Convenient vs. Covenant Leadership

I know that today is Fatherhood Friday.  But, I was discussing leadership topics with fellow author / leader, Wayne Butler the other day and I was a little aggravated with the state of leadership among husbands and fathers.  Unfortunately, the lack of leadership is just too easy to identify today wherever you look.

Convenient vs Covenant - 1One of the descriptions for leaders that I observe today is that they are being convenient leaders.  So, what does that mean?

I think it means that they see some positive aspects of being a leader.  And that is a positive thing I believe.  However, they do not seem to grasp that leadership is inherently a difficult thing and that at many points in the process it is not fun.  So, while the task of leadership remains easy or fun for them, they remain engaged.  And when it gets too hard for them, they retreat from the challenge and shrink from their responsibility.  This is what I call a Convenient Leader.

Convenient vs Covenant - 2One of the descriptions for leaders that many of us are trying to encourage and promote is that of a covenant leader.  So, what does that mean?

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Manday: A Husband and Father’s Take on the Ranger Creed.


I was never a Ranger but many of my friends are.  I have always admired their Creed and see it as one of the most motivational things I’ve ever read.

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Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment

Recognizing that I volunteered as a Husband and Father, fully knowing the difficulties of staying happily married and raising good children in the modern world, I will always endeavor to uphold the Honor, Happiness, Faithfulness and Fidelity of my family unit.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.

Acknowledging the fact that a Husband and Father is an all encompassing and life changing job, I accept and relish the fact that my family expects me to work harder and be better that other Husbands and Fathers around me.

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some.

Never shall I fail my wife or children. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a special kind of Husband and Father. My love and faithfulness to my wife and my love and caring for my growing children shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

Energetically will I meet the challenges and pitfalls of being a Husband and Father. I will overcome any challenge for I am a better and more motivated Husband and Father and will try with all my might. Breaking my sacred Oath is not an option. I will never leave my Wife or Children behind and will in no circumstances will I ever embarrass my Wife or my Family.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to continue on according to God’s plan and complete my mission of taking care of my wife and raising good capable children no matter the circumstances placed upon me.

Rangers Lead The Way!!!

Manday: A Movie Recommendation and Two Must Read Articles

DF-11070-Edit - Ben Stiller in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY.

I am a movie buff.  I have passed that passion for movies on to my two boys and my wife.  Every week, my bride and I have date night.  That date night usually consists of dinner and a movie.  The day after Christmas, my boys insisted on seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  I want to highly recommend this film to you and your family.  Ben Stiller directs and stars in this amazing film.  It has a kind heart and is worth your time and money.  It is not a violent film filled with flashy stars flaunting their skin so it won’t be in the theatre for long.  See it.

One of the most powerful elements in this film is the use of cut scenes, dream sequences, and wild adventures that play out Walter’s fantasies and imagination. One minute everything is normal for Walter, and then suddenly, the scene is interrupted with loud special effects, character action, and slightly unrealistic scenarios. There is a part where Walter and his boss (Scott) are having a confrontation, and Walter zones out and imagines soaring through the city and fighting his boss like something out of “The Matrix.” This can be confusing as the scene goes completely off the rails without notice, but most times after playing out Walter’s vision, everything settles down and goes back to reality. These jumps in and out of reality are quite entertaining, and it is amusing to see Walter snap back into reality with people calling his name while he stares off into the distance. Walter’s imagination only begins as fantasy, but as the film goes on, he begins to actually experience real life adventures. The special effects and scene transitions are more than satisfactory, and there are outstanding camera shots of mountains, oceans, volcanoes and other scenery. There are many fantasy or silly scenes throughout the film, but these are presented to look the best on screen as they possibly can.  –HAYDEN PITTMAN WFAA Special Contributor


I am a father.  My 300 often share articles of interest about parenthood.  Ken shared the following article during one of our many breakfast meetings,  I found it convicting and thought provoking.  The article is entitled:  How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home.  Click on the link and read it.  It will get the spiritual and moral juices flowing.

 “And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”

Lastly, I am also a man who checks the pulse of politics and social issues.   My friend and popular author David T., shared an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal that I had to share with you.  I thought it was appropriate with all the turmoil surrounding free speech, reality TV shows, and alternate lifestyles.  I also found it amazingly appropriate for Manday.  I teased on Facebook, that Ms. Paglia’s views are pure heresy and would be rejected by the small fringe groups, mass media, and popular opinion makers.  I challenge you to read it.  The article is entitled: Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues.  Yes.  That Camille.

“Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America’s brawny industrial base, leaves many men with “no models of manhood,” she says. “Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There’s nothing left. There’s no room for anything manly right now.” The only place you can hear what men really feel these days, she claims, is on sports radio. No surprise, she is an avid listener. The energy and enthusiasm “inspires me as a writer,” she says, adding: “If we had to go to war,” the callers “are the men that would save the nation.”

I wanted to share these three things with you as you start your New Year.

Here is to a great 2014!!!

Leading Them to the Manger

Leading Them to the Manger - 1This will be my last chance to speak to the fathers before Christmas day rolls around. And I want to continue the theme of my article last year at Christmas. My admonition to the fathers out there last year on Christmas Day was to “Let’s lead our families and loved ones to the manger today.”

It seems that Christmas has become the domain of the “Moms” out there. They do most of the shopping and certainly most of the wrapping. Be honest guys, how many presents have you wrapped this year?

And that is all well and good. Perhaps in your family, like in mine, the wife and mother have more time to accomplish many of the tasks associated with the gifting of Christmas. Frankly, many of them enjoy it. But, probably they do not enjoy it like we think they do in the hustle and bustle of the last few days before Christmas. But they get it all done like the wonder women that they are.

So, what is the point for Fatherhood Friday on this last Friday before Christmas?

It is to remind you husbands and fathers out there of your sacred duty to lead your family to the manger on a daily basis. I know that Christmas will be over as quickly as it came upon us. But we must keep the beauty and the simplicity of the manger ever before us. And it is our jobs as the leaders in our homes to lead our families in slowing down, pausing to reflect, sharing the gift of love, and spending time around the manger where we can look into the face of the Newborn King.

Dads – Don’t send your wife and children to the manger this Sunday while you recline in front of the big screen TV and watch yet another football game. Get up, get off the couch and lead your family in some form of worship and praise of the greatest gift ever given – the Babe lying in the manger. The one came to lead us out of darkness and into eternal light.

Photo credit: John Pavelka / / CC BY
Photo credit: Zach Bonnell / / CC BY-NC-ND

Leaders and the Reset Button

Leaders and the Reset Button - 1I was recently discussing with some colleagues the subject of leadership and the younger generation.  Now, I know that I immediately sound really old when I say “younger generation”.  But the reality of the situation is that those under the age of 30 (and even up to the age of 40) have a different view of the world because of the ubiquity of video games in their formative years.

For those of that generation who are now finding themselves as husbands, fathers, and burgeoning leaders in their jobs or at church many are finding themselves with difficulties in dealing with real life situations and the challenges of being the husband, father and leader that they have perhaps envisioned themselves becoming.  They are discovering that being a leader is a lot harder than it looks.  Being a full-time husband and father is harder than it looks.  Being responsible at work and responsive at home come with a high cost in terms of energy and emotional capital.

But these young leaders grew up playing video games.  And when the game was not turning out the way they wanted it to, or they encountered seemingly unsurmountable odds, they simply reached over to the game console and pushed the “Reset” button and instantly was granted a fresh start and new insights into the pitfalls that were just before the cause of their demise in the video game.  There were no consequences to restarting and they could begin a new and try something different this time.  They could even restart as a completely different character.

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Leaders Lead – Fathers Must Also

Leaders Lead - Fathers Must Also - 1Real leaders understand the danger of inaction – either through intention or just through neglect.

Consider this: Public monuments are never set up to honor someone who merely intended to do something.  They don’t often build monuments to honor those who started a quest, but never finished it.

Leaders act. Though they spend time in study and planning, they mostly act. For leaders, study and planning are a ramp-up for action, not a substitute for it.

Fathers must act as well. As fathers we must lead with action. And now is the time for action. Not tomorrow. Not this week-end. Not after I have had some “Me Time”. Now is the time to act and do. Now is the time to redouble your efforts to be the kind of father that your children’s mother envisioned you to be when she married you.

Moreover, real leaders never let indecision lead to inaction. When confronted with several tough choices of action, they do not shrink back. They brace themselves, consult with their wife and together choose what they judge as the best way forward, and then set to work as best they can to achieve that goal.

