Review Crew: Leadership Garden Legacy

An important aspect of our homeschool is developing character qualities and teaching our values to our children.  I hope and pray that we are able to instill our values in them and raise them to be strong leaders.  Because this is something on our hearts, I was excited we had the opportunity to review Leadership Garden Legacy!

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What is it?
Leadership Garden Legacy was created by Debra J. Slover who has over 30 years of experience teaching leadership principles to students and adults.  After a difficult childhood, Debra determined to set a new course for her life and to develop her own leadership potential.  She started her own company, producing leadership materials to help train others in these principles.  Her materials are based off a garden metaphor of growing your own leadership garden, planting the seeds for success and weeding out those behaviors and thoughts that can sabotage your leadership potential.

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What does in include?
The program includes both a book for adults and one for children in addition to a guidebook:
U.N.I.Q.U.E. Growing the Leader Within  $18.95
U.N.I.Q.U.E. Growing My Leadership Garden  $18.95
The Leadership Garden Guidebook   $18.95

I also received MP3’s of the books as well as a leadership journal and activity guide.

The children’s program is geared for ages 8-12 and the adult program is for anyone over the age of 12 who is interested in developing leadership qualities.

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The books are based on the acronym U.N.I.Q.U.E. which stands for:

  • Understanding
  • Nurturing
  • Inventive
  • Quality
  • Unstoppable
  • Expression

What did this program look like at our house?
I read through the children’s book first before reading it with Curly.

The children’s book describes the journey of a young sheep named Hugh who finds himself at the leadership farm after leaving his flock.  Hugh is taken on a tour of the farm to meet all the animals who each have a different perspective to teach him regarding leadership.  Through his talks and experiences with each animal, he is given the tools to become a well-rounded leader.
At the end of each chapter are a few questions to reinforce the concepts in each lesson and test for comprehension.  Here are some sample questions from the first chapter:

  • Can you name the three kinds of seeds that grow in Leadership Gardens?
  • What helpful seed thoughts are growing in your garden? How do they make you feel? (page 15)

Curly and I read this book out loud together and we discussed the questions at the end of each chapter.  However, a few chapters into the book Curly was fairy confused by the terminology in the book and was not understanding much of what we were reading together.

At this point, I stopped reading the children’s book with her and I simply continued reading the adult version on my own. 

The adult book has extensive quotes from the kids’ book with more detailed metaphor and more indepth explanations of the concepts taught.  This book also has short exercises at the end of each chapter to encourage further exploration of the concepts and the application of the concepts.
Some of the exercises for chapter 4 were to write down the name of someone with whom I’ve had a difference and list what I saw in their behavior that I didn’t like. 

What didn’t we like?
When the sheep first comes to the leadership farm, he explains how he came to be alone and lost.  He had run away from his flock when his mother was chased by coyotes.  The little sheep was afraid and abandoned his mother and was not sure if she was even alive.  Curly is my sensitive child.  She cried when Winnie-the Pooh fell out of the honey tree and this story hurt her little heart.  She was very upset that someone (even an animal) would abandon a family member in such a scary situation and she was incredibly anxious to know if little Hugh’s mother was still alive.  So, the opening pages of the story put her on edge and she was upset by the story line.

There are so many terms in the books that are sometimes used in a way to suit the metaphor of the leadership garden or to suit the author’s purposes.  I had a hard time keeping up with the terminology and much of it was lost on Curly.  I felt the books contained many leadership “buzzwords” without enough explanation or application.  In addition, there are numerous acronyms used and it was confusing for me to keep up.  I provided two quotes below to help illustrate.

Here is a quote from the children’s book:
“Excellent,” said Robert. “What inspired you to make the choice to return home?”
“A feeling I have inside that it is the right choice, plus the knowledge that I can choose to use my personal power,” said Hugh, holding his head high.
Robert nodded. “that’s fitting for a courageous sheep. How will you show your power?”
“By playing.” Hugh grinned.
“What do you mean ‘playing’?” asked Robert.
“I want to use my strong leader power with fun at the same time,” said Hugh.
“That’s interesting. What results do you want from your power and play actions?”
“I want peace.”
(page 78)

And a quote from the adult book:
Annabelle replies, “When you let spirit blockers and other weeds get in your way, you lose the opportunity to grow and thrive, limiting what you see, where you step, and the path you take in life.”
“I like the idea of choosing my own path,” says Hugh.  “So, even though I have some survival tendencies, and stumble once in a while, I can still grow my Leadership Garden to thrive?”
“Absolutely,” says George. “Just unblock your spirit, cultivate your I.Z.E., and follow your dreams.”
(page 49-50)
*The I.Z.E. acronym stands for “Internal Zones of Expansion.”

What did we like?
Curly was interested in the story line and was very curious about the sheep’s journey.  She enjoyed the farm animals and their various character traits they represented.

I liked the concept of using a metaphor of growing a garden to parallel the growth and development of leadership qualities.  

What did we think overall?
This is a secular character resource and I was interested to see how it would present the leadership qualities.  I expected the book to focus more on the “how to” and give very concrete leadership principles and simple steps to achieving leadership qualities.  I felt the adult book was more about the author’s story and her personal quest to overcome past circumstances in order to reach fulfillment than becoming a leader.  The author’s story is inspiring as she did experience some very difficult and trying situations in her early life, and the way she overcame circumstances to develop into a leader and one who mentors others to become a leader is very admirable.

The book for kids was a little too difficult for Curly to follow as all the terminology left her feeling a little confused and some of the exercises and questionnaires were over her head.  She and I both had a very hard time find the application in the book after wading through the various terms, phrases, and acronyms.

I think this book would be best for kids in the upper end of the suggested age range to help them better grasp the vocabulary in the book.

Leadership Garden Legacy is offering the TOS Community a β€œSpring Special Discount” of 20% on all our Empowerment Tools. This is in addition to our already discounted Tool Kit bundles.


To receive your discount, enter the discount code: TOS-SS20D upon checkout. This is a limited time offer and the code will expire on May 31, 2013.

See how the rest of the crew used Leadership Garden Legacy here!


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