P-A-L stands for Parent As Leader. Whether or not you’d ordinarily think of yourself as a leader, the plain truth of the matter is, and there’s no getting away from it, that you as a parent are a leader. You are the leader in your child’s life. For some, you may be a leader in many children’s lives, if for example, you have a large family, you are a teacher, a youth leader, a foster parent or possibly you could be the parent in the neighborhood whose house children flock too like bees around nectar. Perhaps you have taken on the role of parent having married into a family and inherited one or more children.
Both parenting and leadership carry a tremendous amount of responsibility and of course bring with them an abundance of joy! As a parent you want to be the strongest influence in your child’s life. Be mindful and aware of the relationships and dynamics that your child is engaged in at school, neighborhood friends, activities etc. By the time your child is seven or eight they are influenced equally by both you and their friends and so it makes sense to be involved, know, see and hear the friends your child is spending time with.
One of the best things you can do for your child is to be present.
Children want your presence rather than presents. Being present isn’t always easy in this mad dash world. Busy work schedules, endless activities, and multitasking definitely aren’t working unless your purpose is to perpetuate the productivity wheel rather than to zero-in and hold the space for your child. If time is a challenge then focus on spending good quality time with your children instead.
Spending quality time with your children is so important not only because it is time you cannot get back, but also because your child craves to spend it with you, their parent. Certainly your child will likely remember in years to come the game you played with him or her, or the trip to the beach, circus, or the library far more than the hottest latest and greatest toy you purchased.
So how can you be more present?
Here are just three simple ways you can have more presence and be more present with your child:
- As a coach and parent I spend time listening deeply to my clients and my daughter. As parents listening to your children is crucial. Really pay attention to what they are saying, how they are feeling. It’s not half listening, while you watch a TV show or talk on the phone with a friend. It’s being fully 100% present, in the moment, in their moment. It’s seeing, hearing and feeling what your child is communicating. It’s also listening for what’s not being said and paying attention to their body language. Turn off the TV and sit round the dinner table and really listen to what your child has to say.
- One way I get to help my clients experience better outcomes is through asking powerful questions. As parents that is what we need to do with our children too. Be interested in their day, who they spent time with, what they did at school, who they played with, what was the best part of their day and what part was challenging or difficult for them. As parents and leaders teaching our children to think more critically is also key. Helping them to think through the realm of possible answers to their questions rather than just feed the answers to them out of brevity and convenience. This reminds me of a proverb.
“Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish ,and he will eat for a lifetime”.
- Whenever your child asks you a question try turning it around and answer back with a question that helps them find to find their own answers. What do they think? What could it be, or where might they also look to find the answer? Enjoy spending time together, being creative with your child. As an Author not only do I love to write, I love to read, and I love spending time with my daughter reading. Recently my daughter and I had a ball creating a fun book which began by clipping pictures from several magazines including travel, horses, and family fun. She visually picked out the pictures that she would then articulate later into words, and so her book was born. This is something you can do too with your child and it’s a lot of fun. Fostering creativity is essential in your child’s life and will reward them greatly for life and indeed our world as we develop our future leaders. We seem to be educating children away from being creative and as we know innovation is the key to the future. Perhaps you love to dance, write, draw, paint, bake, or cook with your children or maybe have fun with creative dance or theater. Do make it a priority to spend time and encourage your child to be creative, to express themselves.
Give your child the best gift today and give them your presence rather than your presents. Build positive, cherished memories that last a lifetime by focusing on being the best gift rather than purchasing the best gift.
This week I have the honor and privilege of being present and teaching students entrepreneurial skills and leadership in our schools and blessed to spend time with my daughter in the process. Any opportunity I have to take her with me to educational seminars is wonderful too. As parents one of the greatest gifts in addition to our presence is the gift of education, for personal growth and development. My daughter also loves to participate and help out when I teach at my seminars good practice for our budding entrepreneurs!
We are excited to be attending an event soon, one we have frequented many times previously and one where I’m incredibly honored and excited to have been invited to speak at this time and would love to see you there too especially if you have a desire to write a book proposal, meet publishers like Morgan James Publishing (who published my book “A Champion’s Guide To Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer”) and learn more about publishing options and marketing! We’ve learned a lot from fabulous mentors including Brendon Burchard #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of “The Charge ” – Activating The 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive. For more information about Author 101 University March 6-9th go here: http://author101university.com
How will you show up this week? How can you be more present with your child or children? What creative activities could you do together?
Feel free to share and comment below love to see and hear your thoughts, ideas and what you love to do with your children?
In the meanwhile, Love, Serve, Lead Make a Difference, Leave a Legacy!