Why every child should be a leader

Every parent wants his child to be successful. Never mind the academic grades, but at least, be a leader. We feel uncomfortable if our children say they are doing something because they are told to do it. It’s better for our children to be independent, critical thinkers. Add being outspoken to the formula. It’s probably also good to suggest something that takes the team to a whole new level.

Why do we not want our children to be herd followers?

1. Leaders appreciate teamwork better

When children learn to be good leaders, they know the importance of teamwork. Their teammates, teamwork and group assimilation skills are better. They learn to forgive, accept and be receptive. They learn to compromise. Children get to understand to bigger outcome of what it means to have a team and how relationships with others matter.

2. They accept imperfection as part of the success journey

Children learn to empathise with others. This is important because when they need to achieve team goals, they have to consider the strengths and weaknesses of their group mates. Rejecting a slower team mate or someone with disabilities is not cool. They will learn how to involve everyone, if they truly value their team because proper team collaboration is essential for effective learning outcomes. Even though the child might think that completing the assignment by themselves is possible, in this digital era where collaboration is invaluable, it will be almost impossible not to connect with the team.  

3. Leaders gain remarkable abilities to concentrate and channel their energy.

We all want our children to be focused and have better attention span. Concentration skills do not just happen. They need to be cultivated. When students go through leadership training, they learn the power of slowing down and processing information more effectively. They are taught to see things from a different perspective. This takes time and over time, it helps children gain the power of thinking and with that comes the ability to concentrate on a task. With maturity comes the ability to make better decisions. Children learn to make decisions and this requires mental energy. It does seem impossible, but when children are made aware of how to lead, it does help them become more efficient thinkers –  and there is no time to be distracted by frivolous activities! 

4. Child leaders are more resilient

One of my students, Kaitlin, signed up for an internship that I organised with TTKGS. How many children would think of interning when they are barely twelve? Kaitlin had tried to be different. Her friends believe that she is full of great ideas but she wanted something more impactful and permanent. She signed up with Tang Tee Khoon, who is a professional associate of mine, through my recommendation. Kaitlin was nervous and I wondered too, if she was right. She was shy, nervous in front of strangers and now, interning with musicians? Through the internship, Kait learnt to communicate with her team and contribute good ideas without fear. Within a few months, she grew into a self-confident girl and went on to achieve an AL1 in her PSLE (2022). Leadership skills teach children to take failure in stride, accept criticisms while bearing the bigger picture in mind. It builds resilience and courage. 

So, every child can strive to be a leader in big or small ways. The sooner the exposure, the better. Embracing failures and team setbacks early in life can be great stepping stones towards future success. Be the parent who help your child grow into a gem that you will be proud of one day.

By Carean Oh, Writers Studio.

- Carean Oh

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