KATHMANDU: Most people are charmed by the actions of my two-year-old niece, Tavisha. But what really intrigues me is how deftly
she changes her roles from that of a leader to a follower and vice versa. She helps me internalise the traits that we, as leaders and
followers, miss out on due to our hectic schedules and prescribed roles.
Children naturally mingle with other children in no time. Their ever-accepting body language attracts others. Many adults, on the other hand, are just the opposite; they are so shackled by their own limiting thoughts that they unconsciously push others away. Children do not discriminate based on caste, creed, sex or race.
Tavisha, like any other child, is unaware of the demarcation of comfort and courage zone. That is prob-ably why children sing and dance in front of total strangers without any hesitation. She is yet to find her comfort zone, which we as adults impose upon her as a part of growing up. It is fascinating to see how she never tires of trying to reach a high shelf where a box filled with chocolates is kept. Yet, we, as leaders and followers, limit and restrict ourselves.
If you hand her a book, Tavisha imitates our style of reading and if we take a minute or two to teach her how things are done; she
embraces it in no time.
She tirelessly observes and copies adults around with unmatched learning aptitude and curiosity. Sadly, our learning attitude seems to take a nosedive as we grow older.
Children, however, do not confine themselves from learning, whether it is through children younger than them or from those
older. Their eyes sparkle when they see new things. They are able to interpret every situation with amazing simplicity, while we adults analyse and bang our heads to get the ‘right answer’. And if you take them to a new place, they observe everything and take the things that interest them. As adults, we tend to give up things that trigger our inner interest for ‘greater good’.
We think that leadership has much to do with inborn qualities. If we observe carefully, all children are similar; they have the same essence of living life to the fullest. At the macro level, yes, society has much to do with shaping children out of their childhood. Yet children are calling out for us to change ourselves first, at the essence level. Most importantly, we all had that same essence of curiosity and learning attitude; I wonder when and where we de-educated ourselves out of it?
(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 at firstname.lastname@example.org)