So you think you want to teach your kids to be leaders, right? Followers are not only weak, unoriginal, and uninteresting, but what you really want is for them to not follow the bad kids. You have the old “Would you jump off a bridge if…” talk. You teach them about the dangers of gateway activities that lead to serious jail time. You want them to be strong, thoughtful, stand-up citizens!
Well, you’re wrong!
Sorry, to tell you, but you are all very wrong. I thought the same thing about my child, and seeing as how everyone’s children and lives are exactly the same… I was wrong, and so you all must be wrong as well.
To be honest, I really didn’t need to teach my son any leadership qualities, they came very naturally to him. You know what I mean, he’s bossy. However, at times I feel obligated to do some kind of parenting on my kid, so I nurtured those qualities in order to prepare him for Kindergarten. Before attending public school he had spent very little time with large groups of children, so he and I had a few talks about how; he is his own person, he knows what is right or wrong regardless of what others do, he wasn’t to tattle or whine about the other kids, all that good stuff.
Lo and behold, it all paid off! Exactly the opposite way I had anticipated.
In Kindergarten here in Blanco they have a system for when the kids get in trouble; “flipping your clip.” When I pick my son up from school I ask him how his day went and whether he had to flip. He’s not a perfect child, surprise surprise, so one day when he admits to me that had to flip his clip I’m not shocked, but I am put-off when he won’t tell me what happened. Luckily his teacher will write a short note on why, so I take a peek in his notebook and see, “Threw a BIG rock at recess.” Not just those little playground pebbles, but a BIG ROCK.
Cautiously, with a little fear of the answer, I ask him, “Did you throw this big rock at a person?” I mean, I know throwing rocks in general isn’t great, but I would be a lot more concerned if this rock was thrown in anger at another kid. He answers “No.”, but doesn’t immediately give up any more details. After a minute he admits, “Mom, other kids were throwing rocks too! We were seeing who could throw the farthest!” For a moment I want to ask if he was the one who threw the farthest, but then I realize… “You were just throwing the rocks because ‘that’s what the other kids were doing?’ We talked about this, buddy! We do NOT make poor choices just because other kids started it!” How ashamed I am, all my hard work down the drain. He’ll be a follower for life. Never accomplishing anything on his own, forever the assistant.
“No, Mom. I started it.”
So there you have it. I’m no longer worried that my son will follow the bad kids. Now I’m worried he’ll lead them.