Strong Families, Happy Kids: Parenting Tips from Prevent Child Abuse Arizona
Claire Louge, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona’s Executive Director, provided this issue’s column.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it takes to be a good leader, and how that crosses over into parenting. In conversations with leaders I admire, I’ve realized there’s one quality I respect most of all, and I believe this quality might be the most defining characteristic of a good leader … and a good parent.
When I write “leader,” I’m not necessarily referring to someone with a leadership title. A leader is someone who takes accountability for making a positive difference in the lives of others—and isn’t that what we do as parents?
So what is this quality? First, I’ll tell you what it’s not: It’s not charisma, confidence, knowledge, or vision.
Those are great and useful qualities, but they’re not the most important. The quality that is most critical to successful leadership, especially in human service work, is humility.
To define humility, we must first be clear about what it’s not. It’s not self-deprecation, rejecting a compliment or affirmation you receive, ruminating on your insecurities, shrinking yourself to avoid intimidating others, or apologizing for who you are.
Humility is both stepping into your strengths and understanding your flaws. It requires being confident in what you know based on your learning, and acknowledging that others have different, valuable experiences and knowledge. It’s knowing that what you think is right and true may change. It’s knowing that you don’t know it all, and you will never know it all.
Humility is being grounded in your vision of the world—and family life—you are working to achieve, and knowing that you cannot achieve that vision alone, because no one can. Humility is understanding you are a piece of the solution, but you are never the whole solution.
Humility is knowing that you will do nothing perfectly. Your ego might want to avoid things you can’t do perfectly, but humility tells you try anyway because the mission is more important than the blow of failure.
Humility is hard. But it’s a practice. And it’s an important parenting practice. When leaders, and parents, practice humility, it propels psychological safety. It’s magnetic to collaboration. It inspires.
The pathway to humility is self-reflection. It’s observing where you feel superior, and observing where you feel inferior, and not letting either of those things get in your way. Even if you’re a visionary, even if you know you’re right, even if you’re the authority on a subject, even if you’re really smart, even if you know why someone else is wrong, humility is realizing that being right is different than getting things done.
And even if you think you have the answer, you might not. Humility is the key to good leadership, and it’s an important component of good parenting.
But I could, of course, be wrong.
Editor’s Note: look for the Strong Families, Happy Kids column in every issue of Prescott Woman Magazine. It’s designed to support parents with actionable tips and strategies they can use to create optimal environments for their children to thrive. To learn more about Prevent Child Abuse Arizona’s mission and resources visit www.pcaaz.org