t Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary, A Leadership Academy, the principles outlined in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" serve as our core expectations for the entire community (students and staff). In previous articles, we have touched on the importance of "Habit 1 - Be Proactive" and the impact it can have on a school culture when kids are "in charge" of themselves.

The second of the seven habits is to "Begin with the End in Mind." Simply put, this habit teaches the importance of having a vision for the future and creating subsequent goals that are aligned with this vision. If habit says that we are the "drivers" of our life, then habit two encourages us to choose a destination and create a map or plan to get there. One such plan is a personal mission statement, which ultimately serves as a motto or creed, constantly reminding us of our values.

Recently, I sat down with a group of students from Mrs. Kim Bordelon's fourth-grade class. Just prior to our meeting, each of her students had written personal mission statements as a means of practicing habit two. I asked them the following questions.

1. What is your personal mission statement?

2. How does it help you develop leadership skills?

Below is a summary of their responses.

• "I am the beat in people's heart." This mission helps me to remember the importance of friendship and wanting to help others.

• "I am the eagle in the nest and will be there to help my family." This mission reminds me of what's important (family) and I feel that the classroom I'm in is part of my family, too.

• "I will help anyone, anywhere." My mission tells me that it doesn't matter who you are, I am going to help you improve as a person.

• "I am someone who will help others and follow the 7 Habits." This mission reminds me that I am a leader wherever I go. I know that I influence other people.

Our mission statement as a school is "Leaders of today, inspiring leaders of tomorrow." By teaching our students to write personal mission statements, we are essentially providing them with a leadership tool that will ultimately inspire other leaders.

Mike Sissel is a former teacher in the Kyrene School District. He has created a youth leadership organization called YELP (Youth Exemplifying Leadership Principles).


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