Do Good Leaders Exist Anymore?

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“Ask yourself how you would act if the entire world was watching – then act accordingly”.
-Thomas Jefferson

You are a leader whether you want to be or not! Someone is always watching you and trying to do what you do or say. Have you ever watched a little girl ‘discipline’ her doll? Did the words and tone she used sound familiar? She was acting like her mom, right?

I love the beginning of the school year. We pray for the kids.  We come together as a family and talk about what we are excited about and what we are nervous about for the school year. Who knew your first show and tell could be a scary thought instead of an exciting thought? But if you think about it, you have to go up in front of everyone and ad-lib a story that you hope is either thrilling or funny.  So there is some pressure there if you are in Kindergarten.

We also take this time to talk to the kids about our expectations for the next year. One concept we talk about is leadership. We tell each of our kids that they are leaders. They will each have people watching them trying to figure out what to do next. We talk about what a good leader does, what they say and how they treat others. We remind them that they have Jesus inside of them so they are capable of being a good example and making wise choices. Continue reading

Kids, Chameleons, and Ninjas

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This weekend I watched American Ninja Warrior for the first time with my kids. Where has this show been my whole life? If you haven’t seen it, it is basically a competition that requires you to climb, swing, and crawl through challenging obstacle course.  After we got done watching, the kids went downstairs and made their own obstacle course to practice.


I refrained from participating (mostly), but it did make me feel inspired to go for a run or start lifting weights.  They made the physical challenges look so fun, and it was inspirational to see them push through the pain to try to win the prize. I thought, “That looks like fun.  I bet I could do that!”  I was struck by how much we were influenced by 2 hours of television.  Simply watching those athletes jump, swing, and climb had inspired us to do the same.  My, how impressionable we are! 

Aren’t we all a little bit like the stereotypical chameleon, which changes color to match whatever is near it?  *   As a parent, it reminded me of the importance of exposing my kids to good influences.  Even the most independent and counter-cultural or anti-faddist adults are still influenced by those around them, to some degree.  We still change our colors to blend in with our surroundings.  We are influenced, sometimes subconsciously, by the people around us.  I have two takeaways from this:  Continue reading

Parenting and Deciding

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I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost


Decisions.  Sometimes they really do make all the difference.  Other times, either path would work.  And other times, you should just turn around because neither path is good.  But how do you know?  How do you decide?

As a parent, you face dozens of decisions about how I should raise each child.  And no child will achieve successful adulthood without learning to make wise decisions.  Because of this, I want to learn how to make better decisions.  No, I need to make better decisions.  Is such a thing possible, or are some people just born as better decision makers and others worse and there is nothing you can do to change it?  Continue reading

Parenting and Changing

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Parenting is a very difficult job that is always stretching me and demanding new levels of efficiency, concentration, relational wizardry, and self-control.  Because of this, I am often needing to improve and to change.  If you have read any of our posts you have probably noticed that they speak of our desires to keep growing and learning and changing.  We believe strongly that we are on a journey and not finished yet.  And that requires change.

But ‘making changes’ is not only focused on me – it also is a big part of my role as a parent.  Think of it – each child (4 for us) has about 18 years for us to lead them through the process of learning…everything!  Of course they will continue to learn after they leave our nest, but the sheer magnitude of helping my 4 kids prepare to enter the world as fully-functional adults can sometimes be pretty overwhelming.  How do I get them to change into the people that God wants them to be?  We want them to be leaders.  We want them to change the world.  But today, I’d be happy if I could get the middle two to stop annoying each other and our youngest to start going potty in the toilet!  The amount of maturing and changing that takes place in those 18 years is mind-boggling.

To summarize, I daily feel the need to change myself and to teach my kids how to change. Continue reading

C13 Leadership: Love Works

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Leadership is hard.  And one of the most difficult aspects of leadership is finding the balance between niceness and effectiveness.  Do you struggle with avoiding the two extremes like I do?

Moms – do you keep your children in line with the fear of your wrath?  Or are you a pushover because you want them to like you and you are afraid of making them upset? 

Husbands – do you rule your home with an iron fist, never letting anyone forget who’s the boss?  Or do you check out and go passive at the first sign of conflict or problems?   

Bosses – Do your employees see you as callous, uncaring, and mean?  Or as a nice guy who never gets anything done? 

