Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How Preschoolers Become Leaders

A leader is the holder of the story, someone whose experience of it's reality is deep enough so that she can hold the belief on behalf of others. 
~Charles Eisenstein~

An image came to me when I first heard what Mr. Eisenstein said about leadership. My son was 18 months old and in love with trucks. He was leading his father, his grandmother and his grandmother's friend on an adventure around a picnic table. Each grown-up followed his direction to choose a toy and follow him, pushing the trucks in a circle, one after the other. My son was the Holder of the Story. 

Experience of It's Reality is Deep
I will never know exactly what was his story. To be sure, it involved trucks working and he was the boss. He knew where the trucks should go and what they should do with the sand in their beds. He knew they should not crash but sometimes they could fly. 

With the panache and charisma of someone who felt acknowledged and important, my young child inspired others to play along.

Holding the Belief on Behalf of Others
When the others played along an important lesson in leadership was emerging. Of all the toys on the beach, the mounds of soft Great Lakes sand, and the smooth lake-side sandy shoreline, my son believed that going on a truck adventure at the picnic table was the best thing to be doing with his time. He convinced three adults to appease him and in doing so had a pint-sized lesson in leadership...about knowing what he wanted, showing others what he thought they should do, and then doing it together.

This whole thing was successful because at its core was reciprocity of trust.

They trusted him to choose something to do that would meet each person's needs.

He trusted them to follow along as best they could.

And they did.

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