When someone promotes a “Leadership Course,” many would imagine businesspeople, entrepreneurs, or perhaps even college students.
Most wouldn’t picture children in elementary school.
However, this is a nightly occurrence at Jeremy Horn’s Elite Performance Fitness, a martial arts academy in West Jordan, Utah.
While most Americans today are familiar with the term “natural born leader,” leadership development courses are very popular for businesses and political groups. The youngest participants tend to be high school age students. But Boquet believes that leadership can be taught even earlier—at elementary school.
“Just because someone isn’t a natural born leader, doesn’t mean that they can never become a leader. Just like any other skill, it’s something that can be cultivated if it is practiced and really honed in. Kids can absolutely learn to be a leader.”
Leadership programs for children, like Boquet’s, compliment other types of “Character Education” programs that are part of many school districts’ curricula. While children learn about courtesy, citizenship and responsibility while at school, it can be reinforced through a structured non-academic program.
But while some programs focus solely on positivity, encouragement, and a “every kid is a winner” mentality, Boquet’s program finds success in a balance of success and failure.
“You cannot become a leader in a situation where you are always winning and everything comes easily. Sometimes you need to be challenged, and you need to fail. But this can be done for a child in a controlled way—not in a way that a child will fail and it will affect their life miserably.”
The key is a person of authority that can help you work through failures and learn from them. This method of working through challenges, overcoming them, and achieving a goal is how Boquet finds success for his students.
“If a child has a challenge and they fail, and they have no support from a teacher, that might break them. It may kill their motivation and confidence. But if a child has a person of authority, someone who knows how to help them and work with children, that can be a really powerful tool. You can inspire a child to do better, to work harder, and to move past that goal.”
Boquet’s martial arts program gives a forum for children to lead and practice.
“Kids will run a section of the class, like demonstrate the knowledge that they have. And this is multi-faceted in its result. Not only does it allow the child to show their knowledge, but it always lets them be in a position of authority of their peers, if just for a few minutes. They are becoming teachers.”
The result has been children who go out into their community of West Jordan and are more confident and are leaders—even in grade school.
“The best thing is that I get to help kids become leaders at school and at home, doing something fun that they love—just like my instructor did for me.”
To find out more about how Boquet teaches martial arts and leadership, go to: http://www.eliteperformancegym.com.