Children follow parents
Students follow teachers
Teachers follow principals
Citizens follow the President
You might remember a commercial from the 1990s, I think, where the dad comes into the child’s bedroom and says, “where did you learn to do this?” in reference to the drugs he has found. The child replies, “I learned it from watching you!”
I’m sure it’s a hard parenting lesson to realize that you are your child’s first and most influential role model- for good and for bad. The choices you make for yourself, your child will see. The values you espouse, your child will copy, even when they’re surly teens.
I see it in so many places these days. In families, in businesses, in our government: attitude reflects leadership. I know a guy who runs a restaurant. When you talk to this guy’s employees, nearly every one of them will say that they love him, he’s a great boss, etc. I know the reason for this- he hustles. He doesn’t expect his employees to do things he isn’t willing to do. More than likely, they’ve seen him do all those things. Cook on the grill? Check. Clean up blood? Check. Clear tables? Absolutely. People want to work for bosses who don’t act as if they are better than their employees, but servants of employees. When the employees are happy, it is good for them all. I love that attitude of servant leadership and the spirit it conveys to employees.
I’ve seen it in schools too. When the building leader is positive and has a can-do attitude, you can see that in the teachers. When the teachers feel that from their leader and exemplify it, the children pick up on it as well. It is harder to have that kind of leadership model. Being negative is certainly easier than being positive, and either way it makes a real difference.
Ultimately, who is your role model for how to behave in life? Role models are not always positive, and sometimes they aren’t even there, but we’re all being affected by them – or their absence- throughout our lives.