Developing Our Kids to Be Leaders

With two of our children nearing adolescence, we know that we are reaching a crucial stage in their lives. In the culture around us, the tendency is to extend adolescence much longer than the historical norm. This is not a healthy path.

We know that developing responsibility and facilitating independence are not learned overnight. With our kids, there have been hundreds of conversations, corrections, and teaching moments -- and there will be hundreds more.

The end goal for our kids is not just their ability to take care of themselves. They must also learn how to be blessings for others. Being a leader means taking burdens on one's own shoulders, in order to provide relief to others.

Parenting is about being a leader, and helping our children be leaders. Therefore, we must be sure to learn from leadership resources, not just parenting books and blogs. And the best leadership blog I have come across is by Michael Hyatt.

More specifically, I have been mulling over the principles he has outlined in The Five Levels of Delegation. The five levels are:
  1. Do exactly what I have asked you to do.
  2. Research the topic and report back.
  3. Research the topic, outline the options, and make a recommendation.
  4. Make a decision and then tell me what you did.
  5. Make whatever decision you think is best.

Delegation is hard for a worrisome control-freak like me, but it is crucial if I want to develop leaders, whether in the workplace or at home. And it's important that I help those under me (children or employees) increase in levels at an appropriate place. Move too slowly and they will develop unhealthy dependence, passivity, and frustration. Move too quickly and they will become discouraged and fearful.

The five levels listed can be seen as the continuum of moving our children from being under authority (through age 5 or 6) all the way to adulthood. Here are some ways that we have helped them develop as leaders and as contributing members to our family:

Of course, we are still learning in this process, so I'd love to hear from you in the comments: What are you doing to instill responsibility in your children?

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**image courtesy of Natalie Kolb via flickr

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