Monday, September 18, 2017



Is it true that some are born to lead while others are destined to follow? Can we instill leadership skills into all of our children? These are interesting questions to ponder. The first statement is true. Some people are born with the personality traits and gifts that give them the aptitude to lead without trying too hard. It would be a sad and crazy world indeed, though, if we had all leaders and no followers.

                                           You can’t be a leader if nobody is following.

There are those who like to manage or influence other people and those who would rather follow instructions and just do the work. No matter which category a person falls into, it is imperative that we learn the kind of leadership skills that will encourage others to follow AND protect ourselves from blindly following a negative path.


    * Being a great role model
    * Knowing right from wrong
    * Making wise choices
    * Accepting responsibility for our own actions
    * Respecting authority
    * Forgiving and motivating others
    * Putting others’ needs before our own
    * Trusting others


Firstly, we need to realize that leadership is a training process. It is not merely a trait that you have or don’t have that needs some honing up during the teenage years. From infancy children begin to learn right from wrong as parents explain and train their children how to meet their expectations. God has placed in everyone a sense of knowing right from wrong. Isn’t it amazing that we never have to teach children to be bad, but we do have to teach them how to be good! Consistency in training along with praise for getting it right and good modeling develops this quality.

Setting boundaries and issuing consequences guides a child to learn obedience and to respect authority. By crossing the set boundaries, they are making the choice to take the consequences. The parent is merely carrying out the penalty the child knew would occur, thus teaching them to take responsibility for their own actions.

Making wise choices is learned through positive role-modeling by parents, open communication between child and parent and support when negative choices are made - thus alleviating a similar result next time. Not every decision needs pondered thought. It depends on how it will affect them or others. Parents need to explain the kind of steps that will help produce a positive outcome. How important is this choice to me? Is my decision going to affect anyone else? Is this decision going to alter the course of my career or long term goals?

Making wise choices is all about thinking of the consequences before we act. Too many times we make choices by not doing anything or by being sucked into a negative activity without thinking. Effective leaders are not trapped into holding grudges. By forgiving others, we become free to focus clearly on what is ahead. By working as part of a team we learn to trust others. There is no need to clamber for the glory.

We need to instill leadership qualities into the followers as well as the natural leaders from an early age so that our children make a positive imprint on the world around them. The world needs leaders who can inspire others and lead them on to greatness.

Whether a leader or a follower, our job is to be diligent, committed and obedient.  We all need to understand that a leader is always answerable to someone higher.  That means leaders are also

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families


Whoever said, "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE",  has lost touch with the planet earth!


Of course there IS such a thing as failure. It is in the dictionary and it means ‘non-performance of something due or expected’. You can’t gloss over the word and call it something else just because society thinks it is a dirty word. If you refuse to accept the word ‘failure’ you are basically saying that you will not accept that you did not meet the criteria, did not make the grade, or did not meet your expectations. That is life, so get over it!

Not admitting failure is senseless and a product of our indulgent culture. It just means we are not allowing ourselves to learn from the experience and not teaching our children how to deal with  meeting the requirements – whatever they are.

When we were in high school in New Zealand we had to pass a State-wide set of exams the last two years. Only 50% were allowed to pass so that meant an automatic 50% failure rate. It made us work very hard and we all knew that if we didn’t make it, we had to repeat the whole school year again. I repeated one year! My husband, Brian, repeated a year. His two brothers repeated a year. This is reality – the real world. It didn’t really hurt us, although of course we were very disappointed in our own performances. It dented our pride and we wasted a year that we could have been earning. Strangely enough it did us all good because we all ended up going to University, attaining degrees and moving on to great careers.

If we don’t learn early that there are consequences for not meeting expectations, then we will never make it in the adult work world. We will always be making excuses that it was someone else’s fault. No it isn’t. When we put in the hard yards we can enjoy the results.

Now, there are times when we have little choice over whether we win or lose. We can train vigorously for a race, but we cannot guarantee we will be the winner. It is wrong for parents to give kids the message that if you are not the winner, YOU FAILED. That is NOT true! We should not compare ourselves with others, but check ourselves against our own performance. If we are beating our own times, then we are achieving.


a) Accept that there is such a word. Call it what it is.
b) Acknowledge the disappointment, but show your kids how failing this time doesn’t mean
    failing every time. Help your kids learn from the experience and show them how to improve their
    chances next time. Help them set goals for improvement and reward the small steps.
c) Don't shy away from expecting great things from your kids. They love meeting your expectations
    as long as you show them how.
d) Celebrate success, but also celebrate effort.
e) Be a great role model. Be a parent that is pushing the envelope. When you don't succeed as
    expected, talk to your kids about it and show them what you are doing to succeed next time.
e) Do not accept defeat. Our young grandsons' motto is 'Never Give Up!'

