“Make good choices. Be a leader.” I’ve said these words every school day for more than 8 years now.
It all started on a back to school night when I saw a sign in the art teacher’s room. It was right next to the door. You couldn’t miss it. “YOU WILL GO TO COLLEGE.” I thought how profound and completely genius. Every person leaving the room had to read it. While I know not every kid that read this sign was destined for college, I feel like it was an incredible way to say such an important thing.
It was that evening I decided I needed to tell my kids something important every day. I don’t even remember how I thought of it; I just did. “Make good choices. Be a leader.” Over the years, I’ve said those words hundreds of times to multiple kids, including my own. My kids have heard it so much, there are days they beat me to it.
“Make good choices.” In other words — Don’t get in trouble. Don’t mess around in class. Turn in your assignments. Do what we expect of you.
“Be a leader.” Set a good example for others. Be confident. Be smart. Be a good person. I’ve never expected my kids to be class president or head of a club, but I do expect them to do what is right, show kindness to all, to have good manners, and be respectful. Show those other kids your mama brought you up right. There is a way to lead without being the actual “leader.”
We all remember certain things our parents told us growing up. “Be careful.” “Drive Safely.” “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” “Because I said so.” Mine and all their best friends will remember to “make good choices and be a leader.”
It’s my job to raise strong, smart, confident, and kind kids so they will one day be strong, smart, confident, and kind adults (and hopefully one day, good parents). Part of this is saying those 6 simple words each day. What do you tell your kids each day?
You can always tell them – MAKE GOOD CHOICES. BE A LEADER. And don’t forget to tell them you love them everyday too.