Do you find it hard to be a leader in your home? A lot of people do.
Go to any park, or to Wal-Mart, or even look around the church, and you might see that often the big people aren’t the ones calling the shots. The same is true in the home. Kids have their own televisions and computers so they can pick their entertainment. They have their own schedule of extra-curricular activities that keeps the family on the run. In some homes, meals are ordered up to each person’s liking. Yet, parents, leadership is something we need to embrace.
Do you ever struggle with wondering how to lead in your home?
There are thousands of voices speaking to families today. Magazines fill the newsstands, books populate store shelves, and for our Internet-savvy generation, Googling “parenting” results in 54,900,000 hits in .23 seconds. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who to listen to.
There are a lot of unrelated voices who want to give us advice. What our generation lacks is family leadership role models. Very few of us grew up in loving, stable, and Godly homes. In our growing-up years, divorce was prevalent. We not only dealt with the divorce of our parents (if our parents were even married), we also had to deal with multiple stepdads, stepmoms, and other parental boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.
We want to lead differently, but how?
Even though John and I had no guide for leadership in the home, we’ve tried different things during different seasons. There was one season when we started our homeschool mornings with worship. We’d set up small chairs for our toddlers in the living room, and we sang kids’ worship songs before John went to work.
There were seasons of family devotions around the table. And seasons when we’d focus on character development—attempting to teach our kids about kindness and gentleness and love-your-brother-and-sister-ness.
Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t falling short because I couldn’t keep it all going. I’d forget to get out the Scripture memory cards. I’d forget about that devotional book I bought. Some days I forgot I was the one leading. But God reminded me that maybe I wasn’t as horrible of a family leader as I thought.
How to Lead
- Try. Doing something is better than doing nothing. We may fall short of how we envision our leadership, but remember to look at what we are accomplishing, rather than feeling burdened by unfulfilled expectations. No parent is able to do it all.
- Find a leadership role model. This doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Read books on family leadership or watch a couple from church whom you respect. How do they handle different situations? Pay attention. Take notes. Try it.
- Remember that God leads us as we lead our children.
“[God] tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11 NIV
It’s a beautiful mental picture to embrace; God leading us as we lead our kids.
- Call the shots. You might not always have the right answer, but be the one to have the answer.
- Embrace the season. Don’t feel like every year has to be one of intense Scripture memory. Don’t feel like you have to do dinner devotions every night for your children’s entire growing-up years. Families change; be fluid with the transitions. Ask God to guide you in the season you’re in.
- Be the leadership role model. Think of yourself as a worthy example for your kids to follow. Think of them as mimicking your actions and choices with their own kids some day. I always pay attention to my actions when I know someone is watching. Friends, your kids are watching and learning. Step up in your role.
You may not have had a leadership role model you learned from, but you can be the model your children need. Today, God is there to help you do just that. Be the one in Wal-Mart who gives a good impression of what family leadership is all about. You never know who’s watching.
For more information about being a godly family leader in the home, check out my book Lead Your Family Like Jesus, co-written with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. Here’s a bit more about the book:
Does your family need a five-star general at the helm? A psychologist? A referee? Ken Blanchard, best-selling co-author of The One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus, points to a better role model: the Son of God. Joined by veteran parents and authors Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer, renowned business mentor Blanchard shows how every family member benefits when parents take the reins as servant-leaders. Moms and dads will see themselves in a whole new light—as life-changers who get their example, strength, and joy from following Jesus at home. This user-friendly book’s practical principles and personal stories mark the path to a truly Christ-centered family, where integrity, love, grace, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness make all the difference.
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