Leadership – show’em how its done!

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”   Clarence B. Kelland


Lead Me

No one ever says “boss me” or “manage me.”  People say “Lead me, please!”  

Leadership is different.  It requires active participation in so many ways.  Fathers(and mothers)  are the most important leaders out there.  They set the foundation of the future at the earliest stages.  You think that baby is just babbling – he or she is watching your reaction – are you paying attention are you participating?  If so, they know they are valued. 

But how??

Listen – do you have a commitment to listening with the intent of understanding?  Are you receptive to the message without judging the messenger?  Will you seek to learn and clarify the will of the group?  Do you listen without interrupting?  Are you willing to listen to someone’s rant and look for why they feel that way?  And while you listen, will your non-verbal communication reinforce that you are in fact listening with an open mind?

Envision  – Do you know someone who can balance the need for focus on the immediate needs but also see a great vision of the future?  The story of how executing day to day  connects to a great the future is the tale true leaders weave.  They know the importance of execution but also of placing the brick in the foundation for the future.  Yes, today’s problem can seem overwhelming but we can turn it into a piece of what makes us great and differentiates us.

Be Aware – Are you in touch – with your team, with your family, but most of all, with yourself?  When you dedicate yourself to being aware, you will discover things.  They might be scary but they will lead you to new understanding and new horizons.   Your inner strength will carry you through the scary parts.

Finally, be sure to say “Thank you” for even the small things – better yet, write it.  That will be your legacy.  I recently heard a story of a Senior Chief in Afghanistan who offered a bunk spot to a new Lt. who was passing through the Operations Base.  The Lt. sent him a thank you note.  The Senior Chief said it was the first time in 25 years an officer ever really acknowledged him that way.  So,

Show Gratitude


Approaching Father’s Day – Joy and Grief


An important part of Father’s Day is having great kids – two of whom I raised and two who were brought to our family as spouses.  Plus I have the kids who are loaned to us from our friends and siblings.  All are great in their own way and have been an important part of our grieving process.

I still have Meredith, my daughter and Amanda, Chris’ wife, and, soon, Nate as a son-in-law.

but I do not have Chris

With six weeks separating me from the shock and the complete devastation of getting the news, I have to say that I fear this Sunday.  Meredith, Amanda, and Nate – please know you mean the world to me and I know Gayle will hold me up through this time but there is something about a father and his son.

You know the saying “Hope for the best and plan for the worst.”  Well, I will not say I never thought this was possible but I certainly did not plan for it.  In fact, I was planning for the best – the day when he would get back, a trip to do some diving together, Meredith’s Wedding, etc.  I did not plan to have a Flag from a “Grateful Nation.”  I did not expect to have a Drexel Dragon in Chris’ honor.  I did not plan to think about what to do with donations and, honestly, I was the last person who I thought would have a letter from the President.  Thanks, but you can have all of them back

So, what will I do this Father’s Day?  Not sure.  I might turn off my cell phone after I talk to Meredith, Amanda and Nate.  Maybe I will go for a bike ride or a run or go sit quietly on a beach.  Probably, I will be thankful for what I have but then grieve more for what I have lost.  Yes, I do have great memories and I see the marvelous potential in each of the kids.  However, I saw such great potential in Chris too and every person who has spoken or written to me about Chris reminds me that even  I underestimated what he would and could be.

So, for Father’s Day, give me the gift of your thoughts and prayers once more:

  • For Amanda who misses Chris more than any of us can fathom
  • For Meredith who lost her brother and friend
  • For Nate as he deals with all of us
  • For Gayle and me as we try to grasp the how of going forward.

Most importantly

For every person in our military, father, son, mother, daughter, friend,   who is spending this day and so many more like it in a foreign land away from those they love.  They have voluntarily stepped into harm’s way to protect the weak from the strong, to bring justice and fairness to a land where that is not the norm and to offer freedom to people who are not.