lessons in leadership

President’s Day: Lessons in Leadership from Abe Lincoln

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“No one is loved as much as you by the people. Don’t waste that power.” This is a quote from the movie Lincoln. It was spoken by Mary Todd Lincoln to her husband Abraham Lincoln. That’s a huge statement and reflected how much of an impact Lincoln had on our country.

Many of us serve in leadership roles and have an impact on a significant number of people. Our circle of influence is not as large as the President of the United States, but our roles are still important. The most important leadership role is the leadership of our families.

If someone were to say the same thing to you that Mrs. Lincoln said to President Lincoln, but you were not loved at home due to a lack of leadership, then it would be the greatest waste of “power” possible. As husbands and fathers, as family leaders, the greatest impact we should strive for is at home. Here are 4 family lessons in leadership from Abe Lincoln.

Don’t expect everybody to be just like you.

Let your kids be themselves, even if it something unique and different from your family.

Our kids will more than likely look like us. Some of them will even have similar mannerisms. But many times they won’t follow in our footsteps. We want to encourage our kids to be who they are and get involved in the things they are most passionate about.

Abe Lincoln taught us this in how he filled his cabinet with rivals of his. The people he lead had different mindsets and different ways of doing things than him. But he embraced this and was able to effectively lead, maybe even better, because of it. Let your kids be themselves, even if it something unique and different from your family.

Made decisions without hesitation.

While Lincoln had many different people sharing their opinions and advice, he knew decisions needed to be made. Our country was at a crucial point in its history, and a leader who couldn’t make a decision or delayed in making what he believed was the right choice may have been devastating.

Our kids are watching and learning from us, even when we don’t know it. I recently read in Scripture that “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Being decisive and making confident, well-informed decisions will teach our kids to do the same and prevent them from being unstable or lost when it comes time to make important decisions.

Model lifelong learning.

Most of us dads are no longer in school — at least not the traditional model of school. But we should never stop learning. We should constantly seek to gain knowledge and understanding and, in turn, model that to our kids. I can honestly say I’ve read more books and content as an adult than I ever did as a student. Lincoln was very similar to this as shown by his quote, “The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.”

Join our kids in their studies. Study a topic on your own and share what you are learning with them. Overall, don’t stop learning. Read books, take classes or online courses, and learn from your life’s very own experiences. This will help you be the best family leader you can.

Make your family relationships a priority.

Lincoln was known for jokes and storytelling, and he was also known to keep regular office hours and citizens were allowed to see him. In this day and age, it is easy to work all the time. Devices keep us constantly connected to work and other things outside of our family. Be like Lincoln and keep regular “office hours” or time blocks where your kids can get access to you and your undivided attention.

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Huddle up with your kids and ask what makes a great leader great, or a great dad great?