PRYOR, OK —
Mayes County District Court judge, and parent of a Lincoln Elementary School student, Rebecca Gore, was the guest speaker at the school's Leadership Night Sept. 26.
Parents were welcomed to the school's Leadership Night, in which student leaders are showcased and school programs are explained. Under the mantra of “Lincoln Elementary, greatness happens here,” students one-by-one took the stage to introduce an aspect of “Leader in Me,” the school's leadership program based on the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
“Leaders aren't born, they're developed,” Gore said to fellow Lincoln parents and faculty. “Every child has the capability of being a leader.”
Gore reminded parents that students do not learn to add and subtract without practice and homework. Becoming a leader is the same, she said, it takes practice.
“Leadership can't be taught, it can only be learned,” Gore said. She encouraged the parents, for the benefit of their children, to learn it, internalize it and practice it.
She told the parents the 7 Habits are things they already know, just with new terminology.
“Be proactive, that is simply taking initiative and being responsible for yourself,” said Gore. “In my line of work I don't always see people taking responsibility for themselves, but we can agree that is not the behavior we want for our kids.”
One habit, beginning with the end in mind, Gore said, is simply goal setting. She said the goals can be small, little more than a to do list.
“Put first things first. Prioritize. Why? Because there are only so many hours in the day,” said Gore. “We are only responsible for these kids until they are 18, but let's prepare them for life as an adult too.”
Gore encouraged parents to give their children opportunities to make choices.
“We can teach them to prioritize and we can teach them to weigh consequences but what good will it do if we don't give them the opportunity to practice decision making,” said Gore.
“Win-Win” is the next concept, Gore said.
“Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, but we can always come out ahead,” she said.
The next habit is “listening first.” Gore said this step is crucial because problems cannot be solved unless they are first heard. Likewise, an educated person must first know the facts.
“Synergize” and “sharpen the saw” are the last two habits.
“Synergizing is working together as a group. If I'm the only one doing something, it won't get done,” said Gore. “Sharpen the saw, everyone needs to recoup sometimes. Everyone can become overloaded, it is crucial to find time to recharge yourself.”
Gore asked parents to help kids understand these leadership skills.
“Why? They will test higher in areas like math, science and reading. They will have less classroom disciplinary issues and higher self-esteem,” said Gore. “If you won't do it for yourself, do it for society.”
Students then took the stage to discuss Lincoln Elementary School's Leadership roles.
Students can fill out an application for any of several leadership jobs: cafeteria crew, ground beautifiers, technology leaders, leaders on the prowl, library leader, playground posse, crosswalk leader, flag leader, shutter bug and hall monitor. The student applicants are then called in for an interview before being notified they've received the job.
Parents were then invited to tour their children's classroom, paying special attention to their Leadership Notebooks. The notebooks, kept by each student, works on goal setting, data tracking and leadership roles. The notebooks, according to the students, are another avenue for Lincoln Students to cultivate the 7 Habits.