Connected, Creative, and Courageous: How Kids are Changing the World

If you are new to Let’s Grow Leaders, on Saturdays I have been doing a connected series on Developing Leadership in Kids. On Monday, I continue with grown-up leadership fare. Today’s post is multi-generational in nature and should be of interest to leaders of all ages.

“Social media is about building a platform for leaders who used to be ignored.”

Don’t get me wrong, the grown-ups at TEDxWomen had a lot of important ideas to share. What we all found miraculous, however, were the young, connected women and girls changing the world through social media. Emily May founded the Hollaback Association to combatting street harassment by empowering women to leverage their cellphones and other technology.

Anita Sarkeesian is deconstructing the stereotypes associated with women in popular culture. She took on the gaming world with a fundraising campaign to fight against the depictions of women. She became the target of a wide-spread bullying campaign, and suffered multiple outrageous threats. She stood up to the connected bullies.

The subjects these young women are fighting against are so sensitive that they might not be suitable for some of my younger padawan readers, so I am purposely leaving out the direct links to their talks.

Julia and Izze: Connected For Good

Julia Bluhm and Izze Cabbe have a story appropriate for all Padawan viewing this Saturday morning. I hope you will share it with your tweens and teenagers. Julia and Izze are feminist activists. As part of a SPARK Movement action, they used the power of social media to share a successful petition asking 17 magazine to stop photoshopping the faces and bodies of women.

Click on their names to view the talk. You can easily advance though the introductory stuff and start it a 6:14.

Izzy shares…

“So a lot of kids are sitting at home with things they want to change but are not changing them because they think they can’t because they are only a teenager.”

They both then give insights as to how youth can get involved to make a difference.

Of course, if you just want a “the worlds going to be all right in hands like these” kind of feeling this Saturday morning, watch Brittany Wenger’s talk.

Brittany began studying neural networks when she was in the seventh grade. And this year, she won the grand prize in the 2012 Google Science Fair for her project, “Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer.” The resulting Cloud4Cancer service aggregates data from biopsies done with the fine-needle aspiration process, instead of the traditional and more painful surgical option.

We have a generation with many promising connected, creative and courageous youth. I encourage you to share their stories as inspiration for both youth and adults. We all have the power to use social media to change the world.

Developing Leadership Qualities in Kids

Thanks for tuning in to Let’s Grow Leader’s Saturday Series for developing leadership in kids. On Monday we return to our regular leadership fare.

Today is a guest post from Curtis Fletcher. 

Developing Leadership Qualities in Kids

Imagine almost any adult gathering you’ve ever attended. It could be a workshop, dinner party, political rally, anything. There are always those first few moments when the people who didn’t previously know each other begin to mingle and meet.

If you listen carefully to those conversations they contain some interesting probing questions about profession, education, hobbies maybe, but the answers are even more telling. The answers include job title, degree, or length of experience and credentials.

It’s almost comical how much adult conversation, especially introductory conversation, is spent in determining ranking. Who is going to play the dominant role and who is going to play the more subservient role? In short, who is the leader?

As adults we have all kinds of cues from which to draw hierarchy and we do it almost unconsciously all of the time. By way of example? How many are already wondering about my qualifications to be writing about developing leadership in children?

Because your typical kid doesn’t have this vast array of information to draw from leadership roles in childhood tend to derive from much more primitive characteristics: biggest, strongest, loudest, etc. You could even make an argument for parental social status rich kids win out over poor kids kind of thing.

As a result, unless we’re content to leave the development of future leaders to the whims of natural selection alone or some modern approximation of monarchical inheritance, we need to employ some adult wisdom in helping kids try on leadership to see if it fits.

This approach assumes that there is adult involvement in helping guide kids through the a leadership experience and so, as that adult, you need to help your young charge by taking four actions in regards to their leadership:

1. You have to Endorse it.

Adult endorsement helps kids overcome those tendencies towards natural selective processes. In fact, the less obvious the leader from the stand point of those bigger, stronger, faster characteristics the more important the adult endorsement.

Remember the objective here is not to see who naturally takes over, though there are times for that too, the objective is to help kids develop their own leadership skills, qualities and abilities.