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families



As we grow older it seems that there is less and less respect in the world. I find myself saying, “I would never have spoken to my father like that when I was a kid.” Along with lack of respect there seems to be a general lack of healthy fear. I do not think we should be frightened of our parents or of those in authority, but respect for others and fear of the consequences should stop us from making negative choices.


They place little or no value in themselves or in other people.
They may have come from a disrespectful home environment.


To instill respect in our children we need to understand the meaning of respect. Respect is demonstrated by holding high regard for authority, position, possessions and living things, and also by being courteous. We can train our kids to be respectful from the time they are toddlers and we need to continue to train them right up until they leave home. It is an ongoing process. The simplest way to develop respect in your kids is to decide what ‘respect’ will look like in your home. Here are some suggestions:

Respect in this home means that:
a) We are obedient to our parents and those in authority over us.
b) We do not interrupt others.
c) We do not fight with one another or take others’ stuff without asking.
d) When we borrow others’ stuff we look after it as if it were our own, give it back
     when we said we would and return it in as good condition as we received it.
e) We speak kindly to one another and will not raise our voices in anger.
f) We tell the truth and keep our promises.
f) We respect our grandparents by visiting them or calling them regularly.
g) We thank people for doing kind things for us.
h) We take care of our pets and the environment.


We expect our kids to be respectful, but respect is a fragile thing. It is lost when we disappoint our kids by being poor examples. If we shout at them, speak disparaging words to them, break our word, or ignore them, they have nothing to respect in us as parents.

We have to learn to say, “Sorry” for critical words said in haste or if we administered inappropriate discipline. We need to admit we make mistakes sometimes and ask for forgiveness from our spouse and our kids. If we can identify what being respected feels like to us, then we will know what our kids need. If they respect us, we can be fairly confident that they will also respect others.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families



Keeping secrets can be fun and they can be lethal.  I think we know the difference.
I love surprises and often find myself telling those in the know, not to tell anyone until the surprise is sprung.  My daughter hatched this great idea of surprising her husband for his 50th birthday.  She worked on it for a whole year, terrified the whole time that somehow he would find out before the big day.  It involved getting video messages from his school friends, university friends and the like.  About nine months before the event she asked me what we were doing on the weekend of ....  I said, "I don't know, Kristee. What ARE we doing that long distance ahead?"  She then asked me if seven of Tim's friends could take over our house for the weekend.  Of course we agreed and we spent that weekend staying at our neighbor's house. 

It was such a fun time. On the day, after the videos were shown of people who wished they could be there, but were unable to do so, they all quietly materialized from their hiding spot and gave him the fright of his life.  Now that is a fantastic surprise!


What about secrets within the family?  Those that start off with,
a) 'Don't tell Mom and Dad where I am going, that I smoke pot, that I have been sneaking the
     liquor out of the cabinet, that I smoke....'
b) 'Don't you dare tell anyone what goes on in this house.'
c) 'I know Mom/Dad has a new boy/girlfriend and I can't say anything.'
d) 'The next door neighbor has been touching me where I know he shouldn't, but my family
     and theirs are good friends and I can't tell anyone because they wouldn't believe me.
e) 'I am afraid of Uncle Sid, or the baby sitter.'
f) 'I am afraid of the dark, but everyone calls me a 'scaredy-cat'.'


From experience, I know what a terrible thing it is to be very afraid of someone, yet not know it
is OK to tell someone.  My parents wondered why I would cry often for no reason and I didn't even know why myself, but now I look back and realize the root of it. Those were the days when no-one talked about, or made kids aware of, this thing called child-molestation.


1. Are we aware of our child's psychological health?  Are they acting differently than usual ... quiet,
    moody, tearful or aggressive? Are their school grades suffering?
2. Are we aware of our child's friendships, who they talk to on social media, or whether they are  
    becoming secretive?
3. Are we aware of how much or little time we are actually spending with our children to notice
    mood or behavioral changes?


Talk to your children about good and bad secrets.  Explain the difference.  Encourage your children to talk about things that worry them and explain that they will not get into trouble with you if they talk an issue through with you, because, while you teach them strong values and you show them the right way, home needs to be a soft place for them to land.  They have to be allowed to make mistakes.  (How many times have you said to yourself, 'I won't do THAT again!')

If they don't feel like they can talk to you, then encourage them to talk to someone they trust even if it is not an immediate family member.

We must teach them the difference between OK and NOT OK 'touching'.  We must teach them how to live safely and how to avoid dangers.  We need to put them through a course of self-defense.  We must teach them emergency exercises, safe places to hide, how to call 911, people they should contact and their phone numbers, etc.

Our children are our greatest responsibility.  We must protect them at all cost.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families