Being a Leader PART 1: A Leader Says “Yes, I Can!”
Do you know the differences between being a boss and being a leader? There’s a lot of them, and for kids, it’s important to learn one from the other. Everyone knows how it feels to be bossed, but that’s a lot different from a leader. You’ve probably played the game “Follow the Leader” in school. Remember how the one in front got to go first in anything that they wanted to do? That’s leading, going first into something that you would do yourself. Being a boss means sending the people who follow you into something you wouldn’t do, which, when you think about, it is pretty mean.
Part of being a leader is called positive thinking, and it can help you to do well at school and everywhere else. Of course, when you’re young and surrounded by adults, it can feel like you don’t know anything. The thing is, when you’re young, you’re learning to do things and if you’re not good at them right away, you can feel really down on yourself. Sometimes that leads to you giving up and calling yourself mean names. It’s okay to be frustrated, that’s part of learning, but never be mean to yourself. It can hurt just as much coming from you as it can coming from the people around you.
There’s a story that’s been around a long time, and maybe your grandparents even read it when they were little, called “The Little Engine That Could.” In the story – which you can read here – a train full of toys is on its way to the city over the mountains when its engine breaks down. The toys are distressed because they want to reach the town, and try to stop other engines who have the power to get them over the mountain.
The clown doll flags down a passenger train engine and freight engine who think they are too important to bring toys to children, since they’ve been taking important passengers and machines across the country. Another train thinks it’s too old and broken down, and won’t even try. Then there’s a little blue train who’s never been over the mountain, and she agrees to take the toys where they need to go. She takes the train up the mountain, and as she’s chugging and puffing she says, “I think I can – I think I can – I think I can!” Can you imagine how happy and proud she was to reach the top of the mountain? She was just a little blue train who’d never been out of the yard, but with all that effort and thinking she could, she did.
Now, do you know who else was a leader in the story? I think you can guess. If you guessed the clown doll, you’re right! He took charge when the other train broke down, tried to get another engine to pull them, and encouraged his fellow toys when they were sad and thought nobody would take them. He flagged down the little blue engine, and she agreed to take them, even though she had never done anything like that before.
You Can Be a Leader
Being a leader takes work and dedication. It’s easy to go with the crowd and do what your friends do, but it can be bad for you. Sometimes when you do something different, it’s going to make people uncomfortable about their own choices, and they can be mean to you to make you change. You have to stay positive about yourself, about school, and about taekwondo, and someday you will be a leader.