Many parents have high ambitions for their kids. Some want their kid to become an IAS officer, some want it to crack CAT and qualify for IIMs and eventually land a high package corporate executive job in some fortune 500 company, some want their kid to appear for NDA and become an officer in defense forces and live a life of honor, some want it to become an entrepreneurs or a business leaders.
But most of them have no idea about what it takes to become any of these. They can only think in terms of which entrance test their kid need to pass, which exam to appear for. It seems to be so simple but it is not .In addition to academic excellence what other indispensable quality that they need is “Leadership”. Does your kid have all the qualities to become one?
Then, comes up the question, whether leaders are born, or they are reared as one. These are important questions that need to be answered and every parent who cares for the future of their kids should know the answer.
Are Leaders Born – Nature vs. Nurture
Some say that leaders are born, they have it in their genes, and some say one can train an average kid to become one. It’s an age old riddle and psychologists are still grappling with this conundrum. I am not a psychologist, who has done research, or has studied psychological tomes, I speak from experience. I tell something that is true because it has been true in all ages and in all times.
The truth is that leaders are born; they have it in their blood, in their genes. But it is also true that not all born leaders become one in real life. Here come the role of nurture. So you see it’s a combination of both that produces real leaders in life.
Nature has done its job wonderfully well if it has endowed your child with such enviable qualities as intelligence, strong nerves, conscientiousness, gregariousness, boldness, competitiveness and stamina. If your child is full of energy and loves to lead its team in sports, if it’s eager to learn new ideas and concepts, if it is always ready to accept new challenges, and try new things and if it is inspires other kids, know that your child is a born leader. Now, it’s up to you, how you help your kid develop these qualities and nurture it.
Back to Your School Days
There may be some parents who may not agree with me and scoff at this idea. I ask them, to take a walk down that memory lane, those hazy, dreamy, romantic, carefree school days when they were in 5th class or 7th class.
What do you recollect, how you were as a school kid, how you behaved in class. Then those faint memories of those brilliant kids who were full of energy ,gregarious, popular ,bold , who took part in elocution completion, drama completion, poetry recitation competition, read news in morning assembly, storytelling completion ,took active participation in sports, let it be anything , cricket, football, badminton, table tennis and their zeal to lead and to excel, to come first.
Then there were kids, backbenchers, introvert and recluse, lost in their thoughts, miles away.They never participated in extracurricular activities, never took interest in sports, never raised their hands to answer the questions the teacher asked, even when they knew the answer, and when forced to stand up and answer, how they stammered, their voice shaking and speech incoherent. They avoided all direct confrontation with the bright kids in the class, the more competitive, popular ones, and even their teachers. They led a hum drum, mundane, routine life.
Now, don’t you think that its self evident that kids as young as 10 to 12 years old have their unique personality, don’t you think it’s a proof that few kids have all the qualities that are required to make a good leader and few kids utterly lacking in these qualities.
If you accept my truths then also understand that it’s not sufficient that your kid has all these qualities, know that you will have to nurture these qualities and strengthen it to make something out of it.
Different Kind of Parents and How They Influence Their Child
There are some parents, who spot these qualities in their kids early and they realize that their kids has potential which can be further enhanced by proper guidance and support. They try to add to these qualities by training them in the areas where they are lacking so that an all rounded development may takes place.
These are the parents who see that their kid is doing well in school and is actively participating in extracurricular activities, and they are satisfied with it. They don’t bother to develop it further. Worse, if their kid is not doing well even then they are not bothered, they are too busy with their own petty issues, leaving their child alone to find its own way. Such children even though talented and having all the good qualities grow like weeds on the sidewalk. I mean they are at the mercy of nature and that big game of chance called fate.
Over Demanding Parents
Then, there are over demanding parents who cannot see, that their child suffers from nervous debility, is fearful, timid, passive and is an introvert. They none the less force their kid to participate in extracurricular activities, and when it refuses to take part, they admonish it, humiliate it or abuse it. They ask their kid to recite poem in the company of their friends or relatives and if the child refuses they get annoyed, and when the company has departed, box their kid for humiliating them. The child does not understand anything and feel abused. They reason; it was a party and they were suppose to have fun, not some poetry reciting competition. Are they wrong!
