What is it about our kids that sometimes brings out the worst leaders in us? How can we improve as parents, and lead our children the way we know they should be led?
There are plenty of things my children say and do that are embarrassingly out of my control. But there is a completely different set of things that my children say or do that is just screaming for me to LEAD. I love it when Orrin Woodward talks about the moments in life when he feels like something is going awry, and someone needs to do something. Suddenly he thinks, “Woodward, you’re the leader; now act like it!”
There are so many times (a day!) that I have to remind myself of that. “Terri, you’re the mom. Now act like it!”
There have been many times in my life when I have had to look the problem in the face, leave the mirror and behave like Mom, whether or not I felt like it. Did I like it? No way! Did I have to buck up and do it? You bet!
There were the temperamental times of early childhood, when I picked screeching toddlers off the floor of stores, and walked out, to show the children when Mom said “NO candy,” Mom meant “NO candy!” Once, I had to leave a full grocery cart at the register, apologize to the store employees and come back after my husband was home, without the child, to find and buy all that food all over again!
There were the occasional tantrums of the middle years, when the sound, “Eeeuuu! Gross!” was heard when a child was told what was on the menu for dinner. At one point, I started telling them the menu had 2 options, “Take it, or leave it!”
There were the tempestuous teens, when getting a bad attitude instead of compliance to a simple request seemed to be more the rule than not. There was more than one time when I had to tell our teens they were not permitted to speak to us with such disrespect.
The home is the toughest place we will ever have to show our leadership skills. Think about it for a minute. Families see us at our worst, know all the buttons to push, have unerring abilities to get under our skin and have to put up with us learning how to lead them.
It is also the most rewarding. Launching adult children into the world, seeing them
stand on their own and start to lead their homes is the gold star of success every parent/leader works toward. Watching them take what they have learned from you and practice their own leadership on grandchildren gives a sense of accomplishment unlike any other leadership role in life.