2. You have to Define it.

Simply stated here you can’t just tell a kid to ”lead” you have to give them some boundaries. “You’re in charge for this project, or this class period, or this practice.” By establishing this kind of boundary you help the kid understand where their leadership begins and ends.

Just because you put a student in charge of the math circle doesn’t mean you expect them to be a kickball captain at recess but THEY may not know that unless you define the boundaries.

3. You have to Goal it.

As adults we hate being given charge of something for which there is no well-defined desired outcome. How much more so for a kid trying to sort out what it means to lead?

“You’re in charge Timmy, I need you to be sure everything is under control.” Yikes, I’d hate THAT as an adult!

“Suzy, I’m putting you in charge. We need to have everyone in their seat, tables cleaned up, at ten o`clock.” This is not only clear, but it is achievable. Even the language in this second example is better. Using the word “we” reinforces the endorsement of the leader.

4. You have to Evaluate it.

Feedback after the fact is important and a significant part of that evaluation should be living by the results of the choices the young leader has made. Let them know how they did but also let them see where their decisions lead.

We often think of natural selection as nature’s way of giving certain people an edge. If you want to give your young leaders their own edge in learning how to lead you can do so by making sure you Endorse, Define, Goal, and Evaluate their leadership experiences.

About the author:

Curtis Fletcher has been involved in teaching, coaching, and mentoring kids of all ages for most of his life, whether that was as a high school student corralling the younger kids at family camp, teaching in the classroom, or as a high school football coach.
Curtis currently leads as a Senior Manager with Hitachi Consulting helping corporations understand how to create excellent customer experience.

His blog is Unforced Perspectives

Note: Curtis is also great at developing grown-ups as well.

Making the Invisible, Visible For Our Children

How do we make the invisible, visible for our children? The next in our Saturday Series in developing leadership in kids. On Monday we return to our regular leadership fare.

A Guest Post from Sonia Di Maulo, Canada

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.Jonathan Swift 

Samuel picks up the slightest change in his environment. He senses that his mom needs a hug. And of course, mom is grateful. Later that afternoon, he deliberately annoys his little brother, and a mini-war ensues.

Samuel makes choices every day. At ten years old, sometimes he chooses well. What is it about his environment that leads him towards his choices?

Expectations

The connection he has with his mother is one of mutual trust, respect and love. In that environment, he is more in tune with the needs of the people around him. The connection he has with his brother has a heightened sense of competition added to the brotherly love. And so the same boy behaves differently in different situations.

As parents, how can we guide our children to align their words and actions to their values, independent of the environment? How can we help them infuse their surroundings with LIFE, based on LIFE-giving principles? With the ability to see the domino effect and to influence their future words and actions?

It starts with self-awareness.

A Dinner Activity: Making the Invisible, Visible

“Getting my kids to talk about the details of their days is hard enough”, you may be thinking, “How can I get them to increase their self-awareness to be able to see the connections that they affect everyday?”

At every dinnertime, I expect my kids to reflect on their days and to pick out one high point and one low point. This excellent game builds awareness of self and environment and boosts their ability to influence their future actions and words for the next daily report.

Game: High Point/Low Point

How to Play: Every member of the family shares the best part and lowest part of their day. Other family members listen and ask questions to get to the details.

Objective of the Game: Making visible, the lines that connect us all and increase self-awareness

Number of Players: 2 or more

Keys to Success: Consistent play every dinner time, make it fun, keep it short, show interest, encourage laughing and connection

Why Play? This game builds essential communication skills and cultivates family unity. It encourages:

  • Thinking about, selecting, and communicating emotional events in their day
  • Respectful listening to all members of the family
  • Conversation
  • Critical thinking and self-awareness
  • Building leadership skills from a very young age (as soon as they can speak, you can play)

We’ve been playing this game for years, at dinnertime, during vacations, and on road trips. We built variations on the theme and turned it into: “What was the favorite/least favorite part of your vacation, of the movie, of your field trip” and so on.

Try it with your family for a month and let me know how it goes.

