A child is not a leader of tomorrow. He is a leader of today. The child begins to lead from birth. Leadership simply means the ability to take responsibility.
The child takes the first step in leadership at birth. He cries when he is born to convince you that he agrees to live. Survival Instinct tells him to cry to secure his stay here. He lives by taking responsibility for his survival. From then on he lives a life of responsibility of calling attention to his basic needs.
He cries. He takes the initiative to begin to crawl without prodding. He begins to take steps to walk without persuasion. He moves from crying for his needs to asking and crying for his needs and later to asking for his needs. I think the process of child development is a message from the God that the child is born to be responsible. Responsibility here means leadership.
It has been established that the first step of leadership must be leadership of self. Until you leader yourself, you cannot lead others. The child is blessed with the ability to lead. I guess that is why one of the four baskets of rights of the child is participation. The key to participation is to involve the child in the decision making process in matters that concern him. If the child is to be involved in matters that concern him, we have agreed that he can take responsibility for protecting his own interest and if he can take responsibility for his own interest, it means he can lead.
I tell schools, who say children are leaders of tomorrow that the next time they want to choose class representatives and prefects; they should go for parents, teachers or alumni. My reasoning is that the role of class representatives and prefects are leadership roles, where a child is expected to take responsibility for others; therefore if children are leaders of tomorrow, it will be wicked to saddle him with the responsibilities of leadership before his time. It will amount to asking the child to do what he is not endowed to do by nature.
My point is appointing children as class representatives and prefect is an acceptance of the fact that children are leaders of today.
The child must be made to understand that leadership is not an option in life. He must be taught that the only way to live is to lead. He must also be made to understand that he needs to grow in his leadership capacity. As he grows older, he takes on higher responsibility.
I think this idea that a child is a leader of tomorrow takes leadership far away from our children as a very distant ability to be acquired in the future, when in actual fact without leadership qualities they will never see the future. The idea that children are leaders of tomorrow gives the children a wrong concept about leadership. Unfortunately, the part of the child you do not acknowledge will never be consciously developed. I think that is one of the reasons why the African continent lacks quality leadership today. We fail to prepare our children for leadership and expect them to lead when they arrive at the future.
Thank you for visiting. I urge you this day: Think the Child…Think Today…Think the Future…
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