The following is a guest blog by Scott Peterson, Executive Director of the Burnsville YMCA. He and his wife Tami are members of the Northwestern College Parent Council.
I love how Ken Blanchard explains leadership. "Whenever you are trying to influence the thoughts or behaviors of someone, you are taking on the role of a leader." It calls each one of us to realize that almost all of our interactions have leadership components
As a parent, for the last 18-22 years, we have taken on the role of a leader with our son or daughter. We have hoped and prayed that the biblical worldviews we hold have taken root and started to grow and the mistakes we have made will be forgotten and forgiven. We now pass our children to a more independent environment where professors and peers will have a greater leadership role with them. They will begin to develop discernment and hopefully apply what they have heard, seen, practiced.
College is now the place for them to expand their leadership skills. Our leadership role becomes more of an encourager. Some journeys will be faster, some will be slower - but opportunity is waiting. Challenge your student to explore leadership in this new environment, grow in their own leadership skills, and encourage them to mentor others.
§ Explore leadership. Encourage your student to get involved in clubs, ministry opportunities, and special chapels. They will be able to see a variety of leaders in an array of situations. They will see some things they want to emulate, and they will find things they want to avoid as a leader. Exploration will lead to learning.
§ Grow. Encourage your student to look for opportunities to practice leadership. It might be in the form of leading a group project in a class, leading a Bible study on their floor, or leading a ministry at church or outreach. Growing is also about learning what their strengths and passions are so they can become the best version of themselves and prepared for the work God has for them in the future.
§ Model leadership/mentor others. Encourage your student to teach others what they have learned. There are opportunities to be Resident Advisors in the dorm, tutoring other students in an area of interest, and leading by attitude and example in ministry areas they are involved. One of the best learning tools is sharing and investing into the lives of others.
Taking time to explore, learn, and mentor will prepare students for the future to make an impact wherever they are being a leader - in the home, at church, at work, or in their community. They will be equipped to live out Ephesians 2:10 (MSG) " He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."