Sonia Di Maulo M.A. ― founder, author, feedback enthusiast, speaker, performance improvement professional and creator of award-winning programs ― is passionate about helping leaders cultivate trust and collaboration.

This post is part of the Virtual Blog Book Tour for Sonia’s book, The Apple in the Orchard: A story about finding the courage to emerge. Discover the new vision for the world of work and get a glimpse into the power of living systems as models for sustainability, collaboration, and growth. Purchase your copy at www.theappleintheorchard.ca. Visit the other stops on the Book Tour on her Harvest Performance Blog.

 

Kid’s Books on Leadership For the Older Crowd: Insights from India


Thanks for joining in for our continued Saturday series on developing leadership in kids. Today’s post builds on the exploration of Children’s Books on Leadership.

On Monday, we return to our normal leadership fare.

A guest post from Sandhya Varadharajan,

Age 13, Chennai, India

I connected with Sandhya through social media from our shared connections and interest in books, writing and blogging. She is an avid reader who blogs about the books she reads. She has an inspiring process worth exploring with your kids. More info can be found on her links at the end of this post.

I challenged her to share her teachable point of view on leadership and the books that help to reinforce. I am delighted to publish her insights.

Kid’s Books That Inspire Leadership

I think these leadership characteristics are important and have quoted examples of the same from my reading of books.

In the book Tom Brown’s school days by Thomas Hughes, older students bully Tom. He fights them and makes them stop bullying him. The older students, who were focusing on bullying Tom, now start bullying other boys. Tom encourages the other boys also to fight against bullying and helps them do it. He also tells them never to bully any of the smaller students. When a leader suffers from something he doesn’t want the others to suffer and helps them.

In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Dumbledore the headmaster of Hogwarts gives Severus Snape another chance even though he becomes a DeathEater, a supporter of the Dark Lord Voldemort. He talks to Snape patiently and changes him into a good person. He even trusts Snape and makes him a teacher in Hogwarts. A leader always gives a second chance to others to change and correct themselves.

Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series wants to start a defence against Dark Arts group(Dumbledore’s army) because Dark Lord Voldemort has risen again. She wants Harry who is best in defense against Dark Arts to teach everyone defensive spells. A leader should initiate things that would help others.

Yukichi Yamamatsu is the author of the book “Stupid guy goes to India”. He is one of the characters in the book. He is determined to publish a Hindi translation of a Samurai Manga in India and he does it even though it wasn’t easy for him. A leader should be determined to do things however difficult it is. 

Akiko, from the young Samurai series by Chris Bradford, accepts the English boy Jack Fletcher to study in the Samurai school while the others think that he is not fit to learn the secrets of the Japanese martial arts and also think that he does not deserve to be in Japan. Akiko also accepts his way of thoughts and doesn’t force him to do anything. A leader should accept others way of thinking.

Aslan, the great lion from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, fights the white witch of the north to save Narnia till the end. He never lets go of the hope that they might win her. A leader has to be honest and should not let go of hope.

More About Sandhya

Sandhya is an avid reader and writer. She enjoys singing, bhajans, blogging and helping others to do all these activities.

Her Blog:  Sandhya.varadh.com

Her first eBook: Wizile (available for a free download)

Sandhya shares her suggestions for young bloggers in an interview with Vinaya Naidu

  • Get your book suggestions from other people.
  • Even if you don’t understand initially keep reading. You will start understanding every word of it in due course.
  • Write a few sentences about every book you read.
  • The more you read, the more you can write.

Kid's Books on Leadership For the Older Crowd: Insights from India


Thanks for joining in for our continued Saturday series on developing leadership in kids. Today’s post builds on the exploration of Children’s Books on Leadership.

On Monday, we return to our normal leadership fare.

A guest post from Sandhya Varadharajan,

Age 13, Chennai, India

I connected with Sandhya through social media from our shared connections and interest in books, writing and blogging. She is an avid reader who blogs about the books she reads. She has an inspiring process worth exploring with your kids. More info can be found on her links at the end of this post.

I challenged her to share her teachable point of view on leadership and the books that help to reinforce. I am delighted to publish her insights.

Kid’s Books That Inspire Leadership

I think these leadership characteristics are important and have quoted examples of the same from my reading of books.

