Raising your children as leaders

When our son was in kindergarten, he told us that he was a class monitor in his middle class, and before the end of the year; he made himself a head boy. When he was in P.1, he called himself a president in our home. During the 2021 general presidential elections in Uganda, his young brother contested that there must be a change of government because his brother had overstayed in power. They took long to agree because he claimed he was the firstborn and by default a president and an heir.  We later agreed amicably that they keep rotating leadership every after five years unless one does not perform to the expectation of others. That is how the Tumuramye government was formalized with a president, vice president, and their sister as the prime minister.

Since 2021, there is good leadership in our house. The president gives us a weekly programme and while some things are routine, there is always a new activity. When the first lockdown was instituted, we started family Sunday services and the children are in charge of the entire programme. They named their home church, Blessed Family Church and also started Blessed Family Band. As parents and part of the congregants, we are also given responsibilities of what to do every Sunday.

We have seen our children develop soft skills such as leadership, communication, critical thinking, decision making, negotiation, preaching, reading, praise, and worship. To promote their skills, we give them the liberty to plan for family events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and outings. Our major role is guidance and mentorship. While we are not investing a lot of resources, we are seeing good results. This makes me agree that leaders are not just born but they are made and raised.

There are many ways we can be intentional to do such things in our family. It starts with being able to identify what each one is good at and thus groom it. For example, when we have visitors, we cannot pass the chance to have them lead praise and worship and prayers or give speeches. If given an opportunity to minister somewhere, we try to involve them in doing something. Sometimes, we go with them for functions and ask them to evaluate what they learned. We have also told them that they should always grab the opportunity to volunteer though responding in a meaningful way.

We also have learnt to be deliberate in ensuring that these children are leaders and held accountable even with very small duties at home. For instance, we always remind David, that there are certain things presidents must and must not do. Additionally, we have shared with them knowledge about different leaders in the bible and their legacy while also teaching them self-development activities.

It is still a journey we are treading and we do not know what the future holds. However, we are confident that the Lord who began a good work in them will bring it to completion and has very good plans for their future. We also know that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can imagine or think of according to the power that works in us. We keep remembering King Solomon’s words, “train up a child in a way he should go and when he grows up, he will never depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

As a parent, it is your duty to show your children the way. If we live an exemplary life and walk the talk, our children will follow suit. That is because children often learn by seeing not hearing. The short of it is that actions speak louder than words. That is why we must be very good role models to them. If your children cannot emulate anything good from you, there is a problem. The sooner it is fixed, the better.

How are you raising the next generation that God mandated you within your house? What key aspects have you observed in your children and you are intentional in grooming them? What kind of a parent do your children say you are? What are you well-remembered for? As a parent, ensure that you have family activities they engage in so that even those who are not born leaders are responsible enough to act independently under your guidance. Plan for mentorship programmes for your children. Tell them stories of great leaders you know. Buy them leadership books or videos to read and watch. 

Raising leaders of the next responsible and God-fearing generation is solely our responsibility as parents. We are the primary coaches in their lives. Start now; make them influential regardless of what level they are on now.

By Dickson TumuramyeThe writer is a child advocate, parenting coach, marriage counsellor and co-founder, Men of Purpose mentorship programm