As a mom of two, I am incredibly proud of both my children. Not only for what they have accomplished, but for who they have become. I was at the beach with my 12 year old daughter, Leslie, yesterday and I witnessed something amazing! This made me so proud, that I am still thinking about the impact it has had on me.
There was an incident at the beach, at the beginning of the summer, where Leslie was pulled away from her friends and under the water. She had to be brought to shore by a quick responding lifeguard. Since that incident, she has refused to go to the beach. I was finally able to get her to go, but she was adamant that she would NOT be going near the water.
She had a friend with her and somehow or another, they made it to the very edge of the water...they decided to play "chicken". Here is where it gets good. I will break this down and connect it to the leadership lessons I learned from her...
Leadership Lessons From Leslie:
1) Take Risks: Even though she was scared, she moved past that anxiety and literally jumped right in, for the greater good. She knew that her friend wanted to enjoy the water and she didn't want to limit that.
2) Join In The Journey: Leslie decided to join her friend, go alongside her and take the "plunge" together. Later, as others joined the group; she would take the hands of the younger ones, walk with them, stay with them and keep them steady.
3) Invite Others In: Leslie noticed a girl on the beach, who was an acquaintance from school. She went over and invited her to join in the game. I happened to be sitting near enough to hear the conversation between her and her mom after Leslie left. The girl was so excited to be included (I got goosebumps). As they began playing, I watched as the group of two, grew to three, then all of a sudden it was 6 kids, wide. Kids that didn't even know each other, that Leslie invited in.
4) Be Empathetic: The group moved to building a sand castle. A little toddler wandered over to the group. He had a toy tractor truck that he kept driving all over the sand castle. The kids were getting really irritated. The little boy was just about to completely take down one of the structures that had been built and I watched as Leslie gently took his hand "Come over here, why don't you build with me?". She redirected and avoided disaster.
Her classmate really seemed to be struggling with what this little boy was doing. Later on Leslie said "I'm so proud of "Grace", she has anger problems and she handled it all really well." I asked how she knew about the problems and she told me that she has somethings on her binder at school to help her and is allowed to take "breaks" when she needs to. She told me very mater of fact and with out any judgement.
5) Lift Up Others: Throughout the day, I witnessed Leslie figuratively and physically, lift others up. She praised the others on their effort and sand castle building skills. She made sure to include everyone and say something positive to each. When they were playing "chicken", and a wave knocked one of them down, she was right there to pick them up and help them get steady.
6) Involve Others: We are all better together and I saw that Leslie believes this, as well. She made sure to include everyone in conversations, helping them to collaborate.
7) Check In: During the game of "Chicken", I watched Leslie continue to count the kids after a big wave had knocked some down. She wanted to make sure they were all still with her. If someone did get knocked down, she made sure to go over and check in, see how they are doing.
8) Have Fun: When we packed up that day, she said "That was a great day, thank you for taking me, I had a lot of fun!". In the car, her and her friend talked about their adventures and the new people they had met. Life is so much easier, when you are enjoying it. Why would you not?
I'm sure there were many more lessons I learned from my girl, yesterday. But beyond the lessons learned, I am incredibly proud that this girl, who used to be just "bossy" has evolved into a leader that I would be proud to emulate.
Not all leaders have titles, many do not. A leader is someone that people WANT to follow. Who do you lead? Family, students, team, other leaders??
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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