In the book Tom Brown’s school days by Thomas Hughes, older students bully Tom. He fights them and makes them stop bullying him. The older students, who were focusing on bullying Tom, now start bullying other boys. Tom encourages the other boys also to fight against bullying and helps them do it. He also tells them never to bully any of the smaller students. When a leader suffers from something he doesn’t want the others to suffer and helps them.

In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Dumbledore the headmaster of Hogwarts gives Severus Snape another chance even though he becomes a DeathEater, a supporter of the Dark Lord Voldemort. He talks to Snape patiently and changes him into a good person. He even trusts Snape and makes him a teacher in Hogwarts. A leader always gives a second chance to others to change and correct themselves.

Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series wants to start a defence against Dark Arts group(Dumbledore’s army) because Dark Lord Voldemort has risen again. She wants Harry who is best in defense against Dark Arts to teach everyone defensive spells. A leader should initiate things that would help others.

Yukichi Yamamatsu is the author of the book “Stupid guy goes to India”. He is one of the characters in the book. He is determined to publish a Hindi translation of a Samurai Manga in India and he does it even though it wasn’t easy for him. A leader should be determined to do things however difficult it is. 

Akiko, from the young Samurai series by Chris Bradford, accepts the English boy Jack Fletcher to study in the Samurai school while the others think that he is not fit to learn the secrets of the Japanese martial arts and also think that he does not deserve to be in Japan. Akiko also accepts his way of thoughts and doesn’t force him to do anything. A leader should accept others way of thinking.

Aslan, the great lion from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, fights the white witch of the north to save Narnia till the end. He never lets go of the hope that they might win her. A leader has to be honest and should not let go of hope.

More About Sandhya

Sandhya is an avid reader and writer. She enjoys singing, bhajans, blogging and helping others to do all these activities.

Her Blog:  Sandhya.varadh.com

Her first eBook: Wizile (available for a free download)

Sandhya shares her suggestions for young bloggers in an interview with Vinaya Naidu

  • Get your book suggestions from other people.
  • Even if you don’t understand initially keep reading. You will start understanding every word of it in due course.
  • Write a few sentences about every book you read.
  • The more you read, the more you can write.

Leadership for Kids: A Great Way To Teach Your Kids About Leadership

What Does Your Mommy Do?

I have never had one of those jobs they sing about on Sesame Street.

As with most of us, the roles I have assumed over the years are hard to explain.

But if you ask my kids what I do, they have a short answer, “my mom is a leader.”

Probe further, and you’ll get more:

  • “She asks a lot of questions”
  • “She helps people figure things out”
  • “She teaches people stuff”
  • “She has a team”
  • “She tries to make work more fun”

They know because they live it.

Some would argue it’s because I have no work-life balance, and by some definitions, I suppose that’s true.

On the other hand…

My kids have learned about leadership by…

  • traveling with me
  • working booths at special events
  • sitting on my lap while I took on-line leadership trainings (they got the answers right)
  • watching me manage late night and weekend crises
  • overhearing countless calls
  • hearing me make tough choices
  • helping me host dinners for my team
  • seeing what makes me angry
  • watching how I handled stress (not always well)
  • sharing in my victories
  • processing the stories
  • partnering with me in volunteer work

Is this lifestyle for everyone, absolutely not. Are there tradeoffs? You bet. Everyone’s goals, values and circumstances are different. For me, letting them into my world and talking about why I do what I do, seems to help.

My experience has been that kids…

  • want to understand what you really do
  • are interested in how you make decisions
  • are capable of learning a great deal about leadership
  • can apply those skills in their own situations
  • want to talk about leadership

There is also more room for work-life integration than most people think.

Are you a parent-leader? Please enjoy our free e-book, Parents Guide to Leadership click here to download. 

 

leadership in kids

Children’s Books on Leadership– Questions to Inspire Young Thinking

Which children’s books are the most helpful in teaching leadership to kids? I posed this question in my online leadership communities, as well as to parents, and a children’s librarian. The suggestions came pouring in. So many of us have fond memories of reading as a child and of reading with our own children. Thank you to all who shared your stories of the stories you love and the meanings they hold.

