Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kids of Honor

I had the pleasure to work with a wonderful group of future leaders from the Salisbury, Maryland area this weekend.  These leaders ranged in age from 11 to 18. I rarely work with this age group so I wanted to pass along some observations that may help you create future leaders.

Kids want to learn how to be good leaders; they want to make a difference in their communities.

They know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad leadership, selfish and selfless leaders.  

They believe leaders have an obligations to "protect", "watch out for", and "keep their people safe".  Adults rarely use these terms.

These kids were courageous conversationalists. However, when working with kids, they need stories, models, examples, and videos to help them visualize possibilities.  We usually create an environment for conversation to unlock potential and bring forth opportunities; next time we'll be much more visual.

Our leadership skits were awesome and very relevant to their worlds.  Let them show you what they learned with a skit performed for the rest of the group.

Kids need to know you care about them before they will care about what you are saying.  Ask questions to let them know you are listening, so they know they matter to you, and so they can feel how much you respect their opinion.  Talk with them, not at them.

They want guidance on choices; they want to understand how choices could impact their future.

We asked our group of twenty five leaders thirty questions to help them understand key principles, definitions, and considerations for leaders.  Surprisingly, when we asked "What is Character?"  We heard a few proper definitions of the word character that did not include personality traits or values.  These kids had great integrity and character. We all need to find ways to identify and emphasize the importance of personal values as the foundation of personal accountability and leadership.

Two ideas that resonated in our conversation will create an impact with a group -   1) Leadership is a choice we make or don't make everyday.  2) The most important person they will ever lead will be themselves.

It was a great experience for me and my associate, Jen Scott.

I encourage you to support Kids of Honor or a like-minded group in your community.

Check them out. it will be worth your time.


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