Regardless of your role, do you struggle with making the hard decisions that you know are right?

I believe this is a struggle for every person with any amount of leadership responsibility.  Most of us have a natural tendency towards one end of the spectrum or the other, depending on nature and nurture, and these deeply engrained emotions and habits are hard to change.  The ideal leader will be able to land at that perfect spot in the middle, where effectiveness and niceness overlap.  But how?  How can I achieve this superhuman feat?  What strategy could possibly work?  Continue reading

The Fine Art of Child Delegation

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A few weeks back I wrote a nerdy post about the 4 roles of the preceptor parent.  (I was targeting the “pharmacist-parents-with-more-than-3-children” crowd, which is our niche market.)  I had also put it out there that a dad is a teacher.

Today’s follow-up is about the fine art of delegating to your children.  Why is it a fine art?

  • Fine art takes talent.
  • Fine art takes a lot of practice. And hard work.  And time.
  • Fine art is a beautiful masterpiece!
  • Creating fine art is a messy process.

I am a little concerned that our society is trending towards children who are have every opportunity but little or no experience with responsibility.  Some families have crammed in so many activities that they don’t have time to slow down and teach their kids life skills.  Skills like laundry.  Dishes.  Hammering a nail.  Mowing the grass. Planting a garden.  Cooking.  Cleaning the floor.  You know, all that stuff that YOU have to do for THEM.  Turns out that it is actually your job to teach THEM how to do those jobs for themselves!


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Verb Tense

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Words are important.  We use them to shape our future and to direct our thoughts and our actions.  We all probably know that.  But did you know that your verb tense makes a difference too?  I will always remember the lesson that the ICU attending physician gave us.  Once in a while a new resident doctor (in training) would go through a patient’s labs and say, “His potassium is low, so we are going to give him some IV potassium.”  The attending physician who was in charge would say, “You know what to do.  Why isn’t this already done? When you report to me I want the IV to be going already.”  The residents only made that mistake once!

The wiser, older doctor wanted the resident physician to use a verb that was past tense.  “His potassium is low, so we gave him 40mEq of potassium this morning.”  Ah, much better.

Here are three verb tenses for you to compare, exemplifying the way that your verb tense can make or break your effectiveness at work and in your relationships.   Continue reading

Your 5 Limited Resources With Unlimited Potential, Part 2


Yesterday I introduced the concept that we have 5 limited resources with unlimited potential.  That seemingly contradictory statement has helped me to keep a realistic understanding of each of the 5 areas of my life, without limiting my expectations of what is possible.  We covered Time and Focus last week, and today we will cover Energy, Money, and Relationships.

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Your 5 Limited Resources With Unlimited Potential, Part 1


I don’t know if you have ever thought of it this way or not, but you have 5 very valuable and very limited resources at your disposal.  I’m not talking about the kind of natural resources you might be thinking of, like coal or gold or cadmium – the resources I’m talking about today are even more important than those.  Each person on earth is given access to these 5 ‘natural resources,’ and how you handle them will shape literally everything about your life.

I first started thinking about this concept because of Jason Womack.  Jason Womack is a public speaker, author, executive coach, and ball of energy.  I attended one of his seminars a couple years ago and have continued to learn from him ever since.  He introduced me to the idea of purposefully managing my Energy, Time, and Focus.  In his book, Your Best Just Got Better, Jason Womack lists “Tools” as the fourth limited resource, and stresses the importance of managing your relationships.  With that background, here is my list of your 5 limited resources:

Time, Focus, Energy, Money, and Relationships   Continue reading

Time Investment: Elizabeth Saunders


Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to Elizabeth Saunders – time management and effectiveness guru. We went to college together and stayed Facebook friends through the years, and so I was happy for her when she announced that she had written a book about time management. “Cool,” I thought, “Someone I know has written a book…and actually gotten it published!” I would have been satisfied if it was a typical time management book – a quick read that compiles a dozen helpful hints that let you save a few minutes a day. Let me tell you, friends, this is not your typical time management book! Instead, it is an incredible book that fundamentally changes the way that you think about time, effectiveness, and success itself. I won’t try to summarize the book here. For one thing, you need to read it. For another, she has already summed it in up a Teacher’s Guide and Book Club Guide.  These give you a pretty good idea of the basic outline. Continue reading