In culling through the lists, it became clear to me that so many children’s books don’t speak of leadership directly, but they provide a great way to isolate one or two specific leadership variables. My son, Sebastian, age 7 and I went to the library and got a big stack of your suggestions. We’ve been playing a very simple game. We read the children’s book and then he tells me what leadership characteristic the book is about. He got so excited about the game that last Saturday he woke me up at 1 am asking to “play again.”

I am starting with children’s books for the younger set. I have some excitement brewing for the older crowd stay tuned.

Children’s Books on Leadership Foundations

Here’s a start from your suggestions, with links on where to find them.

Please add to the list through your comments.

Authenticity

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Tale of Desperaux

The Emperor’s New Clothes

The King’s Stilts (Seb’s most requested)

Incredible You

Perseverance

The Carrot Seed

The Little Engine That Could

Tortoise and The Hare

Creativity/Problem Solving

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Oh the Thinks You Can Think

There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon

Servant Leadership

The Giving Tree (most popular suggestion)

Rainbow Fish (for the youngest padawans)

Empowerment/ Process

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

Ox Cart Man

Teamwork

Crown Me

Stone Soup

The Little Red Hen

Some Questions That Spark Great Kid Conversation

What does this book teach us about leadership?

Who do you admire in this book? Why?

What other choices did ____ have?

What would you have done in this situation? Why?

What do you think happens next in this story?

You can also download the Parent’s Guide to Leadership Free eBook here.

Padawan Picnic: Let’s Grow Leadership in Kids

There are surprisingly few tools and discussion forums available on leadership for kids. I continue to get requests through my various social media forums. I am not an expert, but I see grown-ups showing up with gaps and blind spots that could have been nurtured earlier. What if we could start talking about leadership sooner in the game?

Welcome to the Padawan Picnic. For the next several Saturdays, I will host a series for and about developing leadership skills in children. I will gauge interest through your comments and participation, and we can decide together if this is a topic for a regular Saturday series.

My intention is to serve as host to spark conversation. I also welcome guest posts from those of you working on this every day through your parenting, home schooling, and community activities. Let’s work together to grow leadership in our children.

Some Starting Points

  • Best children’s books to talk about leadership skills (with discussion questions)
  • Guest posts from kids and youth on their leadership journey
  • Guest posts from grown-ups working to develop leadership in kids
  • Collections of best thinking and tools

Please comment and let me know your interest in this, what topics would be most valuable? Please also contact me if you are interested in a guest post.

If this is not your scene, please join me during the week for our regular grown-up leadership fare. I would appreciate you passing this along to others who may be interested in reading or sharing.

Namaste.

Karin

 

Padawan Picnic: Let's Grow Leadership in Kids

There are surprisingly few tools and discussion forums available on leadership for kids. I continue to get requests through my various social media forums. I am not an expert, but I see grown-ups showing up with gaps and blind spots that could have been nurtured earlier. What if we could start talking about leadership sooner in the game?

Welcome to the Padawan Picnic. For the next several Saturdays, I will host a series for and about developing leadership skills in children. I will gauge interest through your comments and participation, and we can decide together if this is a topic for a regular Saturday series.

My intention is to serve as host to spark conversation. I also welcome guest posts from those of you working on this every day through your parenting, home schooling, and community activities. Let’s work together to grow leadership in our children.

Some Starting Points

  • Best children’s books to talk about leadership skills (with discussion questions)
  • Guest posts from kids and youth on their leadership journey
  • Guest posts from grown-ups working to develop leadership in kids
  • Collections of best thinking and tools

Please comment and let me know your interest in this, what topics would be most valuable? Please also contact me if you are interested in a guest post.

If this is not your scene, please join me during the week for our regular grown-up leadership fare. I would appreciate you passing this along to others who may be interested in reading or sharing.

Namaste.

Karin

 

Leadership from A Kid’s Point Of View (Lucky or Skillful?)

