Growing True Leaders

Since our first child was born twenty-one years ago, my husband and I have tried to instill leadership skills in our children. I want my children to be impacting the world around them in a positive way for many years after I’m gone.

This starts when your children are young, if you wait until they are “old enough” you don’t allow them to develop skills and habits that will help them become great leaders.

In our family this begins in the home by giving our kids responsibilities (aka chores) at a young age. As they grow older we look for opportunities for them to serve their community by volunteering. We try to find opportunities that allow us to work together as a family, so we can help shape positive attitudes and instill a good work ethic.

This could be something as simple as working around the house, helping a friend move, or mowing a neighbor’s grass when they are out of town.

We also participate in community events that allow our family to serve in a greater capacity and help our children develop the leadership skills that they will need as they grow older.

You may wonder, how do chores and volunteering help develop leadership skills? When our children have responsibilities around the house they are given ownership of those responsibilities. After they are able to complete their chores they are in charge of certain areas of the house (room, bathroom, kitchen counters, etc). They take responsibility for keeping those areas clean and organized.

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Last year we purchased a fixer upper house. All our kids worked on the home renovation. Even Cora could help by peeling wallpaper and doing other small jobs. The level of ownership our children have in the house they helped renovate is something that can only be achieved by doing.

They learned how to manage their time, get jobs done, ask for help, teach others, and work together. They developed leadership skills by working together and finding ways to help out even when they weren’t asked.

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We also try to get involved in community projects. My boys have coached soccer teams, helped the elderly in our community with home repairs, and volunteered at the local food bank.

Today’s youth want to make a difference. According to a National 4-H Council and Harris Poll, when it comes to their personal role in addressing key issues, most youth (88%) say they believe they can make a difference, they see themselves as leaders (74%) and they feel a responsibility to lead (73%).

However, only one in three young people says they have the skills they need to be prepared to lead. Half of all high school students report they are not prepared to lead in their life after high school – for college or career.

Here are some practical ways our children have learned how to be leaders in our home and community.

  • Coaching sports teams
  • Helping out at the local food bank
  • Volunteering at local events, such as Easter egg hunts, Trunk or Treat, and Vacation Bible School
  • Helping friends/ family move
  • Having responsibilities around the house
  • Doing odd jobs for the elderly in our community

This year my son had a unique opportunity to give a presentation at his younger sibling’s school. They were studying reptiles, and since my son has several reptiles as pets he was asked to talk to the kids about snakes and lizards.

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My son was able to give a unique and informative presentation to almost fifty children, answer questions, and teach them about animals in a creative way. He did a great job and the kids were excited and interested in his talk.

I have no doubt that all his leadership opportunities in the past helped my son give an hour and half presentation on animals without even breaking a sweat.

As my kids are growing up, I try hard to notice their leadership efforts and motivate them by giving positive feedback.

4-H wants to help you recognize and encourage our youth. You can join with 4-H to help more kids get the opportunities they deserve by publicly honoring youth who are making an impact (big or small) in their lives and the lives of others. You can recognize the youth in your family and local community by sharing their leadership efforts on social media with the hashtag #TrueLeaders.

You can also take a moment to join their ThunderClap to share one unified message about how great kids are today.

Help the next generation become leaders by offering them opportunities, encouragement and recognition.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 4-H. The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Helping End Childhood Hunger While You Shop

Hunger Is Us

Childhood hunger is not just a problem in countries that are far away. This is a problem that lives in our own backyard.

1 of every 5 children in America live in households without consistent access to adequate food.

Often when I hear these statistics I think to myself, but what can I do? Most of the people we know, eat three meals a day and have a stable income that provides them with food and shelter.

21 million children rely on free or reduced-price lunches for their nutritional needs on an average school day.

While I want to help, it isn’t something that is at the forefront on my mind most days. That is why I love it I find opportunities to make a difference by doing things I do every week.

11 million children receive free or reduced-price school breakfast.

Did you know that standardized math scores see an increase of 17.5% when the child eats a healthy breakfast?

3 out of 5 K-8 teachers say they regularly see students come to school hungry.

During the month of September you can participate in two different ways while you grocery shop.

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First, you can donate a few dollars at the register when you are checking out at your local Safeway and Albertsons stores. This is not available at every store, so check to see if your local store is participating.

