Thursday, September 20, 2012

7 Tools Book Club: Leadership and Communication

The Question
You know when people ask you, "What do you do?"

You may have been a rocket scientist, or maybe a teacher, or an Army nurse practitioner like me.

But now you are mom.  Does anyone say just, "I'm a mom" when they answer that question?  I try to, but it's hard to end it there and not try to qualify it with..."I'm a homeschool mom."  Or, "I'm retired from the Army."  Or, whatever.

The Answer
Years ago, long before I had kids, my very capable, intelligent friend who was also an Army nurse, and had 2 or 3 small children, replied to the above question with an answer that I thought was brilliant, "I'm raising the next generation of leaders."  Period.  No explanation.  She never mentioned she was an esteemed captain in the United States Army. 

I loved her answer.

Do you?  Here's what Zan says in her book:
"We want our homes to be effective, intensive leadership training centers."  (pg. 181)

The Pelsers 7 Tools Book Club

What is leadership? 
"Taking initiative to use your gifts to influence the world, improve and empower the lives of others, and bring glory to God in the process." (pg. 175)
King Belshazzar was King Nebuchadnezzar's successor and when mysterious finger's of a man's hand began writing on the wall of the king's palace, Belshazzar was scared to death.  He summoned Daniel when none of his wise men could interpret the writing.  Daniel read it and gave the bad news to the king.

Here are Daniel's leadership qualities according to Zan (pg. 177-178):
  • had the spirit of the holy gods in him
  • he was smart
  • he used his intelligence to help others
  • his character was sterling
  • he exhibited great courage and faith in the midst of adversity
  • he openly acknowledged God and gave Him the glory for his success
What was the secret to Daniel's success?
  • saying "no" to temptation
  • he had knowledge and wisdom in every kind of literature and wisdom
  • he prayed and sought God
  • demonstrated respect and discernment in dealing with others
  • he was levelheaded
  • he served those around him
Daniel's life makes an excellent study in leadership.  We want our kids to dare to be like Daniel.  Our homes are their training centers. 

Leadership does not need to focus in the political realm.  It should be focused on where our kids' gifts are...on where their bent is (like she said in the first chapter). 

What about Communication?
Zan's mention of the importance of good communication is brief. 

The bottom line?  "Children who grow up in families who communicate well will usually be good communicators."  They learn from observing you communicate with them. 

I have two things to say about that. 
  1. Make sure your children are comfortable speaking in public!  There is a Toastmasters program for children, there are numerous speech and debate clubs for homeschoolers, and the Boy Scouts have public speaking requirements to complete.  All are superb ways to learn and/or enhance public speaking skills.
  2. Good communication can trump other assets such as stellar grades.  Here is one example of why I say that.  
 A few years ago my husband attended a conference with influential American leaders, both military and civilian.  One of the attendees was a CEO of a large, powerful business.  This man told my husband that he hires the well-rounded college graduates with good communication skills who get along well with others who may, or may not, have top grades.  He said these people are masters at interacting with others and they will in turn hire the straight A students to do the math and technology work that needs to be done.  The straight A students work for the good communicators. 

How do you develop leadership and communication skills
 in your children?

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