Leaders take initiative. They see where a job needs doing, and they do it. Learning to go ahead and meet the needs before being asked is a huge leadership skill. Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Church, used to watch for upcoming leaders by leaving crumpled bits of paper lying around and then waiting to see who would notice and pick them up. Learning to take initiative precedes acquiring the skill of delegation.
Leaders inspire others to go higher. Teach your children to encourage others. Start by making a conscious effort to first encourage them. It is easy to miss seeing the things they do right, while consistently pointing out what needs to improve, because we want to put the necessary changes in motion. However, we need to praise them for doing well even more than we correct them. That is not natural to our human nature. The only way to accomplish this shift in our parenting is by persistently asking the Holy Spirit to give us His perspective on our children. “Lord, help me to see them through Your lenses, and open my eyes to what they are doing well.”
We can also inspire our children to go higher by challenging them to tasks or levels of accomplishment which are a little above what they feel capable of. This takes wisdom from the Lord, so as not to expect so much from them that they become overly frustrated. Keep a watchful eye, and be ready to step in and assist them if the task you have assigned to them seems to be stressing them out.
Give your older ones the opportunity to teach younger siblings skills which they have already mastered. Remind them to coach and cheerlead their little brothers and sisters onward. This is a great way to stretch them and help them mature.
Leadership does not involve bullying, tyrannizing, intimidating, manipulating, heavy-handedness, or expecting others to bow down to us.
- Teach your children to be advocates for one another and for others. Use Jesus, the Elder Brother, as their example. “… We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). An advocate is a champion, supporter, and defender for someone else.
- Teach them not to boss each other. This can be a task which requires great vigilance!
- Teach them to give to others with no strings attached.
Instill in your children the concept of sonship. In a properly functioning family, one child is not loved more than another by the parents. So it is in the Kingdom of God. There are no “haves” versus “have-nots.” God does not have favorite children. We are all His favorites. There are no second-class sons and daughters in His family. Some of us are closer to our heavenly Father than others of us, but it is not because He has a love for one more than for another. It is our choice. He gives us equal opportunity for intimate relationship with Him.
Now, I know. The Church has not done very well with the sonship concept. We’ve developed a caste system in our midst, giving preeminence to those more outwardly talented or beautiful, and implying that ministry function determines value of the individual person. Let me just say that this is a problem stemming from our fallen nature. It is not the heart of our Father in heaven.
Someone has to reform the whole mess, and I can’t think of a better way than by teaching our children where we went wrong and how to operate differently. As we raise up our future leaders in truth, they will influence others for change.
Perhaps the task of raising up a new generation of leaders from within your family seems daunting. Yes, it is — and we can’t accomplish it on our own. I’ve tried to give you a vision for what can be, along with some practical steps to get there. But, as with all our attempts to parent well, the way to success is through leaning on the Holy Spirit for guidance. We can’t possibly form Christ-like character in our children without His insight to help us. Ultimately, even if we are the best parents in the world, He is also the One Who must do the work in our children’s hearts.
So, depend on Him, and follow His leading to the best of your ability. If you do, He will see to producing the fruit in your children.