Lead and Follow
As you observe your child engaged in various activities with her peers at Romp n’ Roll, do you notice that she sometimes is a “leader” and sometimes she is a “follower”? Given the strong emphasis on “leadership skills” one sees when applying to college or seeking employment, you may be wishing she abandoned the latter role and focused exclusively on the former.
It may be surprising, but that actually would be unhealthy for her development. If you study people who demonstrate superb leadership skills, you will see that they demonstrated comfort and proficiency in both roles during their early years. For one thing, it is difficult to be an inspiring leader if you have no knowledge of or feeling for what it is like to be a follower. More importantly, being a follower enables you to build the solid foundations you need under you to make the leap up to being an effective leader.
When receiving accolades for his accomplishments in science, Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen farther than anyone before me, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” He knew that what helped him become a leader in his field was the time he spent as a follower of Copernicus, Galileo, and others.
So as you watch your little one go back and forth between leader and follower, don’t fret. The fact is she is moving forward all the time.
Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the management team at Romp n’ Roll. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.