necessarily want to see in our children through our limited perspective. When we expand our mind and open our heart, we naturally us phrases such as, “I’m glad that you love to do that”, or “I love when you do what YOU love.” Those are phrases that encourage their independence with as little injected values from us as possible. The background in their mind can be, “my mom or dad loves when I do what I love.”
3. Engage with them, even if it bores the heck out of us. Not everything our kids will do will align with our values. If we find ourselves snoozing, maybe that is a great sign that they are not following our path, but they are following their own. If we find ourself bored when they are excited and talking about something that is of interest, or a project they are dreaming about, see if we can stay inspired with them that they are following their own inner guidance, inspiration and value. As a heart centred parent, finding joy in what our kids love is a test of what our point of navigation is. Is their leadership based on what we value or what they love? Stay with them and enjoy their joy.
If our outcome as inspired, heart centred parents is to have children that follow their dreams and contribute to society in a way that’s meaningful to them, and that becomes the goal, then our minds will stay flexible and our hearts will stay open as we watch them reveal their gifts and talents. We stay with our fingers on the pulse on how to support them and we allow the flower to bloom and blossom in its perfect timing.
To the future,
Are You Ready to Become Resilient?
Sign Up to Receive My FREE Guide:
7-Steps to Harnessing Resilience