5 ways to help your child become a leader

1. Be mindful of the messages in movies. I really like how Mr. Stokes pointed out the differences between THE WIZARD OF OZ and STAR WARS in the video above. Our family watched Disney princess movies when my kids were little but afterward I was sure to point out to Arielle the importance of self-reliance and not needing a boy to make her feel whole. I put a lot of effort towards explaining the importance of an education over “happily ever after.”

2.  Teach Compassion. Leaders must have compassion for others. Whenever my kids would come home from school with a problem we’d talk it out. I’d try to show them the other person’s point of view. Books are a great tool for teaching compassion. THANK YOU MR. FALKER BY Patricia Polacco, BEEN TO YESTERDAYS by Lee Bennett Hopkins, UGLY By Donna Jo Napoli, CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White, WONDER by R.J. Palacio and WRINGER By Jerry Spinelli are all excellent books that teach compassion.

3. Teach Creativity! Leaders must have the ability to problem solve. Arielle and Kai attended schools that focused on the arts from kindergarten through high school. When they were little they had classes in piano, dance, drums and pottery. In school they performed in plays and musicals. Eric and I taught OM (Odyssey of the Mind). We took trips to see Broadway musicals. When I started this blog, Arielle and I used our creativity in the kitchen. Sometimes the recipes turned out great and sometimes they didn’t! Teaching creativity has always been one of my favorite parts of parenting. I miss all the little projects we did when they were little: paper mache, painting eggs, making bouncy balls…. Anyone need a babysitter?

4. Teach your children to have a Positive Attitude. I grew up surrounded by anger and depression. It’s no wonder I married one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. Mr. Smiley. Eric’s outlook on life is extremely positive. Teaching Arielle and Kai to see the light even in the darkest times is a lesson I continue to preach. Life will bring challenges and having the ability to stay positive builds strength and courage. There are many times when I go into a classroom as a sub and within minutes of talking to a student they’re telling me what’s wrong with them. “The cord was wrapped around my neck when I was born so I can’t….”, “My ADHD is the reason I…” I hear it all the time. Excuses for why they can’t be successful. Please parents, focus on the positive. Teach your children what they can do. Teach them that everyone is differently abled and capable of success. Attitude is key!

5. Teach the importance of  Commitment. Eric and I had a rule that once our children started a sport or an activity there was no quitting. This was a challenge especially when our excitement for the activity waned and we found ourselves wanting to stay home at the end of a workday. Still for the most part the rule held. I will be honest and say there was one time where I failed miserably to teach commitment and it still haunts me to this day. If I could have a do over on this incident, I would. It’s one of my few regrets. Her name was Riley. She was a sweet Rottweiler. We got her about a year after our Anna died. Riley was a handful! I was working full-time and overwhelmed. I found another home for Riley. Commitment to animals is a huge lesson that kids need to learn. I messed up with Riley. I always admit to my children when I’ve made a mistake and I told them…I should have kept her. I should have made it work. Commitment to activities, commitment to pets, and commitment to projects. Teaching kids to put forth effort and not give up is a lesson they will carry with them all through life.


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