I tasked my 7-year-old daughter with mentoring my 5-year-old son....


I tasked my 7-year-old daughter with mentoring my 5-year-old son....

Before anyone starts slinging “Parentification” my way, let me explain.

According to a BBC article in 2023 "Eight out of 10 South African school children struggle to read by the age of ten''.

I grew up with a love of books and I am fortunate that my children share the same passion.

It pains me to know that there are so many young children who can't enjoy the lessons that books teach. Books teach creativity, problem solving, having a moral compass and motivation.

My daughter this week expressed the desire to expand her reading vocabulary so she can tackle thicker books.
My son on the other hand loves books and can loosely summarize the story through pictures but wants to understand the written parts.

I decided a collaboration with mutual benefits was in order: my daughter could extend her reading vocabulary by reading bedtime stories to her brother, and my son could understand the full story of the book.

My daughter’s one condition was to quiz her brother after the story to check if he was "listening." She didn’t want to waste her time. My children are comical at times.

Our first reading session started off rocky. My daughter asserted her authority as the storyteller by threatening “no reading” if her brother didn't sit quietly. He acquiesced.
The reading went well, and my son was excited about being quizzed. My daughter praised his correct answers and gently corrected the ones he got wrong.

It wasn’t a calm bedtime session. I could have given AI the task but watching my children help each other grow was worth it.

This made me think about how similar this situation is to a work environment. You might have an employee ready to step up as a leader but may need help in growing their leadership skills.

By mentoring a junior employee, the potential leader can coach them to perform better and fill any knowledge gaps through asking questions and encouraging critical thinking.

The potential leader gains important soft skills such as patience ,empathy and how to bring out the best in people with encouragement. These are essential leadership qualities. Both employees win and so does the company.

Our Mental Wellness has been investing heavily on building programs that focus on soft skill development and healthy work partnerships that increase performance.

We walk "our talk'' in our homes and model the behaviour we advocate for in work environments.

Below is my son’s favourite book. I think he got 7/10 last night for the quiz.