There are many parallels in leadership and parenthood.
Earnest Shackleton was an inspiring leader during his missions to explore the harshest environment in the world, Antarctica. He was successful in that he held his crews together and kept their morale up, even during the bleakest of times, although he didn’t actually accomplish the exact goals he set out to achieve. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in leadership skills or true adventure!
In reading a book that highlights his leadership skills, I found that many examples can be applied to parenthood.
“Cultivate a sense of compassion and responsibility for others. You have a bigger impact on the lives of those under you than you can imagine.”
This isn’t hard to relate to when you are a parent whose infant is a helpless bundle of cuteness that must rely exclusively on your good will. When this ideal becomes difficult is when insidious, negative thoughts steal your compassionate thoughts away. “He did that on purpose!” or “Why would she do that?” are thoughts that make it almost impossible to find compassion or responsibility for the child. I try to take a deep breath, and ask calmly for the child to explain the situation. I have found that kids do dumb things for the best (albeit misguided) reasons, and it often gives me a hearty laugh. The experience always leads to a teaching moment, then the kids have to clean up whatever they exploded.
The impact on the family is felt in terms of peaceful resolution of a problem when you approach it with compassion and responsibility. Kids make mistakes (you did too when you were a kid, remember?), but I try to make it a learning experience instead of a shaming one. I don’t always succeed; sometimes I’m short-tempered or I jump to conclusions. When this happens, the negativity spreads throughout everyone in the house in a downward spiral – which leads me to the next quote:
“Do your part to help create an upbeat environment (at work). A positive and cheerful workplace is important to productivity.”
No one wants to do chores, as I frequently tell my kids after they announce like a news flash, “I don’t want to do chores!”. I allow music, and I try to do something productive where the kids can see that I have to work too. It is a challenge sometimes to find the patience and levity needed to talk and joke around with the kids as we work, but it is vitally important to keep spirits up – to keep them in a good enough mood to be cooperative. It’s the carrot or the chancla proverb.
Parents are the leaders of their family.
Children learn from example. If I can lead the kids by providing a positive example of attitude at home, then the kids are that much closer to the water that I can’t force them to drink.