Leadership is something we are all familiar with and actively strive to build. There is a rising debate about the right time to acquire leadership skills – in our youth, the moment we are born, as teenagers, as adults. When exactly is the right time?
Some will argue that leaders are born, others say leaders are made. The truth is both are right but like everything else, practice makes perfect. From the book – Alphabet of Leadership – by Odunayo Sanya, I have come to learn that leadership is a skill and if we are going to do it right, it is better to catch them and train them young so it becomes more of a lifestyle than an obligation.
On this note, here are five reasons leadership should be included as a compulsory subject in every school syllabus – at every level of education – from primary to tertiary and even professional institutions;
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1. Nature vs Nurture: Children will always open their eyes to see the world, but parents could control the kind of things their kids are exposed to. In that sense, even if a child is born with leadership skills, there is a need to continually imbibe the right values, so he/she becomes conscious of that skill and applies it appropriately.
Quality leadership is a combination of the right qualities and the right training. What better way to train these kids constantly, if not within a school? After all, these schools brag about nurturing the leaders of tomorrow; they might as well make it a core subject!
2. Practice makes perfect: Every time you do a background check on the leading names in music, sports, dance, politics, you realize that they did not start overnight. Beyoncé has been singing since she was a little girl; the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has been writing letters and notes to the powers that be since she was little, etc. The determined young Zuriel Oduwole will most likely be named as one of the most influential people in the next 10 years.
It is not a happenstance! When we say we want good leaders, we should do well to make it available to children and provide leadership platforms for them to explore.
3. Recognition and Prestige: An important part of acquiring leadership skills is actually putting it to practice. It means taking up critical positions and standing up for the right things in society. This process will inevitably boost and grow the child’s confidence. Take for instance, the most popular debate kids in school, they usually become prefects in the end. And when they take it seriously, they begin to take up responsibilities that task them to do more and be more.
4. Alphabet of Leadership: This is the main reason! In the book, Alphabet of Leadership by Odunayo Sanya, she bares everything about leadership. Most importantly, she tells us why it is crucial for children to acquire these skills early; she has broken everything kids need to know about leadership into ABCs. It is highly recommended for students, for educators who wish to include this in their curriculum and parents who look at their babies and envision a great future. The book is a rallying point for nation-building starting from the individual, family and communities.
The author has expanded the possibilities for the youth leader in her ‘My Alphabets of Life’ Essay Competition where six prizes can be won. These range from N50,000 to N10,000. See the image below:
You see, the importance of leadership skills cannot be overemphasized; it goes beyond what most of us think and believe. The choices we make today will compound to create our tomorrow and children are certainly not excluded. If leadership skills become an active lifestyle imbibed from childhood, then our growth as a country stands a stronger chance of survival.
Even Jesus started at age 12, what is your child waiting for?!
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