I like to take the money I save using coupons and donate a portion of my savings to help provide healthy meals.

If your store doesn’t accept donations at the register you can also help by shopping!

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Brands like Marie Calenders, Healthy Choice, Bertolli’s, PF Changs, Coke, Unilever, Kellogg’s, and Campbell’s are donating a meal every time you purchase one of their products.

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This is an excellent opportunity to get your kids involved by letting them help with the shopping. Encourage them to find products that are participating in the Hunger Is campaign and add them to your cart.

Hunger Is Campaign It's easy to get involved

You can use this shopping time to brainstorm with your kids ways they can make a difference in their schools and community.  Help them find brands that are helping kids just like them have a healthy breakfast or lunch each day.

It is easy to support the Hunger Is campaign but you need to act quickly because it ends on September 30th! Remember to purchase participating brands while you are grocery shopping at your local Albertsons or Safeway and make a difference for children all across the country.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Safeway . The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Celebrating America’s Workforce

The topic of “what do you want to be when you grow up” is often discussed at my house. I have a running joke with my children that I need one of them to be a plumber, another a hair stylist, another an electrician, another an auto mechanic, and so on.

While it is said with humor ( I want them to be whatever they want to be), I’m only half kidding!

Without today’s workforce impacting, influencing, inspiring we would be in serious trouble! I realized during our renovation how valuable these “ordinary” jobs are. Without our electrician advising and helping us, we might have burned our house down.

Often we elevate certain professions and consider them better or more valuable, but truly our workforce is comprised of millions of people doing thousands of important jobs.

As I watched the videos on 1in100million.com I remembered back to my days as a waitress. I thought of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of people I interacted with while I served them food and drinks. I didn’t just serve them food, I listened to their stories, and helped them celebrate events like engagements, birthdays, and graduations.

My job as a waitress was to make their experience at the restaurant about great food and great memories. Like Catie Boles said her in video, I never wanted to say no to a customer. I wanted to make their meal, at my restaurant, the best one of the week or even month! It was a great opportunity to serve others in many ways every single day that I went to work.

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I hope that I made a difference in people’s lives like Catie is doing today.

Today’s workforce needs to be celebrated. Sure, we celebrate on Labor Day every September, but it needs to be more than one final trip to the beach and a cookout.

Our country runs on ordinary people being extraordinary in their jobs every single day.

For several years my husband was a nurse. He touched families every single shift. From births to final breaths he was a part of hundreds of families who looked to him for support, information, and sometimes a shoulder to cry on.

I remember one Christmas Eve he was scheduled to work in the pediatric ER. He couldn’t stand the thought of children being sick and stuck in the hospital on Christmas Eve. Before his shift he headed to the store and purchased several bags of inexpensive toys and treats for every child who happened to visit the ER that evening.

One of his fellow nurses dressed up like an elf and together they brought joy to families who were very much in need of some good news that night.

You or someone you love probably have your own workforce story to share. You can watch more workforce stories at 1in100million.com. They share a new story every month. April’s story is about Brett Laxton, a major league pitcher turned bat maker.

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Brett supplies everyone from kids in Little League to some of your favorite professional players with wooden baseball bats.

I grew up watching my brother play baseball several times a week, so Brett’s story took me back to the days of slushies and corn dogs when I was a kid.
I’m thankful for the millions of people who work hard every day and inspired by those who go above and beyond their job description. I’ve been influenced and inspired by many who I only encountered briefly in my life. I hope throughout my life I’ve been able to pay it forward and inspire others as well.

1in100million.com is a free website featuring inspiring workers from around the county. It’s presented by Kronos, the leader in workforce management solutions. Kronos delivers industry-focused time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring, and labor analytics solutions and services — in the cloud and on the go. For more information, visit kronos.com.

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This post is in partnership with Kronos.com. All opinions are my own.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Cora and Kit: 6 Years

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Can you believe it has been SIX YEARS? What happened to my itty-bitty, smaller than an American Girl doll, baby?

While Cora Jane doesn’t have a baby book, she does have six years worth of blog posts to document her life.

Happy Birthday to our sweet Cora!

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See all the Cora and Kit posts here and read her birth story here.

 

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.