This is the ninth of 12-part series is about the most basic—and vital—of leadership roles. In my experience, parenting is rarely discussed as leadership. Yet without sound parenting, no generation has any real hope of building capable bench strength of future leaders. These last four posts are based on data-driven principles found in Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath.


As a kid, it’s hard to be successful when the only perspective you have of your identity is shaped by your peers: Those who you compete with you, who give you that hated nickname, who won’t let you into their circle and who increase their popularity at your expense.

Kids don’t have the luxury of wisdom and emotional maturity shaped over decades of experience with life. If they don’t have another voice in their life that helps them see past their immediate circumstances, things can get pretty bleak.

In short, kids need regular and tangible doses of hope.

Enter the parent.

It’s hard to be successful when the only perspective you have of your identity is shaped by your peers.

“And Your Point Is…?”

Parents have the unique opportunity to cast a vision of what and who their kids can be.

Kids need regular and tangible doses of hope.

So What?

Sometimes the grind of parenting erodes the hope that your kids will become capable adults. But remember: Most of us parents grew out of adolescence and became adults, right? Never stop envisioning your kids as who they can be, not as they currently are. Look past today’s poor choices and misbehaviors to see them as the person of character they will be. Believe in them, because they may not believe in themselves.

Never stop envisioning your kids as who they can be, not as they currently are.

Let this shape your tone of voice, the words you choose. Speak to them as someone who once navigated their path, not someone who’s never made a mistake. Focus more on the “why” than the “what.” You can still hold them accountable to your standards and rules; just have some vulnerability and understanding, along with full doses of grace, love and respect.

I’m not saying to excuse or minimize poor choices or bad behavior. I am saying take the long view, using positive tones and in a way that communicates assurance and confidence about what will be. It’s one of the things good leaders do best: To see and move toward an uncertain future as if it were absolutely certain, and then compel others to join them.

It’s one of the things good leaders do best: To see and move toward an uncertain future as if it were absolutely certain, and then compel others to join them.

The Big Picture

Remember: This is only a phase. Trust that sound parenting will pay off when they reach maturity.

The words of a loving parent are powerful forces. Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking your kids don’t hear you. They may not be listening, but they hear you.

The words of a loving parent are powerful forces.

Your Next Step

What will you do today to give your kids hope for their future?

As a parent/leader, what is the source of your hope?

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