I listened to Simon Sinek talk about leadership and parenting. There’s a great deal of overlap. Leadership has a lot of perks, and becoming a parent certainly has its fun moments. Isn’t there a saying, practice makes perfect? Everyone can be a leader, but not everyone is necessarily equipped to be one. Everyone can be a parent, and yet not everyone is equipped to be one.
Don’t let that stop you! You can become a better leader, and you can become a better parent.
Consider the improved parenting… parents can read books and/or attend parenting classes. When I Google “How do I become a better parent?” there are pages of references and articles. When possible, parenting is a partnership. In the case of our children, the girls received their biggest advantages and best qualities from their mother, and a few from me, their father. 🙁 Additionally, since our children are not exactly perfect—though pretty close (just in case they are reading this)—the family joke is they received their worst qualities from me and a couple from their mother.
Our two daughters have grown into a couple of the most amazing women I know. The “parenting” (meaning rules, rewards, and even punishments) was typically done together. As parents, we were in agreement—maybe not on everything, but certainly the major stuff. Together is significant because the information conveyed verbally and emotionally, and any punishment, MUST be consistent, otherwise the mixed messages targets one parent as the “easy” parent and the other becomes the “bad guy.” Not good for the child, and certainly not good for the parents’ relationship.
There are three basic leadership responsibilities that apply to parenting:
- Model. Live the example you want your child to follow. I guarantee they will not always listen to what you say; however, they will watch what you do. If you are consistent with your actions, and your words, you are on the path to becoming a super parent. (At least, until they become teenagers. Then everything you have modeled will either prove you right or come back to bite you…) Once the teen years begin, you must model all the patience and love you can muster.
- Focus. This means teaching what it means to prioritize and live into important values. Work has to be done, yes, but make sure there is both fun and rewards. Life is not meant to be only work. When it is time to work, work hard; and when it is time for fun, play hard. Again, I say, focus on unconditional love and patience.
- Equip. Realize that your goal is to raise your child so that they become responsible and independent adults. Remember when they were first born and they needed something? You could tell from their cry. The “crying” changes as they grow up. The “cry” for help is up to you to “see.” And the best way is to equip them with a supportive, listening, relationship with you, the parent. Be available when they need you, not only when you are available. If you only help when you are available, you will miss the time they need you most. And if they aren’t asking you, they are asking a friend their age. How well is the friend of the same maturity level going to do? Be aware, available, consistent, and patient. Be the help that you wanted when you were that age.
As a grandparent, it is more of the same, except that you also have the privilege of sending them home with mom and dad! 😀
Want more on parenting? Keep an eye out for our newest offering—parenting classes developed by the John Maxwell Team and America’s Super Nanny Deborah Tillman, a Virginia-based childcare specialist and author! (Also a John Maxwell Team member!)
In the meantime, Happy Father’s Day!