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Leading at Work – Leading at Home

Leading at Work -- Leading at Home - 1

Regardless of what you think, you really are the same person at home that you are at work.  One persona may be more “masked” than the other, but you are the same person.

Why? You are one person, not two. You are ultimately the same man, both on the job with your colleagues and at home with your wife and children. You cannot live two disparate lives; you will ultimately be known as the same person in both spheres of influence. That may scare you a bit.  And I hope it is at the very least a sobering thought.

Leading at Work -- Leading at Home - 2The downside of that reality is that if you are a despicable person at home, you will ultimately show yourself to be the same at work.  And the greater shame is that many men would be more embarrassed to be considered despicable at work than at home.

Men who are weak and ineffective fathers tend to try to split their lives between work and family. They try to live their lives in two separate worlds.  That is, they live as producers at work but consumers at home.  On the job they dedicate their powers to serious, responsible activity; but at home they rest passively in pleasurable recreation. In the workplace, their character strengths operate at full throttle and everyone sees and respects their sound judgment, sense of responsibility, tough-minded perseverance, and self-control. But at home, their inner strengths that are so active at work, rest on idle, set aside for use during the day, and thereby hidden from their children’s eyes.

Successful fathers do not live like this. They are smart, effective leaders at home as well as on the job. Their strengths of character impress their children as much as their colleagues at work. Their devotion to their family, in fact, gives meaning and purpose to their strenuous life of professional work. The main purpose of their work is the welfare of their family, and their children know this.

In other words, a successful father exercises leadership at home as much as on the job — and he does so in very similar ways.

What does this mean? Let’s first look at how a man typically exercises effective leadership in the workplace, and then let’s turn to see how the same attitudes and behaviors apply to leadership at home.

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Accountability: The Single Man and Self Control


Many conversations of accountability focus strongly on the married man.   Unfortunately, the profile on which we build our foundation comes from the perspective of an established family man.  I have done many single men a disservice by not providing them a foundation on which to stand.  Hopefully, I can provide a challenge to the single man with a perspective for single-minded accountability.

Every man needs accountability.  When I say every man…that includes single men.  I personally believe single men need it now more than ever.  I observe young single men who believe they know it all and say some of the stupidest things in mixed company.  They treat their women as buddies instead of delicate flowers.  Augh!   This is something I never understood.  My Father raised me differently.  I never spoke ill of the opposite sex.  I always treated women with respect and honor.  So Single men…if you will listen up I am going to tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.

So who am I accountable to?  First and foremost, you are accountable to the ultimate power in the universe.  God.  The Creator of the universe.  Nothing has changed here…same message.  He brought you into this world…He can take you out.

You are in-experienced, immature, and, candidly, horny.  You are not entitled to damage single women because you can’t control yourself with her or with porn.

Second, if you are single,  you are accountable to self-control and your future spouse.  This is key.  You are not married.  You need to practice self-control.  As a young single male…you are already behind the curve.  How?  You are in-experienced, immature, and, candidly, horny.  You are not entitled to damage single women because you are unwilling to or won’t control yourself with her or with porn.  If you are in a relationship, you treat that woman with respect and honor.  You don’t criticize her beautiful looks and you don’t embarrass her in public by announcing her flaws and shortcomings.  Grow up, man.  Scratching, spitting, cursing, belching, farting, and fist bumping are all guy things and she is not expecting that from you.   Control your tongue, don’t curse in front of her and don’t share crude jokes in her presence.  She does not desire that from you.  She is looking for a strong man, a future husband, and future father who chooses his words thoughtfully.  She needs the reassurance you can nurture a child she gives you when you and her become one.

Your lack of commitment is cowardice.  Plain and simple.  And she is foolish to stay with you in hopes you will grow a pair and commit.  But this is on you.  Not her.  Your actions are dictating the relationship and you should be ashamed.  Let’s table that for another day…

Third, practice what I preach.  Find a group of men.  I have been accountable to a group of three men for over 13 years.  I call them my 300. I am 100% invested in their lives and they in mine.  Thus 300!  These men have my back and I have theirs.

As a young single man, you need to find a group of men and meet.  I recommend they be your peers and be somewhat in your same season of life, age, and like-minded interests.   Find men that make you a better man.  Don’t hang out with men that wake up naked with women they don’t know.  Because you will learn to compromise yourself in every aspect of your life and sadly laugh it off.

