Ideally, all leaders should be beacons of example for young people to look up to. Ideally, leaders should be exceptional role models. However, it might be unrealistic to place this responsibility on anyone, especially leaders we don't know personally. We really don't know what these people are doing behind closed doors, the details of their lifestyle, what they really stand for, or who they really are. We're just speculating that they are living the lives we see in the forefront. We assume that they are compassionate, honest individuals. What we see could very well be a faÃ§ade, a seemingly perfect picture painted for the public.
Examples of horrible leaders: Most politicians aren't great leaders. Politics is a lot of propaganda, finger-pointing, cover-ups and throwing others under the bus when things fall apart. The opposite of great leadership. In addition, many are caught up in various scandals, corruption, fraud, or spend their free time posting their wieners on Twitter. Many business executives aren't great leaders. They are too busy embezzling, laundering money and stealing from investors. Most in the church aren't great leaders. Some pastors are too busy encouraging all manner of evil and guilty of not practicing what they preach. In addition, many are simply filling pews with no real conviction as to why they are even in church. It's no surprise when we hear of teachers who morph into pedophiles, and proceed to date their much younger students. My personal favorite is the, sex, drugs and alcohol, pop that booty, drop it like it's hot and make it rain, message pushed by entertainers. Yep, do what feels right with no regard to consequences. After all you only live once, who wants to waste time anticipating consequences?
As far as our kids are concerned, family members, especially parents, should be the ultimate examples of leadership. With such intimate examples, our children will grow into better individuals overall. We always tell our children not to be followers, but we never really take the time to teach them how to be leaders. We relinquish that task to the media and other random individuals in society, then wonder why our children are running amok. The key to not being a follower is to be a great leader, and it's never too early to start teaching our children how to be great leaders.
How do we teach our children to be great leaders? We build their self-esteem; we teach them it's okay to make mistakes, but they have to take responsibility for their actions; we teach them that it's okay to have opinions that are not mainstream, and to be unafraid in voicing that unpopular opinion; we give them opportunities that teach them how to be great decision-makers.
Some parents might think that they aren't great examples or that their leadership abilities are mediocre. That's not a problem because what's important in terms of leadership is building character. If all else fails, designate someone who is well-known as a mentor. Qualities such as honesty, humility, confidence, being a great communicator, being a great listener, being empowered and fearless, and being focused are character traits that can be learned within the family unit. We should be our children's most excellent example. At the end of the day, no other standard counts.
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Ebonie Jones is an Editorial Contributor with MNI Alive
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