10 Practices for Everyday Leadership for Kids

  • Academics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Literacy
  • The Aspen Difference
Katie Becker

It has been nearly two years of our world’s experience of unprecedented intensity, change, adaptation, and a heightened sense of the difficulty that surrounds us. While we are so desperately clinging to hope and optimism in these challenging times, as parents, grandparents, and educators, it can be very difficult to practice ourselves, let alone model for our children. It has highlighted the critical nature of our work at Aspen Academy, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade independent school here in Greenwood Village, CO, where the focus on developing leadership in students is as high a priority as academic content mastery. As a national leader in innovative and transformative education, our group of educational leaders at Aspen Academy believe that the true goal of schooling is to develop our youth to contribute and thrive as tomorrow’s leaders.

We have developed proprietary curricula in leadership, finance, and entrepreneurship, called Future Holders. It takes students gradually from the knowledge and management of one’s self to the inclusion and collaborative leadership with others, and extends in guiding kids to make a greater impact on their community. Here are ten practices of everyday leadership, noted in bold, with concrete and repeatable language to easily integrate in your home and family routines.

Student with leader hat showing class jobs

Lead Yourself First. In order for anyone to go on to lead others, they must first have a deep sense of self-awareness, an understanding of their inherent worth and infinite potential. We tell our students, “You Matter. Live with purpose. You can do big things.”

Your Mind is Your Superpower. Recognition of the things that we can and cannot control allow us to feel empowered in our respective places of influence. Acceptance of what we cannot change allows us to remain focused on what we can. This understanding helps develop self-management and self-discipline. Use this phrase, “You can’t always change things outside yourself, but you can always change what’s inside.”

Time is Your Most Precious Resource. How will you spend it? Focus on decision making skills and goal setting. Is the way we spend our time an accurate depiction of what is most important to us?

Choose Joy. Inspired by the work of stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius, we must remember that “happiness in our lives depends on the quality of our thoughts.” It is up to us to choose joyful ones.  

We are Better Together. We teach skills of dialogue, collaboration, and the inclusivity of others, especially with those who are different from us. Extraordinary things happen with the cooperation of many minds.

In the promotion of curiosity and creativity, we remind our students to Be Curious, and to always ask what’s possible. And to know that their Thoughts are Things; things that can contribute to making our world better. We encourage kids to be inspired by their own ideas, and explore the things they wonder about. We tell them, “Everything starts with an idea; you give it life.”

As our youth begin to move outside themselves and lead in their broader community, we remind them to Be the Difference and to serve a cause greater than themselves. And that ultimately, our role is to go on and make the world a better place. We tell them, “Leave Your Mark, put your unique stamp on it, and always leave it better than you found it.

And finally, that play and rest are just as important as working hard, and life is beautiful, go Have an Adventure.

And now we challenge you - which of these practices is your family most in need of right now? Which words will you begin using today?

Click here for more on Leadership at Aspen Academy or Future Holders.


This post original appeared in the October 2021 edition of "Preserving the Good Life."

Students learning financial skills.

About the Author

Katie Becker, Executive Director of Future Holders

Katie’s mission is to re-center education practices on the most important thing: developing people. By focusing first on who is in front of us, and second on what we want to teach them, extraordinary results follow. She is praised as a leader, trainer, and speaker, demonstrating great awareness and empathy with direction and purpose. Katie grew her career at Aspen Academy as a teacher, instructional coach, and middle school principal, and she now leads the launch of Future Holders as the Executive Director.

Katie is a proud mother to Evelyn, Hugh, and Noah, spending as much time with her family as possible. She earned her undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Colorado Boulder and then moved to the space of education in 2007 earning her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a certified MBTI Practitioner, 7 Habits Trainer, and Love and Logic Facilitator. She is highly engaged in community causes that propel education systems into a more effective space.