When I decided that I wanted to teach Serena about Leadership, I just kind thought that I would teach her to be, you know, a leader.
I guess, when I was planning the traits, I didn’t realize that being a leader really means that you have to master all these other smaller traits. Like you have to be good at making decisions. You have to be good at having self-discipline and discipling others. You have to be persistent and keep moving forward. You have to be willing to change direction when the course veers. You have to think outside the box. You have to draw your own doors and windows sometimes.
Well, that’s like five months of teaching right there! Oops. Look, it’s my first kid and my first blog, so I guess I’m allowed to make mistakes, right? LOL
Anyway, I tried to find some books that showed Serena some of these traits in the simplest ways that she can understand, but are also super fun and have lots of pictures. Because even though there are words there and she understands these words, it’s the pictures that tell her the story that she internalizes.
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During bedtime, we usually have a set series of books that we read. But right before nap, we started rotating a few of these books with the underlying theme of leadership. The first few times, I would read it to her and we talked about what was happening in the story. By the end of the month, she was reading the story to me by looking at the pictures and obviously by memory. I say this because the stories are that simple to understand.
Harold and the Purple Crayon – This is a simple book about a little boy who has a purple crayon and draws his way through an evening before bedtime. The whole premise around this is that Harold is four and only has a crayon. He, like most leaders, stays calm and positive when he can’t find the window he’s looking for. He makes quick decisions and is confident with his choices. Like leaders, he focuses on the solution instead of the problem. These are the key things that I drove home with Serena.
The Hating Book – This is a book specifically targeted for kids aged for preschoolers till 8-years-old. I chose this book because, well, duh, pictures. But also because conflict resolution is a big deal. Confrontation is something that most adults are not good at and avoid like the plague. However, leaders are good at talking about issues openly and discussing things. They’re good at confrontation. The Hating book just does that; it sets up a scenario between two young girls in elementary school who work out their differences when given the opportunity to think about why they might “hate” each other.
Giraffes Can’t Dance – What I really love about this book is that it’s super fun and calls for a lot of dancing. One giraffe can’t dance and he gets upset, retreating to himself. Eventually, with the help of some crickets and with the music within himself, he learns to dance. He becomes one of the best dancers in the jungle, showing that leadership is about not giving up on your dreams and listening to the voice inside.
I get asked all the time how do I get Serena to sit still and understand what I’m saying. And honestly, the simple answer is she doesn’t get it all the time. She’s 3.5 so let’s be real. But, like all people, repetition works wonders. How do you learn the words to a song? You listen to it over and over again. That’s how most kids learn, too. If you repeat key words and show pictures to them over and over again, they will get the idea eventually.
So, if we’re sitting around and dancing, we’ll talk about the giraffe and I’ll throw in some key words like “dream” or “vision”. If we’re reading during nap time, I’ll throw in other key words like “conflict”, “friendship”, and “choices.” I always throw out the word “leader” and “discipline” when I’m talking to her brothers in front of her. So instead of saying, “Do you want time out?” I will say something like, “I will discipline you,” just so she becomes familiar with the word.
I also use the word “leader” when I refer to her being “in charge” of her brothers. She has fun and I get a break watching her tell them what to do 🙂
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