Every human being has a right to build their capacities that lead to a happier life. And this attitude of exploring and progressing needs to be inculcated in a human being during the early years of development. As a parent, educator and care giver it is important to develop leadership qualities in young children. Let us get enlightened on why is it important and how can we develop leadership in children.
First of all, let us understand what is leadership development?
It seems a simple word but it is very significant to understand the meaning of it in today’s context, especially for parents and educators. Leadership has gone through variety of finishes over the years. Leadership is a phenomenon of your control on your emotions and yourself that eventually drives your life to the destination of your choice. Do we really have control on our own self? Let us ask ourselves the question if we are performing to the best of our abilities? A lot of children are not even aware of their strengths / weaknesses and do not know themselves. The process of putting those strengths into action and working to eradicate the weaknesses is what is called taking leadership. Certainly leadership can be cultivated easily in young children but that is possible if the adults in their lives during that phase are mindful about it.
Why is it important to develop leadership especially at a tender age?
Let us consider that someone goes through a very tragic experience of losing a loved one. No person can suffer one day, one month, one year or the rest of the life for that loss no matter what the relation may be. For example, you love your husband very much and suddenly you lost him in a very tragic accident. How much you suffer does not depend on how much you loved him? How much you suffer does not depend on how much he wants you to suffer? As a matter of fact, it depends on you and only you. You cannot control the whole world but you can control your own perception towards things. And that is why leadership is important which will enable you to manage your emotions well.
If you are walking through a very thorny path in the jungle, you cannot change the surface of the whole jungle but you can put on slippers to protect your feet. Leadership is finding our own slippers to live a happier, fuller and safer life.
When should we develop leadership in children?
Majorly we understand that 0 to 6 years of age is when the maximum development of the child happens. So most of the parents think when is the right time we should instill leadership in the child? I believe that it is not when from 0 to 6 years…… but you will be surprised to know that leadership should be instilled from the moment when a child is conceived in the womb of the mother. It begins with the emotional state of the mother. Actually it is very crucial that the parents should be emotionally, mentally, physically and financially prepared only then should they go ahead with planning for a child because the journey begins at the moment the baby is conceived. There are numerous researches that have proven that if the mother is emotionally secured then the baby is also emotionally stable. Emotions play a very important role in making us who we are. Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the most significant part of the overall well-being of a person. Certainly formal education also has a major role to play in developing leadership but the seeds are sown from the time of conception.
How should we develop leadership?
Prior to the process of developing leadership quality, there is a need to do an assessment to better understand where your child is? What kind of state of mind does it possess? What are their strengths, weaknesses, etc.? Many parents are not aware of this but a pre-assessment and post-assessment is very important when we do early intervention with the children. It becomes difficult to gauge what kind of impact the intervention is creating if there is no pre-assessment. And it becomes difficult to make any changes to the intervention if we do not have any post-assessments done.
Another important concept of leadership is to teach children regarding the two circles namely ‘AUC (All Under Control)’ and ‘ABC (All Beyond Control). If you focus on ABC circle, then you will end up being miserable. But if you focus on the AUC circle then things will automatically fall in place.
You can also develop leadership in children with lots of different activities some of which are mentioned below: –
– Developing interpersonal and intrapersonal skills of communication
– Self-expression (putting thoughts into words)
– Memory (short term and long term memory -The 3 R’s Receiving – Retaining – Recalling) (types of memory are visual, auditory and kinesthetic)
– Focus and concentration
– Creative thinking activities
– Fine motor skills development (Hand – Eye Coordination)
– Gross motor skills development (Body – Mind Coordination)
– Emotional and Mental Well-being activities (Emotional Intelligence)
– Social skills development