The Vision of Parent LeadersJAMES STENSON
The real mission for parents is to raise their children toward responsible adulthood. No challenge is more important than this, and so great parents emerge in family life as real leaders. How do fathers and mothers lead their children effectively? To form a picture of parental leadership, let's look at the characteristics of leaders and see how parents fit the profile of leadership in family life.
The real mission for parents is to raise their children toward responsible adulthood. All the dynamics of family life lead to this: what kind of men and women the children will grow to be. No challenge is more important than this, and so great parents emerge in family life as real leaders.
How do they do this? How do fathers and mothers lead their children effectively? To form a picture of parental leadership, let's look at the characteristics of leaders and see how parents fit the profile of leadership in family life.
Here's a broad statement that you'll probably agree with: In business and professional life and in affairs of state, our most respected leaders are those who look farthest toward the future and foresee oncoming perils and opportunities. Respected leadership and strategic foresight go hand in hand. The farther and clearer the vision, the greater the respect.
It seems that this dynamic works in successful families, too. Parents all kinds of men and women with different temperaments succeed in family life through their confident leadership. Successful parents base their confidence in knowing they have this sacred mission to carry out with their children. They see themselves raising adults, not children. They have been called by God to carry out a job, and that holy task is this: to lead their children with daily sacrificial effort to grow into confident, responsible, considerate, generous men and women who are committed to live by Christian principles all their lives, no matter what the cost. Being conscious of this mysterious and sacred mission, holding it always before their eyes, is what turns these parents into great men and women themselves, real heroes to their children, and makes their family life together a great, rollicking, beautiful adventure.
Effective parent leaders look at their children and picture them 20 years from now, as grown men and women with job and family responsibilities of their own. They seem to understand a truth of life: Children will tend to grow up to our expectations or down to them. So, these parent leaders set high ideals for their children's later lives. They think of their children's future along these lines....
Consider this: Public monuments are never set up to honor someone who intended to do something.
Leaders act. Though they spend time in study and planning, they mostly act. For leaders, study and planning are a ramp-up for action, not a substitute for it.
Moreover, real leaders never let indecision lead to inaction. When confronted with several tough choices of action, they do not shrink back. They brace themselves, choose what they judge as the best way forward, and then set to work as best they can.
Sometimes great leadership means just this: doing the best you can with what you have. If you're climbing a mountain, you sometimes have to backtrack or surmount obstacles or thrash your way through tangled shortcuts but as long as you keep moving upward, you'll reach the summit. The one thing you don't do is quit. Neglect to do nothing is the worst mistake of all.
Parent leaders, too, understand the consequences of neglect. They know they have a job to do a change to effect in the minds and hearts of their growing children. And they draw courage to act from foreseeing what awful things could happen to their kids if that job remains undone, if their children retain the flaws and selfishness of childhood into adult life. For instance....
James Stenson. The Vision of Parent Leaders.
Published with the permission of the author.
James Stenson gives permission to copy or e-mail this folio or any others from his Web page (see below). He asks only that you include the following attribution statement at the bottom of each folio: "Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this material for private use. It is taken from the Website of James B. Stenson, educational consultant."
James Stenson is the author of Anchor: God's Promises of Hope to Parents, Compass: A Handbook on Parent Leadership, Upbringing: A Discussion Handbook For Parents of Young Children and Lifeline: The Religious Upbringing of Your Children among others. Mr. Stenson is also the author of numerous articles and booklets including the very popular Preparing for Peer Pressure, A Guide for Parents of Young Children and Successful Fathers The Subtle but Powerful Ways Fathers Mold Their Children's Characters. An educator, author, and public speaker, Stenson was the co-founder of The Heights School in suburban Washington, D.C. and founder and first headmaster of Northridge Preparatory School in suburban Chicago.
Copyright © 2004 James Stenson
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