Making small adjustments in our lives in terms of vision, discipline, passion and conscience provide big payback on our leadership growth and abilities.
Vision requires our mental skills of using imagination and curiosity.
Discipline in turn uses our mind to control our physical challenges.
Passion arrives when we find purpose in our lives.
Conscience deals with matters of reason and free will.
Leaders innovate. They try new ideas. They listen to others’ points of view. If something doesn’t work, they try something else. Leaders don’t have to be geniuses, but they put into action Einstein’s advice of “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
As leaders of our families and communities—the best test of leadership—we must have a compelling vision of what and how we want our family and community to be. If something is not working for our family, we don’t have to follow patterns established by our parents, our jobs, our schools, our churches or our communities. We can innovate.
Our big question around which our vision, discipline, passion and conscience will converge is this: What do we really want for our family and our children?
Get a group of 20 parents together, ask this question, and you will discover that what parents really want for their children is this:
Parents want their children to have certain time-tested aspects of character that will help children be resilient to whatever circumstances they find themselves, at any time in their lives.
What are these character traits we want for our children?
- To have the ability to enjoy life;
- To value themselves; to be risk takers;
- To be self reliant;
- To be free from stress and anxiety;
- To have loving, peaceful lives;
- To celebrate their present moments;
- To experience a lifetime of wellness;
- To be creative; and
- To fulfill their higher needs and to feel a sense of purpose.
To get what we really want, sometimes we have to think differently.
For Rebecca in her growing up years, Saturday mornings had been family house-cleaning and chore time followed by a family outing. With fondness, Rebecca had continued this tradition with her own children. Resentment, though, was running high because her twin ten-year-old boys wanted to be on swim team, which required Saturday morning practices and meets, as well as money. Rebecca’s answer to the boys’ request was a flat out, “No.” Her husband, John, didn’t want to discuss the situation with her.
When the tension in the family became too high because of Rebecca’s resistance to the boys’ continued insistence to join swim team, Rebecca luckily had a leadership realization. Rebecca saw that she was trying to manage her sons, instead of leading them to see their worth and potential.
Rebecca and John called a family meeting to discuss the swim team problem. Rebecca started, “Your dad and I see that you really want to be on swim team, but we are not willing to give up important family time. We’d like to see what ideas we can come up with as a family so that we can have all our needs met.” After a discussion of several solutions, the family chose to do a two-month trial of changing the Saturday morning chores to Thursday night in order for Saturdays to be free for swimming. Family outing time was scheduled for Saturday afternoons.
When Rebecca made the decision to be open to new ideas from her sons, and not focus as much on controlling the schedule and managing details, a win-win solution emerged.
Rebecca and her family found that discussing and making small adjustments helped create the family they envisioned—each member helping each other discover their worth and potential.