Strong-Willed Today, Leader Tomorrow


Strong-Willed Today, Leader Tomorrow

My children have big personalities, but arguably, the biggest belongs to my second born. Historically, the middle child has often been deemed forgotten, but that is not the case in my home. Since the day he was born, he has marched to the beat of his own drum, and it is one of my favorite things about him. He is also wildly hilarious and so much fun.

Recently though, another characteristic that has always been there is growing more prominent than ever: his strong-willed nature.

One day last week, we went through our typical morning routine full of the chaos of getting three children ready for school. On this particular morning, my son decided he would boycott his school uniform. With the minutes dwindling, we went back and forth about why he needed to wear it. My argument was simple: being in uniform is the expectation, so he had to put it on each day. He quickly rebutted that it was boring, plus Big Brother got to choose his clothes, so he wanted to do the same. Ultimately, I succumbed to the voice in my head and decided to “pick my battle,” letting him choose the clothes of his choice so we would not be late. Minutes later, he came downstairs with his uniform pants, a plaid church shirt, and turquoise and green gym shoes. It was nowhere near what I would dress him in to go out in public, let alone school, but his proud and confident smile assured me that I had made the right decision.

While these instances can make me want to pull out my hair as a parent, they really do show me a side of him that can be used for good if appropriately honed. He is very matter-of-fact, knows precisely what he wants, and can reason extremely well to articulate his feelings. He thinks outside the box, has a mind of his own, and is most confident in who he is. In this crazy world, these characteristics will serve him well and help him change it for the better.

One of the most challenging aspects of parenting for me has been letting my kids become who they innately are while giving them parameters to help shape and refine who they discover. It is a balancing act and a skill I continue to work on daily. The uniform debacle from last week is evidence of this.

As I parent these rowdy boys, one thing is certain: I will continue to provide a safe space for them to share their feelings, opinions, and desires so long as they do it respectfully. Some of our society’s most notable leaders have significantly impacted our lives because they stand firm in their beliefs, do not back down, and are strong-willed, just like my son. This is why I know he too will be a great leader someday.

What has been the greatest challenge in rearing your strong-willed child?


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