KATHMANDU: From management to politics, leadership role is largely categorised for adults. But where do leadership activities start?
If we look back in our lives, we can draw many leadership lessons from our childhood acts, games and other ‘childish’ activities. The
guidance from our parents, teachers and guardians also shape our norms and values.
Leadership of youth and children has relatively shorter history in Nepal. The education system played a vital role in organising children and youths as schools and colleges naturally provided a space for the children and youths to gather. The youths of high school and colleges subsequently entered political fronts and groups even during Panchayat and post-Panchayat regime. The involvement of youth, and in few instance of children, in the armed conflict brought to fore the importance of youths in politics.
However, tending the leadership needs of child-ren has mostly been sidelined by the adults.
Children have varied peer interactions. The children mingle with each other despite variations such as age, gender, class, orientation and others.
Yet, we come across many parents who disallow children from peer interaction for the fear of them taking up negative and faulty behaviours. Some also forbid the interaction of cross-status children, that is, children of higher strata are barred from interacting with those of lower and difficult strata. But permitting them to openly interact with children of lower strata would allow them to learn a vital lesson: exposure to the situation of other children who are not as affluent as them.
Children do not have conditional behavioural patterns by birth, but we somehow shape their mindset by our own notions. And when
we plant the seed of such prejudice in children, they will foster the same throughout their lives.
In my personal experience, through interactions with leaders of various organisations, who possess outstanding leadership capacities, I have come to realise that they had higher and diversified level of interactions with other children while growing up. What one of the trainees that I recently coached expressed during his introduction is worth recalling. He shyly said that he is without leadership experiences. When I asked him about the interactions that he experienced during his childhood, he admitted to have benefited much by his same-aged
relatives who fortunately lived in the vicinity. He also had greater interactions with the maid’s children at the same time, which expanded his understanding of their struggles and realities.
(The author is the MD, trainer and consultant of Aadhar Development Pvt Ltd. Also the founding member and consultant of Catalyst for Transformation Pvt Ltd, he can be contacted through email@example.com)