[July 14, 2019] Yes! Not only can leadership be taught to kids successfully, but it is also being done all the time; we don’t call it leadership training. I am often at odds with parents who say it’s impossible to teach kids leader skills. The problem is not that teaching skills is important; character development is more crucial at their young age.
Look back to your time as a young child. You were taught to share your toys, not to hit or bite other kids, never to lie or steal, etc. The formation of one’s character begins early and never stops. Yes, we are teaching them to be likable so that other kids and adults enjoy being around them. This utilitarian function allows our leadership development to continue throughout a lifetime. Hated kids rarely become effective leaders.
Leadership can be taught to kids. There are many avenues by which we do this. Playing team sports, schoolyard activities, social hobbies, and even book clubs are the beginning of an intensity of training that waxes and wanes throughout our lives. Those who thrive on it are rewarded with greater responsibility and with respect and admiration. They are on a trajectory toward greater things in life. We should encourage them and demonstrate leadership in what we do. Kids can see a hypocrite from a mile away.
We teach young kids the basics. We teach them to tell the truth, to be honest, and open, and to help others to the best of their ability. Kids absorb such lessons quickly; often faster than an adult. The young mind acts like a sponge for information on how to be a better kid. If we teach them respect, they will thrive around others. If we teach them honesty, they will forever be trustworthy and loyal. These are the foundations of leadership that are universal.
Over the next week, while at Scout Camp, I’ll be writing about some of my experiences with young boys and their development of leader traits. Back on June 22nd, I provided a short list of questions that I will be exploring (see link here). There will be some surprises along the way and some predictable outcomes. I will also provide some of the top leadership lessons they learn. For example, they quickly learn that working as a team benefits them more than working alone.
I’m already packed and ready to go. Am I prepared (in Sir Robert Baden-Powell) way? Yes, I think I am.