Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Little Today. Leaders Tomorrow."

If opinion polls are any indication, many Americans are pessimistic about their future.  In a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, 1,025 adults aged 18 and older were asked to respond to the statement, When you think about the future of the United States – which do you agree with more:   the country’s best years are ahead of us (or) the country’s best years are behind us?   The poll results indicate that our nation is divided almost evenly in their outlook—47% said the best years are ahead, while 50% said the best years were behind us.

When clouds of pessimism arise about our future, we are often encouraged by good news and real-life stories that portray a positive outlook.   One such story began in 2004 when our son, Brad, founded The Little Leaders Company for the purpose of producing a Bible-based series of developmental videos for young children, infants to age three.

Within two years of its founding, the multimedia company had produced four 30-minute DVD's, each designed to introduce important Biblical concepts through the examples of Biblical characters—Noah, Moses, Joseph, and Ruth.  Each DVD is an explosion of vivid colors with quality animations designed to capture the attention of youngsters (and their parents) and to assist them in learning important biblical character qualities and other practical skills—learning their colors, learning to count, and exposure to other languages.
Brad with his niece (Kiara) and nephew (Caleb)

The DVD, Little Joseph, teaches that God has a plan for each of our lives; and, his “coat of many colors” gives opportunity for children to learn their colors and find joy in the richness and beauty of God’s creation.  Little Ruth, which features the life of the Old Testament character, Ruth, teaches children the importance of respecting their parents and other members of their family.  Little Noah and Little Moses introduce children to these Old Testament men of faith; and, demonstrate God’s faithfulness in saving Noah from the flood, and by leading Moses and the Israelites out of bondage.

From the beginning, The Little Leaders Company was rooted in family relationships.  As Brad recounts, his inspiration for this project was from existing DVD’s such as “Baby Einstein” which were favorites of his niece and her parents, Mindy and Steve Salyers.

Team of the Little Leaders Company
As Brad began the writing and production stages, he enlisted family members and friends to help with voice recordings, foreign languages, stand-ins, and choreographic roles.  Brad’s wife, Raquel, assisted in production while his sister, Mindy, and cousins, Sharon and Keith Kohler assisted in marketing of the DVD’s.

The slogan of The Little Leaders Company for nearly a decade has been “Little Today.  Leaders Tomorrow.” Now, children who have been exposed to important biblical truths and skills through Little Leaders are reaching the age when leadership skills are beginning to emerge.  So, we thought it would be interesting to feature several children who were “Little” nearly a decade ago and are becoming “Leaders Tomorrow” as they enter their adolescent years.

Caleb and his dad (2003); and assisting with media at his church in 2013.

For example, Brad’s nephew Caleb has entered high school this year at Stateline Christian School, in Temperance, MI.  While in junior high, Caleb was elected to a class office.  He currently assists in the ministry of Northpoint Church of the Nazarene, in nearby Toledo, OH where his father, Steve Salyers is pastor.  Caleb is developing his own interest in multimedia production with the encouragement of

his uncle Brad.  Meanwhile, Caleb’s sister, Kiara, finds joy in singing both at home and at her church, sometimes in duet with her sister, Della; or with other former “Little Leaders,” Cassandra and Brenda Petrey.

Other children of the past decade who were featured in Little Leaders DVD’s include Caleb and Kiara’s cousins. 

Kiara, Cassandra, and Brenda across top, in 2004;
and with Cassandra's sister, Serena, in 2013.
Space allows the featuring of only a few family members and acquaintances who have participated in The Little Leaders Company.  In fact, we trust that those who participated in the DVD’s are only a few of the “Little Leaders” who are becoming “Leaders Tomorrow” as their lives have been enriched by biblical principles through their parents, church, and community. 

Finally, if you know of one or more children or adults who have been encouraged by the biblical message through Little Leaders, please share it here through a “Comment” or other means provided on this page.  At a time when we are confronted with many unsettling challenges both at home and abroad, we applaud ministries like The Little Leaders Company as well as dedicated moms and dads, churches, and communities that are nurturing godly leaders for tomorrow.