Saturday, September 3, 2011


A friend pointed out to me this week an article on new research that Tiger parenting does little to change the genetic bent your child arrived with. Another friend reminded me years ago that in his opinion parents always take too much credit and too much blame for whom their children become. I am forced to admit I constantly see the strong thread of genetics in my children and grandchildren in both positive and negative ways. I’m learning to embrace the reality of the blood lines and enjoy the journey.

Leadership runs strong and steady on the Sims side of my family. Grandson Tristan, six years old, proved this week the leadership gene has been passed to the next generation. Like his father and me, Tristan can be easily distracted. So his wise teacher came up with a fabulous solution. When expected to do independent work and unable to focus, Tristan is now encouraged to raise his hand and let his teacher know that he would like to move to his “office.” His office is the teacher’s table in the back of the room away from the hustle and bustle. Rather than feeling isolated or disciplined, Tristan assumes this is a place of honor and leadership and “acts professional and adult-like in his office.” You can see in the picture that he is large and in-charge.

It didn’t take long to remember an incident from his father’s childhood that exhibited leadership too. A dear friend of mine, who was retired from teaching, accepted a substitute day at my son Sims’s kindergarten. As she began to make the snack that morning, Sims told her, “You’re not doing it right. That’s not the way Mrs. Todd does it.”

She replied in her best teacher-ly voice, “Sims, Mrs. Todd is not here today and this is the way I do the snacks.”

Sims turned to the class of 25 kindergarteners and said, “Ok, everybody who doesn’t like the way she is doing the snack raise your hand.”

My friend who had taught for forty years said she knew in an instant that she had mutiny on her hand. Most all the children had raised their hands and Sims was now in charge of the class.

The genetic line certainly flowed through me also. My deceased husband supported my volunteerism when I didn’t work a “real” job. But he decried at one point, “Can’t you just be a member of an organization without being president of every group you’re part of?” The answer was, “No, I’m a leader and leaders lead.”

My Grandma Sims was taken to a nursing home at age 80 with Alzheimer’s disease. She thought she was being taken there to run the place! My sons exclaimed when they heard this story, “That’s exactly the way you’ll be, Mom!”


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