Future leaders? Today’s leaders!

In the summer between his Junior and Senior years of high school our youngest son kept talking about how excited he was to be captain of the school’s Ultimate Frisbee team in his Senior year.  I finally said to him one day, “You know, you haven’t officially been named captain yet.  What happens if you aren’t named captain?”  Without any hesitation or concern he replied, “That’s ok.  I can still be a leader.”

He said it knowing full well what that meant.  Leadership is about passion, not position.

That next school year he was named co-captain along with two others and they were all great captains and great leaders on the team.  It was awesome to see the team finish fifth in state that year.  It was even more awesome to see everyone on the team grow and develop as players and as people.

Whenever young people step forward to make a difference in their world it is a beautiful thing.  It’s reassuring and inspires hope.  But to hear them referred to as “future leaders” or “leaders of tomorrow” causes me to bristle a bit.  Yes, I expect they will be leaders in the future.  But they are also leaders today, here and now.  Whether or not they will be managers some day is irrelevant.  To refer to them simply as future leaders discounts their present leadership.  They may still have a lot to learn about leadership.  Don’t we all?  So instead of calling them future leaders, let’s just call them leaders.

Photo courtesy of my youngest son
at AESThetic Photography

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3 comments on “Future leaders? Today’s leaders!

  1. Mark says:

    That is awesome! My son is 7 and haven’t challenge him yet about leadership yet. Because of your leadership, I’ll start.

    • Mark says:

      Oh, also, God bless!

    • Cybuhr says:

      Hey, Mark, thanks for your comments! You sparked an interesting thought for me. Once we recognize leadership as a present reality in youth, then we can take the next step of intentionally encouraging and developing it. How far we go with that is a matter of balance and depends on the individual. Hmmm, I’m going to keep thinking on that one for awhile.

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