Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who's a Leader?

Some people were just born leaders and others of us have to work at it. The funny thing is, that you can’t always tell who is who, but you can always spot a good leader. We have lots of talks on leadership in the Royal house. I have a 10 year old who was a born leader—one that no matter what she says or does, people follow her. I have an 8 year old who isn’t what you think of when you hear the word leader, but people are drawn to her and she always has a big group of friends.

For years, I’ve talked to Hope about making good choices and the implications on herself and others when she doesn’t. Sometimes she’s frustrated that “people always copy her,” but secretly, she wouldn’t trade it.

It’s just been recently that I’ve noticed Caroline’s leadership gifts. They are not the knock-you-down obvious ones like Hope’s. Hers are subtle. She will be a shepherding leader and lead others from inside the group—not in front of it.

Hope had the opportunity to go to a leadership thing last week for 10-13 year olds and she shined. As I was de-briefing it with a friend, I realized that my job as her mom was to teach her how to use her leadership skills at their maximum capacity—even though I am not the same type of leader that she is.

So, I’ve been very intentional with her lately. We talked about her KidLead class and why she chose to lead her group the way she did when it was her turn (which was utterly brilliant—she allowed people to use what they were good at to help the team), about how frustrating it was when her team didn’t listen to her and they lost (GREAT conversation about how to be heard and not pushy) and about how others led (was it effective? Would she have changed anything?). All amazing conversations where she was engaged and excited to discuss.

Because her gift is so obvious, I tend to focus on her, forgetting that Caroline is in the room. Last night, I was showing her a video I had taken of the counselors engaging their groups during worship. And Caroline was on my other side, listening and soaking it in, too.

And it struck me that while my job with Hope is to direct the skills she already has, Caroline needs just as much direction and focus from me.  With her, I need to teach her leadership skills (that will look totally different from her sister) and show her how to use them with her style.

I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes you gotta hit me over the head. As we were reading last night, I felt the Holy Spirit pulling out things in the book that were for Caroline as much as Hope. We didn’t talk about them before bed, but I’m looking forward to asking questions and hearing what she caught. I didn’t start reading “Kisses from Katie” to the girls because I thought it would give Caroline leadership examples. I’m reading it because 1) I’m trying to get my girls to start settling down earlier at night and it’s either read to them or yell at them for being crazy every night. 2) The book has been sitting on Hope’s dresser for several months and she hasn’t gotten past the introduction. 3) Caroline’s been begging to read it, but I don’t think she would comprehend it very well on her own—there are a bunch of big words.

But, once again, I’ve stumbled into something that’s working for now. Not sure it will work next week, but I’m learning that my job, as Hope and Caroline’s mom, is to take the opportunities that are in front of me right now and use them—not wait for the big moment I think will come next week.

Not rocket science, but some of us are slower on the take!

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