2nd Essential Quality of Leadership

Training Boys to be Future Leaders, Part 3

What do you see?

The second essential leadership characteristic for boys is vision. Vision is looking beyond the current situation to a future goal or end-state. In order to see in this fashion, your boy must move from the concrete world around him to the abstract world of concepts and visualization of the future.

Imagination plays a significant role in the development of a new vision. When I was young, my Mom and Dad encouraged me to think, create, and play. Parents have a great impact on a boy’s ability to “see the future” in several ways. I recommend the simple-to-use TRLA system discussed later in this article.

“Eyes that look are common. Eye’s that see are rare.” (J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, p.73) What vision do you have of your son? Do you see beyond the boy to the man’s future potential, capabilities, and desires? Do you see a doctor, clergy, lawyer, president? And more importantly, what does your son see in others?

Vision – what if I don’t have it?

Vision first starts with the teacher. That would be you. Ask God for His help. To see the bigger picture, read books by experts, listen to them, then be creative, experiment, imagine great things, and look for the big picture and not just the details of life. Teach your son to be curious about the effects of his actions and the actions of others.

Encourage your boys to learn with you. Dads (I get to pick on you because I’m a dad), your son will imitate what you do when you aren’t around. Good and bad. However, both parents must teach young men by example. The boys will inherit a better mindset to lead and tackle the new issues for their generation starting with your help.

Two components of vision.

Two critical parts of vision are hope and optimism.

  1. Oswald Sanders said it best. “No pessimist ever made a great leader. The pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty.”

The man with hope looks forward to a better future. The man with optimism is searching for a method to improve the current state. Not only the state of the physical world, but the inner world that drives our external one—the world of belief, of human thought. Try this experiment. Look at a difficulty in your life and see it as an opportunity.

When I found a nail in my tire (again), the second time I returned to the Auto Repair shop, I took the time to work on my third book in the Thunder and Lightning series. I turned the time that could have been wasted into an excellent writing experience.

If you run into a pessimist in this process, take their words with a grain of salt and evaluate the next step. Be realistic and try to understand what objections might be important to consider.

Audiovisual Stimulation

Mankind is hardwired to automatically react to movement. The success of TV, movies, and video games is based on this fact. When I was a boy, a mouse ran into our closed in porch and our cat chased it for fun. I had been studying, but the minute I saw the mouse out of the corner of my eye, I leaped out of my chair and raced to the porch. The mouse? Well, that’s another story. But I couldn’t ignore it.

The flickering of lights on a screen is movement. That is why video games, TV, and movies is attracts our attention. However, though some stimulation through “good” video is appropriate, recognize that watching any “moving picture” puts the viewer in the receiver mode. In other words, the monitoring portion of the brain often switches off and accepts the viewed information without filtering it. Especially when you have to react quickly. Some messages received in audiovisual media are subliminal, or below your active perception. Experiment—while watching a video, do an honest analysis and see what you find (good/bad).

Take charge of what you and your children watch or video games they play.

How do I create vision in my son?

As noted with the first essential of a leader, discipline, the parents play a key role in helping a child grow. Invest time in helping your child see beyond the world they live in. Below are a few ideas to improve your son’s vision. Use the TRLA system.

Talk. Discuss things important to your son and ask how he could make his life better. Invest your time conversing about future events, actions and consequences. Think big.

Read. Read a good book together with your children. Cut the reading into manageable chunks. Make it interesting to your son and to you. Storybooks are especially effective for teaching spiritual, moral, and attitudinal lessons. Check out the heroes of the book – are they pessimists or optimists? Do they see the future better or understand a larger world than those they lead? Applaud those who think ahead.

Listen. A critical part of teaching your son to have vision is to listen. Learn to listen well and understand your son. This will teach your son to do the same for others and their children.

Analyze. When you see a show, TV program, video or movie, take the time to analyze what messages have been delivered. Do they fit your faith and belief system? Ask your son to analyze something you watch together.

Share Your Views

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Next Month

How does my boy develop wisdom? Check it out.

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