The third Monday of every February serves as the federal holiday celebrating Presidents’ Day. This long-standing holiday has been recognized since 1885, when it was initially established to celebrate President George Washington’s birthday, according to It was later moved to a different day as part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which served to create more three-day weekends for workers around the country. While many states recognize the birthdays of Washington as well as Abraham Lincoln (and other prominent figures throughout history) on separate days, Presidents’ is widely observed as a celebration of all U.S. presidents of the present and past.

The experts at Apex Leadership Co. believe that the Presidents’ Day holiday not only serves as a great way to enjoy a three-day weekend for families but also as an opportunity to recognize the achievements of some of the nation’s most revered leaders. Presidents’ Day is an opportunity to further teach students and youth about the important leadership characteristics that are necessary to become part of history. It’s also an important time to recognize patterns of the past and how they have changed. Parents and educators can help students determine the leadership qualities that were emphasized then that may have changed in the current society — and challenge youth to discover what they think are some of the most valuable characteristics of a leader today.

There are many qualities that make up a leader.

They must be able to capture the respect and attention of a crowd. They must be able to prioritize the good of the whole rather than focus on the betterment of just one individual or group. Leaders value their own personal development, and they encourage others to seek their own as well. Whether on a youth sports team, leading a high-executive corporate setting, or running the country, leadership has its own unique pressures. Those that seek leadership must be able to handle the stress and pressure while also helping to alleviate concerns and pressures of the group. Which is no easy feat!

Leaders lookout for those in need.

This can start with the simplest gesture of kindness in the classroom. But this is a valuable quality that can be powerfully contagious. Teaching empathy in children is a great way to instill this characteristic as they mature.

Leaders also must have the ability to think outside the box and to seek answers beyond the status quo.

Rather than looking back at the past for answers, leaders might look back to see what has been done before and then determine how those situations could have been handled differently for a better resolution. Or they might look to resolve conflict in a new way that has never been done before.

Asking students and children what characteristics they think it takes to become a leader is a great way to get the conversation started. Encourage children at any age to consider this question and to develop their own list of leadership qualities.

There are so many positive traits that comprise a leader — and a leader doesn’t have to be the head of a major company or hold a high-ranking government office position. Leaders are all around. Parents and educators can help encourage leaders by giving them the tools and the opportunities to discover their potential. Apex Leadership Co. invites parents and educators to take the “lead” on helping shape tomorrow’s leaders — starting this Presidents’ Day!