Abusing and Over Domineering Parents
These are highly successful parents, either the father or the mother or both hold a high position in life. They are leaders in their own fields and are used to give orders and admonish there subordinated when the job is not well done. They forget that at home they are not some high ranking govt. servant or corporate executive but mothers and fathers. They treat their kid as they treat their subordinates that are by giving orders and dictating their terms.
When their child is unable to follow their orders or refuses to do so, they punish it either by their fearful intimidating glance or worse corporal punishment. The thought that their kid may be just an average kid, mediocre child, does not even occur to them. They cannot believe it even if God were to manifest itself and tell them that I have made you child an average child they wouldn’t believe it.
Philosophy of Master and Slave
If a man has served for a long time under a master like a slave or a servant, and has grown habitual of following orders either out of fear or a perverse morality, will never become a master himself even if given a chance. He does not know how to behave other than to obey and follow orders. He looks for commands and orders to guide his actions.
Future of Child
So if your child has grown up following orders ,whether its deciding which subject to study in college i.e. art ,science or commerce or which profession to opt for. Chances are that it will not become a leader .Even though it was born a leader.
Let it be anything .It would not become an IAS officer, or a high ranking corporate leader, or an army officer, or an entrepreneur ,or a business leader .The reason is clear, all these posts require leader ship qualities like moral integrity, intelligence, planning ,taking quick decision, presence of mind ,strong nerves especially when facing difficulties, giving orders ,admonishing your subordinate, courage to venture in new territory ,determination to go on in the face of insurmountable obstacles, and ability to motivate and inspire others by setting good examples.
The poor parents ,by the time their child is fully grown up ,will not be able to witness, how it stammers when facing an interview; how its nerves fail and it ends up shaking and sweating; How it gives wrong answer to obvious questions or resort to lying and fabricating , too scared or too timid to tell the truth.
They will not be able to see that w hen called upon to take decision , how their child looks up to someone else, either its immediate boss or worse its junior to make a decision for it, thinking that it’s being prudent and just seeking advice. They will not witness, how their child accepts harassment, abuse and mental torture as a way of life .As something natural and it calls it being worldly. Such parents wonder and keep wondering why their child did not become like them. What went wrong? Why did their child turned out to be an average run of the mill industrial laborer and not a leader.
Why Only a Few Are Able To Make It through IAS or CAT or NDA Exams
It’s not without reason that out of the very few selected for interview only a lucky few make it through .Passing the exam is not everything. It only shows the aptitude, not the character.
The UPSC panel looks for a few qualities, whether the aspirant has confidence to command or not, and its moral integrity. After scoring a superb 98% percentile in CAT, many IIM aspirants fail in the interview. Here too the panel is looking for, leader ship qualities, self confidence, presence of mind, ability to take decisions quickly. How it handles stress and performs under pressure. And if they see any sign of anxiety, nervousness, indecisiveness, ambiguity in thought pattern. They reject it and send it home as unsuitable for managerial jobs. Same is true with defense forces, police forces or foreign services as diplomats.
Some Advice for Parents
So, if your child has inborn leadership qualities, don’t stifle it by becoming an over demanding or an indifferent or an over domineering or worse an abusive parent. Handle it with care as you handle a wet earthen pot. Encourage its good qualities, appreciate its achievements, and give it support, cheer for it when it leads its team in a school sports event.
Special Advice to Fathers
Every father should know that his child’s first challenge is his father himself .On the road to his manhood, the first rival he will have to confront will be his own father. If he cannot confront you he will not be able to confront any other man in this world .So, if by some lucky chance your son proves his point, accept it with an open mind and give him the credit for being right.
How to Develop Leadership Qualities in Your Child
If your child lacks all the above mentioned qualities of a leader, and still you want to make a leader out of it. Take it to a good child psychologist. May be by an early therapy your child will learn to overcome its fear, nervousness, dependencies, lack of confidence, pessimistic outlook and may develop some positive qualities of a leader.
You Have Done a Wonderful Job
If your child improves then think that as a parent, you have acted wisely and laid the foundation for a better future of your kid. Now your kid may grow up as a successful responsible adult and above all a good human being.