“When you are so confident that you are loved and liked by your parents, you can pour into other people.”

Parenting is the highest form of leadership. This year, while children are at home for school, parents have an unprecedented opportunity. In this podcast, Tricia Halsey interviews Christian Dykson, a 19 year-old Ashoka Young Changemaker who is wise beyond his years. And then, Christian joins his parents Dirk and Lindie for a conversation about parenting and raising leaders. Learning and working from home comes with tremendous challenges, but we can choose to see this season as a gift that will forever change the lives of our kids and every life they touch. Listen in to this powerful conversation.

Christian Dykson’s purpose is to be a servant-leader, with a clear voice of reason and the ability to draw out the best in every person. He is committed to creating an ecosystem of love, dignity, and respect, where every person is empowered, engaged, and uplifted. Christian is an undergraduate student studying Political Science, Natural Resource Economics, and Spanish at Colorado State University.

Christian has a heart for humanity and a strong desire to be the catalyst that unleashes the potential of his generation. In 2019, Christian was selected as an Ashoka Young Changemaker for his work as the founder of the Custodian Service Initiative (CSI). CSI transforms school culture by building relationships, improving attitudes toward littering, increasing student ownership, and fostering respect for custodial staff. As part of his journey with Ashoka, Christian shared his vision with thousands of National Honor Society students at the LEAD Conference in Washington D.C. and he co-authored a blog on fostering changemaking in schools, despite the uncertainty of COVID-19.


  • Hearing from the perspective of a dynamic 19 year-old Generation Z leader who is well beyond his years in wisdom.
  • Unleashing the power of others begins with knowing their name, then challenging them to dream.
  • Christian’s worldview shift when he began to notice the vital role of custodians and building a program to elevate the custodial staff to match their true value as “heroes of the hallways.” How this project led to Ashoka selecting Christian as a Young Changemaker.
  • Christian’s goal is to “serve” as the U.S. President someday. He speaks about why and shares his vision for the future.
  • The reason why empathy should be a focus of parents when they are developing their children.
  • The difference between loving and liking your child, and what time has to do with it.
  • Assessing and judging children actually steals power from them. What we should do instead.
  • What are the distractions that take the attention of children away from meaningful interactions with parents that would help them feel more known and liked?
  • Ask the question: “What is the culture we want as a family?”

References and Resources

  • An Educated Child by Bill Bennet
  • “May the best of your today’s be the worst of your tomorrow’s, and the road less paved be the road you travel.” – Jason Mraz


  • “Leadership has been a willingness to say “yes,” and open my heart—a hospitality—a heart posture for the people around me where I genuinely want to know where they are going, where they want to be, and how I can help them get there.”
  • “…what it means to be a servant leader: to step out of your office, out of your title, your responsibilities—even for a moment—to demonstrate your commitment to the collective.”
  • “When you can feel history, it changes what you do in the future.”
  • “Parents can recognize that whatever your relationship looks like with your son or your daughter, they have power within them. And if you can patiently approach, and listen intentionally, they’ll find that power.”
  • “If you understand your child, you give them room to understand themselves, in a way that isn’t a preconceived notion of what you have in mind for them. And if you give them room for understanding themselves…they’ll have empathy for others.”
  • I may not know you or your story, but I want you to have it all. Seeing the best in the people around us. That’s what my parents did with me. They loved me, they believed in me, they saw me… I mean, she still, she sees me in the White House some day because that is my dream, that is my vision and that just renews my confidence, it renews my hope, and it sustains me.”