Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teaching Our Children to Lead

He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

Our oldest son, age 4, attends a wonderful Christian preschool in our area. The teachers are fantastic, the kids in his class are sweet; all in all it's been a great experience. His teachers always rave at how well-behaved he is, how sweet, kind, and friendly he is. Our boy is all of those things!

Then, the dreaded impromptu parent-teacher conference happened last Thursday. Ugh.

His teachers said our boy had been talking yucky and not listening to instructions. The yuck talk is something we've been working on. He's picked up on a lot of it at the preschool from some of the boys who are really in to superhero pretend play, war play, etc.

We have nothing against superhero play, in fact, we encourage it. Pretend play is wonderful, and encourage our boy to pretend to be a superhero but we limit the 'talk.' No talking about killing, hurting, hitting, etc.

As I said, he's picked up on that kind of 'talk' from some of the other boys. He's brought that 'talk' home, we let him know it's not accepted, he complies, he forgets, then we do it all over agin.

After the parent-teacher meeting, I tried explaining to him why it's not ok to use that talk at school and how he must listen to his teachers. His response was, "Well XXXX says it."

I was not sure how to answer that statement. I could've just popped off and said, "Just because he does it, doesn't mean you do it." and leave it at that, but I really felt compelled to give him more.

I said a quick prayer, "God, please give me the words."

And the words that immediately flashed in my mind were, "Be a leader." Don't you love how God gives you what you need?

So, I explained as best I could to a fidgety four year old how in our family, we are leaders. Being a leader means doing what is right, even if others are doing what's not right. For our boy, that means just because his friends are doing the yuck talk, doesn't mean he should do it.

I said, "When you hear XXXX saying those things, remember that it's your job to be a leader. Lead your friends by doing what's right. It may seem fun to say the yuck talk, but you know it's not right and it always gets you in trouble. Getting in trouble is no fun, huh?"

Surprisingly, when I looked in the rearview mirror, I could see he was really listening to me (score for mommy!).  He said, "No, I don't like getting in trouble. I know I'm not supposed to say yucky things."

I told him that we understand that it's hard to always do the right thing, especially when his friends are all doing something else, but it's always the best thing to do.

I hope these kinds of conversations continue with our boy. Teaching him early the difference between right and wrong, being a leader versus a follower, and how to show God love all the time is going to be a lifelong training session for him.  And we're excited to be a part of it!

He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

How do you talk to your kids about being a leader?

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