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Follow the Leader

on . Posted in Contributors

leaderThere’s a game I played as a kid and maybe you did too. It’s called, “Follow the Leader” and it’s pretty simple. You can do it inside or out, with a couple of friends or many. First you pick a leader among the group. The objective is for everyone else to follow behind that leader doing exactly what they do. By exactly, I mean, if they scratch their nose, you have to do the same. If they cough, you cough. If they ride their bike over a stick, then you have to ride over the same stick. For the leader, the objective is to try and eliminate the followers by coming up with complicated tasks that they either can’t do or forget to do.

In the game of life, the objective of a leader is quite the opposite. Whether you are the leader of your own children, grandchildren, neighbor’s kids, youth group participants, foster children, or your children’s friends, you want to make following your lead as easy as possible. You want the example to be worthy and upstanding. People don’t always know the influence they have over others at the moment they are with them. You may recognize the effect right then and there or it may be identified later in life. With your own children, however, I guarantee you are impacting their life daily whether it’s positive or negative, depending on your lead.

Think about today. Is your lead a positive example? If your kids did what you did, said what you said or disagreed about what you disagreed with, would it make you proud? Not everyone can answer yes to that question, at least not today, but why not decide right now to change or at least be more cognizant of your example to others. Here are a few things for you to consider.

Watch out where you go. Certainly as an adult you have the right to go anywhere, but are the places you visit, places you think are appropriate for your children whatever age they are now or when they become adults?

Watch out who you hang around with because you will become like the people you follow. Haven’t you given this same advice to your teenagers? It’s possible you didn’t have a good example to follow when you were a child. Don’t be afraid to stray from raising your children the way you were raised if it wasn’t a positive example. You have no obligation to do so. Are there friends in your life that aren’t the best influence for your children to be around? Maybe they’ve been a good friend for a long time, but you’ve changed and they have not. Either cut the ties or speak to them about their behavior around your children. That includes family members.

Watch out what you put in your mind. What you read or watch over time can sometimes influence your behavior. You may start repeating lines from a movie or television show that may be funny to you, but not appropriate for your children to hear. Movies, books, and television shows can have such a subtle impact on your behavior that you don’t even notice until your children act something inappropriate out that they learned from you.

The next time you do something in front of your children or anyone else’s, think about the leadership skills you are portraying and whether they are worthy to follow.

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