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Penguin Leadership

I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. – Jesus (John 13:15)

I am the firstborn in my family. When I was a kid, one of my parents’ mantras for me was “set an example”. There were three younger siblings watching what I did, they said. And whatever I did, they’d be likely to follow.

It just so happens that they would pull that mantra out whenever I wasn’t setting a good example – and it worked on some level. I received it as an honor and a responsibility to set an example for my brother and sisters. Not that they always did – or that I always set a good example. But that mantra stuck with me.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my parents were developing me to lead people.

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ShockEarlier this month I heard Chris and Stacie Hatchett give a presentation on parenting. One of my takeaways from their talk was being a “shock-proof” parent. Shock-proof parents are those who play it cool when ridiculous or even offensive words come out of their kids’ mouths. I instantly realized how often my own reactions to such comments take the form of shock: “WHAT did you say?” “You did WHAT?” “EXCUSE ME MISTER?!?”

The Hatchetts make the great point that if we are shocked by every crude or inappropriate thing our kids say, they’ll be less and less likely over time to share openly with us. They will stop trusting us. We will cease to be a safe person with whom they can share.

Instead when we hear those kinds of things from our kids we should say – with a chill face, “Oh, really? Tell me about that.” And then gently instruct them after we have sought first to understand.

Being shock-proof is not only a great skill for parenting; it also has great application for living on mission.

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