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Family: Developing the Leader Within

I’ve recently been reading The Maxwell Daily Reader every day and have been thinking about my own leadership qualities and development. I had a wow moment over the weekend that has changed my perspective on parenting: it occurred to me that raising a family is really leadership development, both for me and my kids. Somehow, this paradigm shift makes me think less about all the work that’s involved in being a parent and more about how there’s such potential and an inspiring end goal when I view parenting in this way. What do you think?

Anyway, on Saturday morning, my children had been fighting non-stop, so the consequence we gave them was to work on a project so they would learn to work together instead of against each other.

It was a long day.

The project should have taken 30 minutes at most, but it took close to two hours for them to get the job done. There was constant arguing, whining, crying and tattling. Usually, this behavior really gets to me and stresses me out, but on this occasion, it didn’t.

I think it’s because I realized this situation and so many others in our family life, is really just leadership development. My husband and I were willing to endure and provide guidance to our kids, while letting them experiment and figure out how to get along. We encouraged them to listen to each other, develop a plan and compromise when necessary. We talked about having patience, considering your influence and that there’s more than one way to execute a plan. It was a long process, but it was worth it! They got the job done and we all learned some valuable lessons from it.

I want to raise my kids to become leaders who can work effectively with others, contribute to a team, encourage people and work through conflict. Doing this requires me to become a better leader because I have to model it and provide correction and guidance in moments when things aren’t going smoothly. Leading my kids requires me to actively develop my own leadership skills and be self-aware of areas I need to change and improve.

Here are some resources (some are affiliate links) that can help you develop your leadership skills, which will then help you to develop the leaders within your family members:

The John Maxwell Daily Reader

Leadership Promises for Every Day

Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future

Lead Like Jesus: Lessons From the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time

The Global Leadership Summit

About Andrea Fortenberry

Andrea Fortenberry lives near Phoenix, Arizona with her husband of eleven years and two children, ages eight and five. She writes and speaks on marriage, motherhood and ministry. She has a journalism degree from Pepperdine University and is a graduate of She Speaks, a program for writers and speakers through Proverbs 31 Ministries. Andrea was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives. Visit her website at

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