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David Hegg: The legacy of leadership from our fathers

Posted: June 16, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 16, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Famous leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell is on record as declaring that "everything rises and falls on leadership." The ability to see into the future, understand the risks and rewards, and organize a group of people to accomplish the mission is essential for success.

This is true in every setting, from the worlds of business and sports to the classroom, battlefield, courtroom and legislative chamber.

But more important than all of these is leadership in the family.

Today is Father’s Day, a day set aside to honor fathers. But sadly, more and more homes face the crises of absentee fathers, and the duty of leadership falls to a courageous mom who finds herself managing, and providing, and disciplining, and loving all alone.

So while this column is about leading, and is offered on Father’s Day, my thoughts are not gender specific.

What we need is responsible leadership in the home provided by responsible adults, who understand they are responsible to raise children who will take responsibility for their actions and work hard to be productive, healthy, contributors to society.

In my world of church leadership, I think leadership is actually responsible for almost all of the problems a church encounters.

Either we cause the problem through pride or haste or worse, or we fail to recognize and deal properly with the problems caused by others.

Sometimes we fail simply by choosing the wrong process or method of implementing necessary change.

What we want to do is good, but the way we do it causes problems. And to be sure, sometimes leadership just has to do the hard thing regardless of the consequences.

It is no different in the home. Decisions need to be made, standards must be set and held consistently, discipline needs to be meted out properly, and most of all, love must be abundant, overflowing with grace and forgiveness.

In reality, parents offer their children a classroom on life, an infirmary dispensing healing, an ethical gym for building strong character, and an amusement park for finding life’s laughter and joy.

And they do it all realizing that the rewards for excellent leadership in the home most often come when the child wakes up in adulthood to the fact that mom and dad were amazing after all.

Parenting isn’t for the weak or faint-hearted. But often the role is cast and the challenges come unexpectedly.

No matter.

Having a child changes everything. It changes the necessary order of our priorities.

No longer is there room for selfish pursuits that act against the best interests of our baby.

No longer can we act in ways that are detrimental to our child’s wellbeing.

Suddenly there is a new boss in our lives whose power lies in his or her total helplessness.

That precious life didn’t ask to come into a world filled with the consequences of our past mistakes and present challenges, but come she did, full of life and promise. And that changes everything, or at least it should.

Here’s my prayer for every parent.

Don’t give up.

Never give up.

Do what is best for your children.

If you’re married, don’t give up on your marriage. Love your spouse more than yourself, for to do so is to love your children well.

And most of all, be a leader who takes on the challenges with courage and grace, who provides needed direction and provision, and every day, be the place your family can find refuge from the storms of this world.

Because everything — including our communities and country — stands or falls on how leaders take up their tasks, take on the challenges, and lead the way every day, with honor and integrity.

May God grant us the courage and humility to be the leaders our families, churches, businesses and country need.

David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident. "Ethically Speaking" runs every Sunday.


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