When I got the call from Kim Stonehouse of St. Clare School in Calgary I though, “Wow,” a school having an entire one-day Wellness Fair. Kim is a person for whom the word “Leader” shines from her very persona. She wants every child in her school to be their very best: one of the reasons she has volunteered to help organize the school’s Fair. I was so impressed I changed my flight back from Vancouver so I could attend.
The moment I walked into St. Clare School I could feel the positive energy. A grade six student was assigned to show me to the classroom where I’d be giving my program on positive thinking. Again “leader” was the word that came to mind when I met him. He was self confident, helped me feel welcome and showed me what I needed to know. Everyone I met in the school had this attitude. I was stationed in Mrs. Morton’s grade 1 class. She is a phenomenal teacher who looks for every opportunity to assign a leadership role to one of her students. She calmly gives them whatever assurance and guidance they need and then steps back and lets them learn by doing. She’s the type of teacher I admire; she understands that leadership is not about “command and control”. Rather, she sets boundaries in which kids can grow to their full potential: “servant leadership”.
Seventh Century BC writings of Laotzu (a near contemporary of Confucius, who made Toaism popular) writes of how “Of a good leader, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say “we did this ourselves”.”
At the first morning break I met St. Clare’s Principal Giselle Leclair and everything then made sense. She sets a vision, then helps those around her succeed in being the leaders that they are. Every teacher I met in her school, quite clearly is.
Tips for growing greater leadership in kids:
• Role model to your kids that leadership is about helping others succeed in achieving a shared desire. It’s not about being “bossy” or “commanding”.
• Set the vision and the boundaries for success – make sure it’s clear what you’re trying to achieve and what is required to make it a success. If the aim is clear they will easily follow through.
• Get out of the way and express your belief that they can do it. When kids know that you believe they will succeed, they believe. What they think about happens. (Law of Attraction 101!)
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