If you want your child to grow up a leader, not a follower, then you must raise influencers.
Influencers do not follow the crowd, they forge their own path.
Influencers care about helping others more than advancing their own agenda.
Influencers see and sieze an opportunity to help others; while others are blind or distracted.
I was challenged by a speaker recently who was encouraging the crowd to BE influencers. My 27-year-old son was with me listening and I knew that was his desire. He wants to be an influencer wherever he can.
But how did he get that desire to be an influencer?
Raising an influencer will not just happen by chance; parents must be intentional about raising kids who grow up strong enough to influence others, instead of always giving into the influence of others.
If parents would focus on raising influencers as much as they focus on bettering their child’s athletic skills and grade point averages, imagine the strong and compassionate leaders that would emerge in the next generation!
How can you, mom and dad, raise influencers? After nearly 30 years of parenting, I’ve gathered a few ideas about the traits that will make your child an influencer.
Influencers are Humble
There’s a lot of ways to describe humble, but I like this definition: courteously respectful. Being humble does not mean that an athlete lets everyone walk all over her; it means that she doesn’t have an inflated view of her importance and instead looks for ways to help her teammate succeed.
Humility means that you work hard in silence and let success make the noise. The key is helping your child to see that it’s important to be humble on the outside, while confident on the inside.
Influencers are Committed
They do not give up when things get hard. They do not give up on the team when they are in a slump. Athletes who truly make a difference show that commitment means sticking with something until the end, no matter how hard the journey.
Influencers also show commitment by their work ethic. If your athlete is truly committed to the team and to his sport, he will put in the work–and more–required to help himself and his team.
Influencers are Trustworthy
Someone who can be trusted is a person who others respect and respond to. Can your athlete be trusted to always back her teammates? To look for ways to support her teammates? To work her hardest for the team? To be honest and show integrity even when no one sees her?
I went to a church once where the pastor–a person who normally has a lot of influence–did some things that caused me to lose all trust in him as a leader. At that point he became a person who I could not listen to every Sunday; he’d lost his influence in my eyes.
Influencers Empower Others
One reason that my son was and is still an influencer was because one of his goals as an athlete was to look for ways to make his teammates look good. This was especially evident in basketball as he made key passes to players who were in the perfect position to score.
Another way to empower others is to believe in them. When your young athlete shows another teammate that he believes in him, this empowers the teammate to play better. When coaches believe in their players, those players have a sense of confidence that helps them play to their potential.
This works closely with humility because influencers realize that the game is not all about them; it’s about the team.
Influencers Are Authentic
Being authentic means not being afraid to admit your mistakes and weaknesses. It means not pretending to be what you are not. Your child does not have to put up a false front to be respected and liked by her teammates. People who are real and genuine are much easier to respect and respond to.
Think of the influencers you know. Not the people with the title of “leader”, but the people who are truly impacting others’ lives. I’m pretty sure they will exhibit these influencer traits.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, There’s two types of people in this world: followers and leaders. I don’t know about you, but I want my child to be the one leading, not following. I want my son or daughter to be the one influencing others, not the one being easily persuaded by others.
Are you struggling with to raise a child who is an influencer?
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