Isn’t it interesting that we seem to think that wisdom and age are inextricably tied together? Don’t you feel better when you’re sitting at a doctor’s office and the doctor actually looks old enough to have earned all of the certifications on the wall behind him or her? I know I do. Having said that, every once in a while we are reminded that wisdom and youth are not mutually exclusive.
Take Safiya Hopfe, a grade 6 student from Tecumseh Elementary in Vancouver, BC. Her thoughts on the leadership development opportunities that can be found in the school system saw her published in the Vancouver Sun. Her article makes a great point – schools provide opportunity. Safiya’s reasoning is sound – without the opportunities provided by schools, we can’t grow the leaders of the tomorrow.
Safiya goes further than just saying that schools develop leaders, she tells us how they do that:
- Community Involvement Through participation in extracurricular activities, students learn to be involved in organizations larger than themselves.
- Communications Skills. Education not only teaches problem solving, it teaches the critical interpersonal communications skills that are the very core of leadership
- Teamwork Skills. Participation in team sports or other activities provides that basic building block that every one of us need in order to be productive – the ability to work with others towards a common goal.
- Mentorship. Not only do our schools provide mentoring to students, these opportunities develop the cultural basis for mentorship. Exactly where would we be without that?
Safiya, I would say that you are exactly right. I would also say that I don’t think we’ve heard the last word from you… Keep up the good work!
To the rest of us – listen to Safiya’s message – we need her and people like her to be capable of leading when their time comes. Dare I say it might be time to attend the next school board meeting before the next round of budget cuts?