I have read about and observed leaders my entire life. I promised myself that if I ever became a leader, I would try to be a good one. People often look to others as models for leadership. We have been taught to believe that only educated, talented, successful, and brilliant people can be leaders.
There is nothing farther from the truth.
Here is a bit of news for you: Whether you know it or not, right now someone is observing you. Someone is looking to you as a role model for leadership.
Yes, all you moms reading this article, I mean you. Your daughter is observing how you lead. She is paying attention to how you handle the daily duties of life and learning by watching the way you manage the 15 million things you did today. She is learning how to lead by observing how you lead. She is learning basic people skills by observing how you handle people—especially how you handle your children. She is learning how to lead by watching and observing you.
She is also learning how to lead by observing how you navigate through your most important relationships: your family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances from church and your social group.
You are a very important person. I recognize that you’ve known this all along—you didn’t have to read this article to realize that. I just thought I would remind you.
Your son is also watching, mom. He is also watching to see how you love him and how you relate to his father and other men and women in your life. There is often a very strong bond between a mother and her son. You are teaching him how to be a good son and an even better man.
And mom, if you have another job outside the home, your children are watching and listening to discover how you handle those responsibilities as well.
Dad, your daughter is watching you. She is watching how you care for the family. She is watching how you care for her mother. She is watching how you care for the women in your life. She is watching how you care for her.
Men, please take great care to love and cherish the women in your world. Your daughter and your son are both watching you.
Dad, your children are watching. They are observing how your family handles personal finances. They are paying attention to how you communicate with each other, and they are observing how you connect with the world.
Here is one I am still struggling with. They are watching to see how you and your wife take care of yourselves: how you sleep, exercise, eat, hydrate, and handle stress. And most importantly, they are observing your relationship with God. Those little eyes are peeled on you.
Most people are intuitive enough to know that no one is perfect—not even those who pretend that they are. Your children’s eyes are not necessarily looking for perfection. They are observing to see how you do it—how you are handling life at its best and its worst.
If you have taught your children anything, they should know that you are not perfect. They should be told that you are striving every day to be a better version of you. You want them to grow up understanding that they will make mistakes. The best lessons we learn in life are the ones we learn from the errors we have made.
Don’t be discouraged. I believe God knew that you couldn’t do it on your own, so He promised that He would always be with you. Take heart, my friends—that’s why God gave those precious children to you.
And young people, I don’t mean to scare you, but the world is watching you as well. You are a leader too. You are a leader at home, with your friends and siblings, and even to your parents. Young lady and young man, each and every one of you is a gift of God. Say it out loud and believe it: “I am a gift of God.”
You are by no means an accident, neither were you a mistake. You are extra special. You are important. You are a leader.
Young lady, young man, promise yourself that you are going to be a good leader.
I want to stress the important fact that many people really don’t realize how much influence others can have over their lives.
My mother drilled these words into my heart: “Show me your company and I will show you who you are.” I heard those words so much it used to annoy me as a child. However, I have lived long enough now to know that my mother was absolutely correct—whether I wanted to hear it or not.
We often receive leadership data without realizing it from family, friends, and acquaintances. However, we also receive leadership data from sources that we intentionally seek out. Please take care where you are observing and from whom you are receiving leadership data.
It really is time to own the power of your life. God has entrusted each of us with leadership skills.
Constant contact with the wrong people and with inappropriate sources of information, whether consciously or unconsciously, can produce unintended consequences in your heart. It can also give you improper input. We need the very best input for the development of our own leadership skill set.
A chance meeting with a total stranger can have a significant impact on your life as well. A simple conversation, a word of encouragement, or a negative encounter can have a massive impact on your life for good or ill.
It really is time to own the power of your life. God has entrusted each of us with leadership skills. You are a leader, whether you know it or not. Accept it, declare it. Don’t run from it, run toward it. But whatever you do, promise yourself to be a good leader.
Leon Brown is the executive vice president of the Pacific Union Conference.