Find a Grey Haired.  You need to find a grey haired man to mentor you.  As a young man, you may not rely so much on your parents’ advise.  Truth is at your age the hardest thing is to admit that your parents are right about the years of unwanted advice they bestowed upon you.  So what most young men do is not ask for advice from their parents.  Find a Grey Hair and ask them for advice.  Then practice what they preach.  You see they have navigated the foxholes in the battlefield of life…and they can show the path of least resistance.

Listen, I have less hair than you and what remains is grey…your job is to shut up, listen, and thank me for looking out for your sorry butt. 

Most importantly, be COACH-able.  Nothing irks me more, when I provide simple advice to a young colleague on the ways of the world. Instead of a thoughtful pause of reflection, I get a “I know it all” rebuttal.  Or the young buck gets offended because his ego can’t take criticism.  Really? Listen, I have less hair than you and what remains is grey…your job is to shut up, listen, and thank me for looking out for your sorry butt.  I took the time to notice a flaw, an imperfection, a chink in your armor that can be corrected. Then I man’d up and brought it to your attention.  At least, consider it.   But don’t dismiss it.

For the most part, the young single men I have the privilege to ride with on patrol are amazing.  I am surrounded by sensible young men with a regard to better themselves everyday.  I am part of a brotherhood.  These men I would take a bullet for.

To the single man, be strong and self controlled.  You got this!

Rant-The Weiner Warning


Anthony Weiner. His name says it all. Let me be very clear. Anthony is not a man. And he is a poor excuse for a leader. How he got elected much less married puzzles me? But men (and women) can be deceptive and present themselves better than they really are.

Anthony Weiner is a brat. He is a digital flasher. If the internet didn’t exist, he would be wearing a raincoat in a public place opening it up to any unsuspecting victim.  He is a decadent pervert. This poor excuse of a man is so intoxicated with himself and so proud of his genitals he must present them in digital format to women who are not his wife. Was that too harsh? Well maybe we as men and leaders need to call deviant behavior what it is: shameful, decadent, and dangerous.

We use soft words to describe pretty sordid behavior because it’s socially acceptable and palatable on the tongue. We call what he did sexting.  And it is socially acceptable.

For example, if I say

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Manday: Husbands, Date Your Wives

holdinghandsLet’s keep this simple.  In our busy world, we can get trapped with rushing children to this event and then to the next.  It can be exhausting.  It can be costly and it can consume a once healthy marriage.  You can easily find yourself living for the kids.

One technique we like to utilize in our house is the word, No.  Say no to extra things in the schedule.  As leader of the house, men, we need to help prioritize the schedule.  I would like to share the following advise I received as a young married husband to you.  I don’t know if this is in some Gary Smalley book or Marriage enrichment book…I don’t have time to read that drivel.  All I know is that what I’m about to share with you works.

Ready?  Here it is:

Dialogue daily.  Date Weekly.  Depart Monthly.

Dialogue daily.  Men initiate a daily conversation with your spouse.  Call her if you’re running late.  Text her.  Message her.  Just talk to her.  Don’t lose the original dialogue you had when you pursued her.

Date weekly.  Court your wife.  Find a sitter and take her out.  Make excuses to get alone with your spouse.  Go to a movie.  Dinner.  Most likely your spouse is a sure thing.  But plan a night out.  You do all the planning.  It can be as easy as a quick jaunt to Starbucks.  Just do it.   Go back to those days when you were dating and as soon as you left her presence…you couldn’t wait to see her again.  Also, double date.  Encourage another couple to join you.  There are some strained marriages needing a breather as well.

Depart Monthly.  Get out of Dodge once a month.  Not a huge vacation.  Make a day trip to Llano for barbecue as a day trip.  Go to Galveston.  Just get away for awhile.

The benefits are amazing.  Your offspring see the most healthy relationship between the two of you.  Boys and Girls see a Father in love with their Mother.  It’s good stuff.  Once again…have fun with it.  Say no to Baseball practice or Scout Meeting, or ballet….and yes to dinner with the Spouse.

And by the way…spare me the comments on Gary Smalley.  It is a preference.  Get off this blog and talk to your spouse.