Toughest Leadership Role, Ever!

Toughest Leadership Role, Ever!

Consider something for just a moment as we prepare for Christmas this week. Can you imagine a more difficult leadership role than being the earthly father of Jesus Christ? I cannot!

My goal is not to make this article an overtly spiritual one. However, given the Christmas Season and my thoughts at this time of year, some observations and some leadership lessons are unavoidable.

Just who was this man Joseph, the husband of Mary and the adoptive father of Jesus?

We really don’t know a whole lot about him other than what we read in the few places he is mentioned in the New Testament. Traditional Christian narrative and theology state that God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus. We can read in the Gospel of Matthew, that Joseph was a righteous man. His actions toward Mary, his betrothed wife (fiancé), revealed a great deal about his character. It demonstrates that he was a patient, kind, understanding, and sensitive man. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he had every right to feel disgraced and humiliated. He knew the child was not his.

He had “rights”. Our rights have always been an important thing to us as individuals. Joseph not only had the right to divorce Mary but under Jewish law, she could be put to death.

Joseph’s initial reaction was to break the engagement. This was the culturally and religiously appropriate thing for a righteous man like Joseph to do. However, consistent with his character, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to do what needed to be done quietly.

But that is not what happened. Instead, Scripture tells us that God sent an angel to Joseph. It may even have been the same angel that visited Mary to bring her the news that she was going to give birth to Our Lord. This angel verified the same story that Mary had told Joseph and reassured him that his marriage to Mary was still God’s will. In fact, it had been the divine plan all along. It is important not to lose sight of that fact. So, Joseph willingly did as the angel told him, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. Perhaps it was this quality that made him God’s choice for Jesus’ earthly father.

Beyond this and the story of the one time that Jesus was left behind following a pilgrimage to the Temple, the Bible does not reveal much detail about Joseph’s role as a father to Jesus Christ. However, we do know from Matthew 1, that Joseph was an excellent earthly example of integrity and righteousness. We know that Joseph trained Jesus in a very necessary trade of the times — carpentry. It was not glamorous. But, probably no one ever described Joseph in those terms.

Joseph is last mentioned in the Bible when Jesus was 12 years old and they made that annual visit to the Temple in Jerusalem. So really, all we know from written evidence is that Joseph passed on the carpentry trade to Jesus and that he raised him in the Jewish traditions and spiritual observances of the Law.

So, what is the Leadership Lesson here?

Continue reading “Toughest Leadership Role, Ever!”

How to lose 20 pounds in 24 hours!

Leadership Is Like Losing Weight

Do you want to know how to lose about 20 pounds in less than 24 hours?  If so, read on!

I have recently dropped about 20 pounds and I did it in less than 24 hours.  Hard to believe, I know.  But it is true. But, just like the late night infomercials that are on TV, you need to read the fine print if you want to know the whole story. I truly have lost the weight. And it has taken less than 24 hours. However, the truth of the matter is that those “24 hours” have been spread out over the last 3 months and were expended in 20-30-minute workout sessions that consisted of running and walking up to 2 and 1/4 miles each time I worked out.

Sorry to disappoint you. I really wish it were easy enough to accomplish in one 24 hour day. But it just doesn’t work that way.

Having said that, losing weight is easier than you think.  At the end of the day, it is a mathematical computation. Each pound of fat that you want to lose equals burning about 3500 or 3600 calories MORE than is required for you take in over a period of time. Simply figure out your daily calorie requirement to maintain your current weight and physical activity. Figure out the amount of weight you want to lose. Decide how quickly you want to lose each pound. Then do the math. Subtract your daily intake from your daily requirements to maintain your current weight and take that number of calories and divide it into 3500 calories and the result will be the number of days it will take you to lose that pound of extra weight.

What is the leadership lesson here?

Continue reading “How to lose 20 pounds in 24 hours!”

Leadership and Learning to Ride a Bicycle

Learning to Ride

I admit it. I fell victim to the “Downton Abbey” craze over the last few years. I watched an episode one night out of curiosity. The next thing I knew, I had found Seasons 1 and 2 on Amazon Prime and we watched at least 2 episodes a night for the next 2 weeks until we had seen them all. Then, we went to start watching Season 3 – only this time it wasn’t free on Amazon Prime.

You know you are hooked when you hit the “Buy with 1-Click” button and you shell out the money for the entire 3rd season without even thinking about what it cost. But, I suppose all of that is a subject for another time.

I found the story compelling and the dialog incredible. The characters were fascinating and complex. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.

The final season is soon upon us here in the U.S. and I can’t wait.

As good as all of the episodes are, I was captivated by a sentence uttered by a relatively minor character in the last episode of season 3. His name is Shrimpie and he is a husband caught in a loveless marriage and he is the father of a young woman who is rebelling against her parents and against society in general. I am paraphrasing a quote from that episode:

“What I want is for her [his daughter] to know that family can be a loving thing. Love is like riding a bicycle or speaking French. If you don’t learn it young, it’s hard to get the trick of it later.” 

I am taking this in a direction that you would expect and I am going to modify the quote to suit my purpose. What if we exchanged the word “love” for “leadership” in the middle sentence of the quote? How apropos is that? I think it is incredibly apropos and worthy of the edit.

“Leadership is like riding a bicycle or speaking French. If you don’t learn it young, it’s hard to get the trick of it later.” 

Let me help explain just how that reality manifested itself in my early years. Continue reading “Leadership and Learning to Ride a Bicycle”