Thursday, November 24, 2016

10 Characteristics of The Servant Parent


As part of my current doctoral studies I have been reading a lot about leadership.  There are a multitude of approaches and theories about leadership.  Some say that leaders are born that way with special traits that make them “great men”.  Others say that it is possible to learn to be a leader as long as you learn the correct skills and behaviors. Some have decried the myth of the charismatic leader saying that you do not have to be inspiring, exciting and passionate only consistent. 

In my reading I have been drawn to an old essay that was written way back in the 1970’s by a guy named Robert Greenleaf.  He proposes that to be a leader one must first and foremost be a servant.  He uses something he calls the best test to determine if one is an effective leader it goes like this,

“Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”

I think this is a great way to view leadership, but what if we applied these concepts to parenting? What if we decided that the best way to raise our boys was to become a Servant Parent? But wait! Some might say,  “parents are supposed to be in charge!”, “kids need to follow the rules or they will never learn how!”, “if parents act like servants kids will never learn responsibility!”  Well, I think they are wrong. I think it is crucial for parents to first be servants.  So, based on an article by Larry Spears titled "Practicing Servant-Leadership" I will be making my case for the 10 characteristics of the Parent as Servant

1.     Listening
2.     Empathy
3.     Healing
4.     Awareness
5.     Persuasion
6.     Conceptualization
7.     Foresight
8.     Stewardship
9.     Commitment to the growth of people
10. Building community

Over the next several weeks I will be expounding on each of these characteristics and why being a Servant Parent is a great way to parent boys into men.

Do you think we should be servants first, parents second?

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