Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story. 
-Josh Shipp

How can we learn leadership and life lessons from children? Aren’t we the ones that are supposed to be teaching them? It’s true that we are charged with shepherding the next generation of leaders in the world. Even still, children have qualities that we would be wise to model in our own life. 

Children have a knack for being curious.

I have a four-year-old that is always asking questions. It’s been fun to explain and teach about things that we take for granted as adults. At some point, we lose that strong curiosity that we had as children. My thought is that it stems from settling into a comfort zone where you don’t need to be curious anymore. You know very well about all the things in your comfort zone.  Grow your curiosity to learn more about the people and world around you. Try new things, learn a new skill, take a class in something that’s new to you. It doesn’t have to be overly academic. Many retailers are now teaching classes and workshops to help people gain knowledge and skills. 

Children find joy in the simple things. 

Both of my children find joy in the small things. We’ve had a box fort in our house for months now and it gets more attention than an expensive playset.  It’s very easy to get caught up in staying up with the Joneses. The newest, the biggest, the best. As disruptive as it is, I’m glad the generation coming into leadership now has had a tendency to invest in experience over physical items. It’s the simple things that bring lasting joy to us.  Remembering the time you went on a trip with a significant other will be much more impactful than remembering you had a generation 3 iPod. Enjoy those special moments that seem like no big deal. You’ll find that they will become treasured memories in the future. 

Children embrace diversity.

One of the things that I am most proud of my daughter for is her choice of friends as she is growing up. They have been an eclectic group of girls from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures. She sees friends, not the color of their skin or their background. As she has gotten older, she now understands some of their sociological situations and instead of it turning her away it has grown her empathy and care for those in a tough situation. It just goes to show that we are not born with our hangups and prejudices. We learn them. 

How do we begin to shed these barriers that hinder our leadership? First is self-awareness. Knowing that you need to grow stronger here is half the battle. Secondly, seek to understand the person or people group to see where they are coming for. We so often stop on the surface of a protest and make our judgments. Why are they speaking out? What perspective do they have that may be different from yours? Look through the surface to see what someone’s true motivations are.  You may find yourself with a different (or more educated) point of view. 

Look to children to remind us of some great traits that we may have left behind in our personal journey. 

Make a better tomorrow.