A Saturday Salutation Guest Post

Sebastian Hurt, Age 7

Sebastian is my son, and a First Grader. He loves Jiu Jitsu, beyblades, and climbing new mountains. After much dinner table conversation on leadership and posts, he asked to write his own. I served only as typist. What a fantastic conversation.

He was troubled with all the stories from history and the Bible where people seemed to land into leadership positions and not handle it well. When listening to me talking, he said, “mom, all that advice is good, but sometimes people become leaders because they are lucky.”

 He started with thoughts on leadership “by chance” or ” by luck.” Here is where he landed.

Let’s grow leaders! Game on.

I have an intrigued heart and excited mind open to thoughts from your youth and children and would be happy to talk with them and promote their ideas. Please consider sending my way as a future Saturday Salutation (see below for a few others).

Seb’s Leadership Theory

Sometimes it’s part of leadership how you are born.

It’s not always fair and I don’t approve of it either.

You cannot be a good leader without proving yourself.

The only thing you need to be a leader is to show your mind and courage.

I will tell you about the four powers of leadership, both good and bad.

Mind: The mind can help you in your journey for leadership if you have calmness

Power: Power can be destructive and creative chose which one is yours

Sacrifice:: To be a perfect leader you must sacrifice your own time for your followers

Willingness: You must have the will to give your all

P.S . BOUYAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leadership from A Kid's Point Of View (Lucky or Skillful?)

A Saturday Salutation Guest Post

Sebastian Hurt, Age 7

Sebastian is my son, and a First Grader. He loves Jiu Jitsu, beyblades, and climbing new mountains. After much dinner table conversation on leadership and posts, he asked to write his own. I served only as typist. What a fantastic conversation.

He was troubled with all the stories from history and the Bible where people seemed to land into leadership positions and not handle it well. When listening to me talking, he said, “mom, all that advice is good, but sometimes people become leaders because they are lucky.”

 He started with thoughts on leadership “by chance” or ” by luck.” Here is where he landed.

Let’s grow leaders! Game on.

I have an intrigued heart and excited mind open to thoughts from your youth and children and would be happy to talk with them and promote their ideas. Please consider sending my way as a future Saturday Salutation (see below for a few others).

Seb’s Leadership Theory

Sometimes it’s part of leadership how you are born.

It’s not always fair and I don’t approve of it either.

You cannot be a good leader without proving yourself.

The only thing you need to be a leader is to show your mind and courage.

I will tell you about the four powers of leadership, both good and bad.

Mind: The mind can help you in your journey for leadership if you have calmness

Power: Power can be destructive and creative chose which one is yours

Sacrifice:: To be a perfect leader you must sacrifice your own time for your followers

Willingness: You must have the will to give your all

P.S . BOUYAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday Salutation: Postcard from the United Nations Youth Assembly

This quote set the tone for the 11th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations sponsored by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, which I attended this week. The focus was on youth empowerment, and how social networking can be used to create change.

“This is a guest post from my son Ben Evans, 17. Ben is a youth envoy to the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Organization, and recently served as a delegate to the National Youth Assembly at the United Nations. He holds a variety of leadership roles at school and church, and enjoys music and drama.”
“Youth are problem solvers, not problems to be solved.”
~Jasmine Nahhas di Flori

All of the panel speakers are fantastic leaders with truly amazing stories. Some were ambassadors from countries like Romania and Kenya. I also met Jacuqes Cousteau’s grandson and teens my age who have made big changes by starting something small. For example, Talia Leman began a trick or treating campaign when she was 10 years old, and has now raised over 10 million dollars for relief efforts around the world.

Each attendee was given a rubber bracelet with a personal QR code on it. When the code was scanned, all of my social networking information was immediately transmitted to my new friends and connections. Empowering simple networking with peers around the world.

I strongly encourage you to check out the following organizations which impressed me throughout the conference.

Education for Employment Foundation: (provides cellphones to connect Middle East youth with jobs)

Pavegen (harnesses the power of footsteps to create green energy)

Two Degrees (college campus-based programs selling energy bars to provide a 1:1 donation of food kits in third world countries)

Liter of Light (creates light in poor countries using only soda bottles, tin, and water)

“Being a leader of tomorrow does not exclude you from starting today.”
~Unknown