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Values & Education

The Leader In Your Child

I was in Chennai and accompanied my daughter to my grandchild’s open day (in play school!) session. On enquiring about N (my granddaughter), the teacher, smilingly, said ‘Your daughter has leadership qualities’. Leadership qualities at 3 yr and 2 months!!

Nurturing The Leader In Your Child - Teaching Values To kids

I jokingly asked ‘Is she a Leader or a bully?’ as I knew N could get her way around. ‘No’ said the teacher, ‘not a bully; if she wants other kids to jump, she is the first one to jump. She sets an example for others to follow and now others look to her for a lead…’

Enough we have heard and experienced that the kid of today is real fast… they adapt to technology much faster than their parents; their retention is amazing  etc etc but leadership qualities at 3 years! It bowled me over!!

Leadership is not, usually, what we think to teach kids. I asked B, my daughter, whether she had taken any active steps to inculcate leadership in N? B laughed, ‘No Papa, what could I have done? Just normal parenting’.

I spent some time with B & R (N’s parents) learning which actions of theirs, in their belief, had helped inculcate leadership skills in N; and combined it with inputs from select members of my ubiquitous database; this is what I gathered:

    • B said ‘we never shied away from answering any query she may have; we actually encouraged her to ask questions; and how would you encourage a child to ask questions? Whenever R would come home, B would ask some pointed questions, which would evoke a definitive response from R. They never told to any query of her ‘not now. Don’t you see I am busy’. If our kids can ask better questions, they learn to be creative and it helps them find a solution to any of the challenges they face.
    • They never reprimanded her for any of her mistakes; they used that occasion to teach her how it could have been avoided. She learnt that everyone makes mistakes; trick is to learn from the same.
  • They always listened to her attentively; B, being a Masters in Advertising & Communication, knew the importance of listening as a basis of effective communication. Skills to communicate well, (yes, even in a 3 yr old) gives confidence and both are necessary for leadership skills.
  • B even involved N in planning her 2nd Birthday; what type of cake, who would she like to invite, what should we give for food etc. Planning is a necessary leadership skill – albeit with strategy
  • Perseverance – all kids fall while learning to cycle; all kids run scared when put in water but we parents ensure they don’t quit. I have always maintained that even a 1 yr old child can be really ‘spoken’ to. Teaching your kid to never quit; teaching that every act that seems difficult is conquerable is a leadership skill in itself.

We have to decide whether we wish our child to be a leader or a follower? It’s never too early, or too late for that matter, to begin teaching kids the basics in leadership.

Dr Chander Asrani, father to three daughters and grand father to one, is a post-graduate in Family Medicine. He has over 35 years in clinical practice, launched in 2000 and since then has been writing on various subjects. Know more about him at