Leadership Kills

The following realization on my part took place in just the few short hours it took to run household errands today, unlike the other lifetime-achievement awards I seem to be bestowing on myself most recently. I should admit- I'm not usually the grocery-shopper of the family (thank you, husband, who has a nasty cold today) and it probably could have taken a lot less time. We had just a few stops (Stanley's, Trader Joe's) but I was enjoying the time alone with my daughter, and I think the feeling was mutual, so we both seemed to be making gestures to make it take a little longer. While the daily spirited inquiry into my child's day at school is usually met with the "nothing" and "I don't know" brand of answer, today the conversation blessedly led to the topics to which I wish I had daily access (as often happens when we have the time to just be with your child.)


Today my daughter shared with me that she really needs to "do something" about the desk assignments in her class. Reportedly, the new arrangement has left her with table-mates that interfere with her ability to focus. Being the leader that she already is, she is ready to take action and approach her teacher with an alternative suggestion. And being the leader that she is yet to be, she is becoming frustrated with the reactions of her daily neighbors that refuse to cooperate with her attempts to make peace. We talked about the growing pains that accompany learning leadership skills, whether they be about doing the leading or learning to work as a team and follow another's lead. As if a new academic topic isn't enough of a challenge for the day, my daughter is actively testing out her burgeoning skills and feeling the burn. Ooh, leadership kills.
Feeling very parental, I reminded her that every moment of conflict is an opportunity to practice being the best person she can be, and that she ought remember to practice "leadership" in sticky classroom situations. An hour or so later, a funny thing happened. It was seamless. As we unloaded the grocery bags from the car, she suggested a game-plan for moving the many bags from our parking spot to the entrance of our building in order to be most efficient. Without even responding, I followed her lead. I would have normally at least acknowledged her, but today I was in awe. She then took action to begin moving the bags toward the elevator. Without complaining about the bag's weight! Without whining about how something hurt and therefore prevented her from participating in a household chore! As our immediate task neared completion, she called out to confirm that I had the last bag so that she could initiate the next step in this assembly-line. What is going on here? My little leader led me- quite directly, so confidently and most naturally. Maybe my job here is done.