Several years ago, when I was playing for the New Orleans Saints, we went to West Virginia for training camp. We stayed at The Greenbrier resort. During the Cold War, it had an underground bunker intended for government officials in the event of nuclear war. Above ground, it has hosted 26 presidents and the PGA Tour and has won multiple awards, including the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award.
The Greenbrier once had fallen on hard times, including bankruptcy, until billionaire James C. Justice II turned it around. The resort’s recent success and growth can only be attributed to Justice. His idea to bring an NFL team for training camp was a first. Mr. Justice is a larger-than-life figure, not only in personality but in physical stature. He is the CEO of over 40 companies. He’s 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds. He stood before our team and spoke to us about leadership qualities. He boiled the success and health of any organization down to three essential factors. But these factors are also 3 keys of family leadership because they give fathers a great foundation for success.
“The owners have to care for the employees and the employees must know this and in turn care for the owner. Likewise, the employees must care for and love each other.” -James C. Justice II
Employees are more likely to care for one another when management cares for the employees. In order to cultivate a family that loves one another, we must set the example first. This starts with loving others well. Kids are going to look at our relationships as models, first and foremost. Let them see your sacrifice, tenderness, and grace toward others. Your children will see your example and follow suit.
“To get better, we must admit when we do wrong and truly own up to it and change our actions. It’s not enough to just say, ‘I’m sorry.’ Trust in the workplace is built when there is change.” -James C. Justice IIOur kids need not only to see us admit wrong but also to see us change.
One of the things I appreciate about football is the film room. The film doesn’t lie and when somebody’s made a mistake, it is there for everyone to see. Great players and teams accept responsibility for their mistakes and try to correct them. No one is perfect, particularly me. I have learned that it is better to be honest about my shortcomings than to try to pretend to be perfect or defend myself at all costs. Correcting our kids while denying our own wrongdoing is inconsistent, hypocritical, and breaks trust. Being honest and confessing when we fall short propels us to improvement. Our kids need not only to see us admit wrong but also to see us change. Lead the way and you will create a house of trust and growth.
“Suppose you are an outfielder. Your team is ahead by one run in the bottom of the ninth. If you are hoping the batter does not hit the ball your way, you will never amount to anything. You must want the ball.” -James C. Justice II
There are times I read about the amazing things people did in Scripture with God’s power. I have a tendency to elevate them as superheroes when they were actually terrified of the missions they were given. We all have fear and even the most confident people have self-doubt. Sometimes we may doubt we can be loving fathers and men of honor. However, I believe God made us to be courageous. With His power and guidance, we can be confident in our leadership qualities as fathers.
Sound off: What leadership qualities of a dad do you think benefit a family the most?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Who is a leader you admire and why?”