Close your eyes and think back to the time when your first child was born……
So much joy, so much love, so many wonderful dreams and good wishes for your baby!
Like most moms, I’m sure you felt enormous gratitude for having a baby, yet also a big and heavy responsibility for that little angel’s life and wellbeing going forward.
There’s a feeling that pops up in all of us, as soon as we become parents, that prompts us to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to ensure the health, happiness, and comfort of our children.
We go to great lengths to make sure everything is fine when it comes to our kids.
But the hardest part, as I’ve found out, is to watch (and let) our children fall, literally and figuratively, and stop ourselves from intervening and helping out so they can learn on their own. >>AND. THIS. IS. SO. HARD.<<
Falling Down Is Necessary
When toddlers are learning to walk, they keep falling down again and again. It’s that repeated falling and rising “workout” that exercises those little legs and makes them gain strength so they can stand up, hold their weight, and balance correctly until they can walk, and then run…… and then there’s no stopping them!
As parents, we need to realize that we must serve as positive role models to our children. Our adult life serves as an example of the “falling and rising” of all types of situations. We construct and strengthen our character this way, and we lead ourselves and inspire those around us.
While this happens, we should never forget that our children are watching.
How we act and react is the way they will learn social skills. And over the course of time, they will develop leadership skills to deal with and confront their own situations.
There’s a part of me that would love to wrap up each of my children in a pink bubble to avoid bad things from happening to them. Yet the truth is I would be doing them the biggest harm and disservice by preventing them from living and experiencing their own life.
Of course I protect them. Of course I watch out for them. But, honestly, the hardest part is to hold myself back when it’s their turn to experience life’s setbacks, no matter what these are: from a broken toy to not being accepted to the college of their choice.
Think of the Lori Loughlin scandal. She went too far and the results have been disastrous for her family, her career, and her community.
Lead Yourself First
Parenting styles differ vastly from one person to another. I believe the most important thing is to show our kids that we will ALWAYS be there for them, willing and ready to help and support in any way possible, while letting them learn the lessons that life needs to teach them. This is the one and only way in which they’ll turn out to be the remarkable human beings that we want them to be…
General MacArthur talked about people who embody true leadership as having:
“…the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.”
Don’t we all want our children to ultimately have these traits and be great leaders in whichever path they choose?
But let’s keep in mind that successful leaders ALWAYS lead themselves first. It’s the only way in which we learn effective leadership: what works and what doesn’t. That is why it’s important to teach children how to behave themselves first by being an example of good parenting.
Bottom line: Children learn by watching and emulating. The leadership role we take on as parents, and the lessons we teach them with our day-to-day behavior will stay with them for life and inspire them to become good leaders themselves.
Want to Be a More Effective Leader?
As a mother, wife, attorney, entrepreneur, and public servant, I have the honor of leading different “team members” (from children at home to seasoned legislators in the City Council) and effectively communicating the messages I need to transmit. Sometimes it’s easy, and some others it’s VERY hard. But no matter what, it gets done.
If you’re struggling to lead in one or many areas of your life, I can definitely help. I’ve devised practical and effective strategies, to help you regain control and focus on what’s REALLY important. I can show you how to move the needle to achieve your family and professional goals.