5 Lessons Leaders Can Learn from Children

As adults, we often limit ourselves to being teachers and role models to children. We teach the next generation things that will help them grow into their full potential. We guide, we instruct, we model, we help with life lessons that will mold them. But do we also choose to learn from them? Children can teach us important lessons if we’ll simply listen in. 


When you ask a child a question, there is no telling what answer you will get. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” may tell us that we are in the presence of a future rock star, President, astronaut, or scientist. Children think big. They are not worried about people saying their goals are too high, or that they can’t do what they want to achieve. We serve the God who is capable of anything. So why not set goals where we are reliant on that power? If your dreams don’t scare you, they could probably grow bigger. 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20, NIV  


I finished a roll of paper towels the other day and attempted to throw the empty roll away. I quickly learned from my child that it wasn’t trash. It was actually a spy glass, later it was a car ramp, and then it was a funnel. In the hands of a child, the possibilities for that piece of cardboard were endless. Think about something that you have been struggling to do or a new project you are ready to start. Have you pictured all the possibilities, even the ones that seem a little wild and crazy? Sometimes it is the wild and crazy ideas that are going to be the brilliant approaches that kick your project to another level. 


We are a society that thrives on busyness. We pride ourselves on multi-tasking, but the illusion of doing multiple things at one time means we’re not fully focused on the activity at hand. Children find joy in each moment and fully immerse themselves in whatever they do. Even the littlest things can bring them joy. Look at a child on a swing. He pumps his legs, soaring higher and higher without a care in the world, and swinging is all that matters. How many moments of joy do we miss because we are not fully present in the moment? 


Children seem to have no fears and are always exploring and trying new things, often with boldness and complete abandon. They will pet the strange dog, run into traffic, and reach out to grab the snake. They also have no fear of failure. If they fall, they will just keep trying. They are not afraid of risk. What if you were willing to take a little risk? Are you willing to fall and get back up? We have to be willing to fall in order to fly. 


One of the most wonderful things about children is their hope. They see the good in the world and want nothing more than to add to it. Full of eagerness, the faith of a child is rooted in love, wonder, and joy. We need to mimic the faith of children every day. Yes, the world is full of hardships and struggles. But we need to make sure that we approach each day with a spirit of thanksgiving, and a heart that wants to show love and never loses hope. 

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3, NIV