The column "Leadership Whiteboard" provides a short visual leadership coaching moment. It introduces and explains a new sketch in each issue, provides leadership coaching for further development, and shares a leadership quote and recommended book.
Parenting Is Leading
Many books have been written about leading without a title. Understanding how your influence works without a position of authority cuts both ways; do not assume you have influence just because you have authority. Phrases like, “This is my house and my rules” and “I am the parent, and you will do it because I said so” have little enduring effect on teenagers. Yes, I am hoping you connect parenting and leading as both rise and fall on relationships and not positional authority.
Have you ever noticed overly commanding bosses or parents create resentment because of their leadership style? While followers and kids may come around and do well, many simply endure until they can escape. Others rebel.
To be fair, parenting involves freedom of will for both you and your kids. You can do everything perfectly and still have kids who refuse to follow direction, just as not every person will follow great bosses or leaders.
Still not convinced leading and parenting are connected? Leadership scholar Joanne Cuilla, describes leading as a “transformational process when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.”
My current personal definition of leading [with parental brackets] shows “the relational ability to influence people [kids] to passionately pursue [godly] goals that morally benefit the culture [for Christ].” The major component in leading and parenting is not titles or expertise but relationship.
Paul combined leading and parenting in 1 Timothy 3 when offering criteria for pastors and deacons to manage their families and have obedient children. Paul’s condition here needs to be combined with his words to the church in Ephesus. He told dads to bring up children in a nurturing (relational) way while teaching them about the things of God.
Be careful not to quote obedience passages to your kids without heeding what Scripture says to us. We love the “listen, honor, and obey” commands but tend to overlook the “nurture” and “not embittering” or “discouraging” them verses. Find common ground to connect with your kids around conversations and activities.
How often have we parented from a position of fear—fear that others will judge us for what our kids do? Fear that our kid’s choices equal ours? If we are consistent in our Arminian theology, should we not similarly see compatibility in parenting? We can no more dictate passion, values, and beliefs to our kids any more than we can to employees.
Good parents, like good leaders, work closely to instill values in ways our kids choose to adopt those values. We cannot influence without a relationship. And being related does not automatically denote relationship. Just like we earn our ability to lead, we must earn our kids’ hearts while parenting. Focus on the relationship of the heart prior to the behavior. That’s how God, our Father, works with us. He seeks our heart first, knowing everything else will follow.