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PREVIEW: Child as Teacher, Child as Leader by Marsha A. Tongel, Ph.D.

Recently I was captured by a Facebook graphic that had been shared with me. It was a picture of a young cowboy and his father. The father said to his son, “Be careful where you walk.” And, then the son responded, “You be careful. I walk in your footsteps.” I have been reflecting on the depth of the meaning in this short graphic and it brought up quite a few questions. What type of footsteps have we as adults been leaving? How are we walking? And, where are we heading? What do our children see? What legacy path are we leaving for them? It seems to me that in this chaotic, upside down world, the messages children are receiving from our footsteps are very confusing.
Every day, our children are exposed to conflicting values about how to act and how to be. Bullying, lying, fighting, name-calling, a lack of tolerance, and greed have become very typical adult responses which our children see every single day. To say that our leaders and adults are not being good role models is an understatement. Teachers have an especially tough job right now explaining to students why they cannot be or act in certain ways when they see adults being able to get away with acting and being in less than desirable ways and even boasting about it.

But then I began to remember the many ways our children and youth are leaving their own footsteps. I have an educational program called the LeGACY Wisdom School for Children and Youth that is a multi-discipline, multi-generational and multi-ethnic learning program that prepares children and youth in new ways to deal with current and emerging critical issues. LeGACY consists of a variety of age-focused programs made up of Moonbeams/Sunrays; Fifth Dimension Initiates and New Design Leaders offered through workshops, summer camp programs, retreats, and technology-based programs using webinars. Legacy is not just an educational experience but a character development journey.

Oh, rats!  It’s so frustrating when you get cut off just as you were getting really interested.

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