The Hidden Dangers of the Leader and Me Program (7 Healthy Habits)??

3 Oct

This isn’t the typical content for my blog or my channel, but eh:

For the first time in a long while, I stood in a room tonight with several hundred other people and felt as though I was the only person in the room not drinking the kool-aid. Hearing my own thoughts run through my head, I understand how they can seem like a stretch of the imagination or even disloyal in some regard. It sounds like something out of a conspiracy theory handbook, but I am somehow moved to pen my thoughts nonetheless.
This year our school district is taking part in the Leader and Me program. It’s based off the book, The 7 Healthy Habits of Happy Kids. It’s mission is to, “develop leaders one student at a time.” It’s cute. They have 7 habits (Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand and Then to be Understood, with seven corresponding tag lines and hand motions, and little animated animals to encourage kids along, using the “the analogy of a mature tree to illustrate applying the habits to one’s life.”
When I went to enroll my kids at school this year, it was the first time I got a sense that something was different. It was subtle, but everywhere I looked, I could see signs of the 7 Healthy Habits. Our PTA hung posters and painted walls. They were visible from the moment you entered the building and on every classroom wall. It was so important in fact, that the first week of school was spent learning the Healthy Habits, the hand motions, the tag lines, and how “through the power of a common language” and understanding our students would discover on their journey, just who they were. What talents and gifts they had, because after all, they each had the leadership potential.
Maybe you can sense my incredulous tone and I will say that on the surface it seemed just fine, but the more I heard and the more I witnessed, the more I have come to question it and after tonight’s symposium, I am puzzled. To have a set of values in and of themselves is great. I have no problem with my children learning leadership, accountability, adaptability, communications, responsibility and so forth, but what has me puzzled is how and why this particular book, this program, and these values are the ones our schools have decided are good? When I began to ask around, not only is this program in my school district, but several surrounding districts in my area and then throughout the country….and now, throughout the world. The video presentation tonight, directly through the Leader and Me program had teachers testifying to the success that they have seen since the implementation of this program. To be fair, I should tell you that according to the website, “The Leader in Me is not an event and it’s not a curriculum, it’s ubiquitous leadership development.”For those of you who don’t have time to google the definition of “ubiquitous” it means: “Being or seeming to be everywhere at the same time; omnipresent:” One teacher in the video expressed great joy, stating, “they [students] are the most impressionable at this age..”
Why am I so bothered by something that seems so harmless? For one thing, while I find the 7 Healthy Habits to be acceptable tools and values, they are not the most important things that I seek for my children, nor would I hope for them to seek for themselves. To find out who they are and what gifts and strengths they have should not be cast to them to “ensure buy-in” by their school district in hopes that they will reach “their maximum potential.” It is not the Habits that we should be concerned about, it’s the implementation and indoctrination telling my kids WHO they are with no regard for what we value and we seek. When you start seeing things like: “Gives everyone a common language that becomes the core of the culture” it makes me, as believer of Jesus, quiver in unbelief. When this “program” comes into our schools, takes a week out of the school year and is instilled in every classroom daily, creates a school environment where silence is the standard for the sake of respecting others, where control is achieved for the sake of compliance and policy, and where chanting tag lines and silent hand motions are looked upon with admiration instead of disdain for the eerily familiar, I think we have pulled the wool over our own eyes.
Is it really our goal to rise up a nation of leaders? Why are we starting this in Elementary schools across the nation and world? Can you imagine this in a high school? Of course not, they aren’t that impressionable. As parents we should be widely concerned about who is impressing what on our children. What would happen if instead of seeking to be leaders of others, we sought to love others. Instead of reaching to achieve, “our maximum potential” we did nothing with our selfish ambition and sought see others as better than ourselves? The words and actions from Leader in Me, look familiar and parallel my core values and faith beliefs, but they are not them. They are just close enough to make me wonder what the agenda is behind this book and program that is rampantly spreading throughout the world. I don’t fault my school or my district even, necessarily. I think the majority of administration, are just like the head nodders that were in my meeting this evening, but I see the potential for this kind of indoctrination to our youth on a mass level to seek a common world view. I see your potential eye rolls and sighs of disgust, but I raise you this final thought: regardless of whether this program has a hidden agenda or if it is the next great achievement for this up and coming generation, I urge you to think about who it is and what you want influencing your children and make sure that what they hear is sound doctrine and not just what someone else wants to put in their ear.


2 Responses to “The Hidden Dangers of the Leader and Me Program (7 Healthy Habits)??”

  1. Donnie Wilkerson November 25, 2015 at 3:31 PM #

    Trust me, your concerns are valid! Though many around the country are indeed drinking mass quantities of the “kool aid” there is another side. i am wrapping up two years of extensive research on this program and its purveyor and will soon be publishing the results. FranklinCovey is not very happy with me but the public deserves to know all that is associated with this cult like corporate money grab and encroachment into our public schools. If you wish more information please email me at

    • elainemillerbates June 6, 2016 at 6:01 AM #

      Interested in hearing more from Donnie Wilkerson ..Leader in Me…

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