Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Leading pre-schoolers

After I locked my keys in the car last evening I saw a great example of leadership by a young mother.

As soon as I locked the van door I realized my mistake. I carry a spare key in my pocket appointment book but I had taken the appointment book out and left it in the van while I was in an meeting. And I hadn't put it back in my shirt pocket. So I had not only locked my keys in the van but also my spare key.

Thankfully I had my cell phone on my belt loop. I called my true love who agreed to bring a second set of keys.

After I finished shopping I sat on a ledge at the front of the store. I was a bit irritated because I didn't even have anything to read.

But soon a young woman with two boys, ages three and four, and a girl, age two, came in.
A bit later as they approached the check out I saw that each of the boys was carrying two big bags of chips and the little girl was carrying a single big bag of cheese curls.

What a great idea, I thought. Even at that young age each child played an important role in shopping. She lifted the little girl up so that the little girl could place her bag on the check out counter.

At the check out the young woman mentioned to the clerk that they were having teen boys over. While the mother was checking out, the two boys promptly climbed a nearby railing. The mother calmly suggested they get down and didn't make a big deal of it when they took their time getting off the railing.

She did not use a shopping cart, making it necessary for each person to carry some of the groceries.

As soon as she was through the check out line she gave each boy two bags of chips and the boys hustled out the door ahead of her, each carrying their load.

She gave the little girl two bags but when that proved to be too much she took one bag back and carried it with the bottles of ketchup other items she was carrying.

Taking young children shopping is always a challenge but that young mother turned it into an opportunity for each child to play an important role.

Leaders exist to make it possible for each person in the group to have a hand in helping the whole group thrive.

That young mother was a great leader.