Some People Raise Good Kids (for Leadership)

By | August 17, 2019

[August 17, 2019]  Several of my friends and I got together the other day to review some of the progress we’ve made on military veteran issues in the state of New Jersey.  Unexpectedly, our conversation turned to our time in the U.S. Army (one in the U.S. Navy) and the quality of new officers.  What we decided was that the main thing that predicted good leadership was how parents raised their kids.

Now, that might be a controversial topic but speak with any senior military officer, and they will tell you that a proper upbringing is one of the best predictors of success.  Rarely does an officer step out of school and into a leadership position and succeed if they are from a terrible childhood.  This is a sad fact but a fact nonetheless.  And the military does not care; the senior leaders are only interested in good leadership, not how someone was raised.

Some people raise good kids that easily fit into military leadership positions.  Others don’t do as well.  The latter don’t succeed in other walks of life (a job, marriage, friends) without additional help.  There are many exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of those raised poorly will perform poorly. 

Parents are not the only variable that affects kids and how they succeed (or not) in the U.S. military.  Once a child is about four or five years old, their peers have a tremendous influence on them.  Anyone raising children should be placing young kids in an environment where they will find friends who are well behaved and liked by other kids and adults.  Likability matters a great deal.

People who have not learned the importance of being liked as children grow up to be self-centered, overly aggressive, and subject to emotional outbursts.  These traits are counterproductive in leaders and will push a military leader’s career off the cliff.  How parents and other relatives raise good kids is the subject of much scientific research, parenting how-to books, and leadership studies.

There are many ways to raise a good kid.  It is beyond the scope of this article to lay this out, but traditional ways of raising children have worked for thousands of years, and thus we should use those lessons for their value.  In the notes section below, I linked to a short, valuable article on the subject.


NOTES: 7 Ways to Raise a Well-Rounded Kid”


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “Some People Raise Good Kids (for Leadership)

  1. Bryan Lee

    I immensely enjoyed today’s article. Thank you.

    1. Tracey Brockman

      Yes, a good article. The author lays out the basics but gives poor examples. Just my thinking.

    2. Eva Easterbrook

      Quotable quote from another article I thought was excellent, “It can be easy to forget the importance of countering the pervasive messages of instant gratification, consumerism, and selfishness prevalent in our society.”

  2. Danny Burkholder

    You know a good kid when you see them (us being adults). They are immensely likable; ready with a smile and a hand. They are not running around screaming, throwing temper tantrums on the floor, etc. What boys do, however, is not the same as girls. We need to know the difference.

    1. Greg Heyman

      I often see in even the good kids a sadness. This is brought on by how the parent(s) treat their kids when out in public. Says more about the parent than the kid.

  3. The Kid 1945

    Parents and peers are the keys to any individual’s long-term mental (and physical and religious) health. We are also predisposed to our biological person too. Thus, both nature and nurture affect us; at different levels, at different times, and variably across our lifetimes. Parents are the most important factor.

    1. Lady Hawk

      There are terrible parents. I’ve seen it not just in their bad attitude and laziness but in their kids who are bratty, nasty, and can’t get along with other kids. Too bad for the kids; as their lives will be much less than they could ever be.

      1. Ronny Fisher

        Agree with you Lady Hawk. Much of this is also cultural, in how we treat our children. I see many subcultures in the US, where I live, like the inner cities where kids are treated like playthings and are now shown how to respect others, are not read to, are largely ignored, and considered ‘inconvenient.’ Don’t believe me, go to any inner-city store and watch how kids are treated in those stores by their parent (rarely more than one parent).

        1. Eric Coda

          I’ve lived in big cities and small towns during my lifetime and you are so right about the city life and how children are treated.

        2. Harry B. Donner

          Reading to very young children is a must. Showing them how to behave by behaving well yourself is a must. There are many ‘good’ ways to raise good children but too many muck it up.

  4. Doug Smith

    People don’t raise their kids to be military leaders, they raise their kids to be good people. The latter works for the former. 🙂

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      Sometimes, I don’t think they even raise them to be good people. Kids are often an after thought.

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