Thursday, January 6, 2011

Leaders and Followers

One of John's biggest goals as a father is to raise our children to be leaders. That is often the conversation at the dinner table. It is much harder than it seems to be one. We often have to walk into uncharted territory and you never know how it will turn out. It must be human nature to want the approval of others and I think this effects our decisions more often than not.

We had a great learning experience yesterday. Dear Julia succumbed to peer pressure. Now the "peers" were actually Jack's friends and several years older than her. These friends have also been her friends for as long as she can remember but she has always been pining for their approval. What happened was trivial but Jack had his feelings hurt and Julia was able to see first hand the consequences of her actions. She chose to try and get the approval of Jack's friends at the expense of her loving brother. I am glad it happened now and not several years from now when peer pressure will be at its highest.

Sometimes being a leader requires you to do something others wont do and sometimes it just means saying "no".

Last year I had to make some tough decisions - many of the ones I made were against what others thought I should do. At first I didn't advertise my decisions because I was afraid of what others would say but eventually I trusted in what I knew was right for me and my family. The first step to stand on your own is usually the hardest.

I also think that being a leader does not mean making others follow you - it just means taking responsibility for your actions, walking through you life with dignity and grace, and relying on our innate nature to know right from wrong. It means taking some risks. It means you might fail.

How we look at our lives when we come to the end of it, I think, depends greatly on this.

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