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Leadership Ideas Part 2

August 9th, 2010

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Elementary School

Taking Initiative

Go out to eat at a restaurant.  Once you are seated at your table, have your young person lead the discussion on what everyone wants to eat, then have them do all the ordering, when the waitress or waiter comes. (You might even ask your young person to remember the name of the waiter!) Through the dinner, have your young person take the initiative to care for all the needs—from refills on the drinks to ordering the dessert. This will require both initiative and courage. 

Afterward, debrief your experience. Discuss what they learned. Talk about why leadership requires courage.

Team Building

This one is an activity that may take different forms depending on the season of the year. For instance, in the fall, you may have lots of leaves to rake in your yard. Why not ask your young person to rake leaves for you or for a needy person who lives nearby. Sit down with them and suggest that they organize a team to do the raking, and offer to pay them for their effort. Talk about how many people they’ll need on the team and what’s involved if they’re going to do a good job. (If it’s winter, you might have them shovel snow; if it’s summer or spring they could wash cars.)

The key to this activity is preparation. Be sure and take the time to really discuss how your young person can make this project work. Get them organized. Whatever you are going to pay them, give the money to your young person to divide up between the team members. Let them experience what it means to be a supervisor and see the job through to the end.

Middle School

Be a Host

Visit the home of someone this week. Take your young person with you, and warn them to watch how well the person you visit hosts you, as guests. (You could also have them watch you, as you host guests in your own home.)

Afterward, talk about what it means to host others. A host is someone who takes initiative with others and makes them feel comfortable. They often guide the conversation, and do a lot of listening in the process. Then, explain that relational leaders are “hosts” in the relationships and conversations of their life. They are not guests, waiting for someone to tend to them.

Finally, have your young person practice hosting others this week. Have them focus on the needs and interests of others in conversations, not their own. Have them find one good quality about each person they meet and compliment them about it. Talk about how they are doing each night as you close out the day.

Raising Cash and Courage

Sometimes the scariest thing for people to do is to raise money from people they don’t know. It’s a test of courage. That’s what this little idea revolves around. Have your young person choose a charity they really believe in. If they don’t know of any, check some out on the Internet. Then, go raise $500 from people you don’t necessarily know, for this worthwhile organization. Make a list of those you can talk to, and what you’ll say when you discuss the project. Then, take time this week to approach these people with your idea.

High School

Leadership Interview

Select a community leader who exhibits integrity and discipline. Set up an interview with them and ask them how they built that discipline in their life. Ask them how they determined to live with integrity, and how they stick to it, when it is difficult. Ask them how they failed along the way, and how they eventually gained victory over their flesh. Write down their answers and review them on the way home.

Map Quest

Before taking a long trip or vacation, grab a map and ask your young person to plan the entire road trip. Talk them through the details, if necessary, but give them as much responsibility as you think appropriate. For instance, if you take a vacation, talk about how many days you will take to drive to your destination, where you’ll need to refuel, eat and stay overnight, and even how much the trip might cost. Let them do the math and prepare the details of the trip.

Ask your young person what factors went into the planning of your road trip and how they calculated the stops along the way.

Finally, think about how you can follow those who led you, and how you can learn from their triumphs and failures.

Young Adult

Find a Historical Mentor

Select a biography of a great leader in the past. Find one about a man or woman who had a big vision, and accomplished something great for the world. Read the biography together, or at least a chapter from the book. You may want to pay your young person a good sum for reading the book—after all, they get paid for doing chores; why not pay them for feeding their mind and heart with inspiring stories?

After they are finished with their reading, discuss the highlights of the book. Ask them what they enjoyed most about the story.  Ask them how that leader caught his or her vision to make a difference in the world.  What enabled them to endure hardship and finally achieve their goal? 

Choose a Crisis

Sit down and watch the news on television together, with a notepad in hand. Before the telecast, ask your young person to choose one crisis or problem reported in the news. If you prefer, read through the newspaper together. (There will be several stories in every newspaper or broadcast!)  Once they choose the crisis, have them write down all the details you both can remember from the report. Then, pose this question to them: If you were in charge of this problem, what would you do to solve it? Ask them to assume leadership in their imagination, and jot down what steps they would take to remedy the crisis, from start to finish.

Evaluate their steps when they are finished. Did they leave anything out? Is their solution realistic?  How expensive would it be?  Did they diagnose the problem accurately? Are there any steps your young person could actually take to implement their solution?

Key Issues for Teachers and School Administrators Educating Generation iY

Futurist and author, Dr. Leonard Sweet, coined an acronym years ago. It summarizes what educators and youth leaders should understand if they plan to connect with students today.

Students Today Are Part of an EPIC Generation

As you teach or work as an administrator, your chances of getting your message to stick with Generation iY and be remembered will grow substantially if you make it EPIC. Why? Because they are a part of an EPIC Generation:


They are looking for a sage on the stage with a lecture but a guide on the side with an experience. Your message should create an experience.


Students want to participate in the outcome of where the class or project is going. They support what they help create. Allow them to upload and express their thoughts.


This generation has grown up with images—MTV, VH1, Videos, Digital cameras, photographs and DVDs. Images really are the language of the 21st century not words.


Students are connected both socially and technologically. They want to interact with each other and dialogue as they learn.


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