What comes to mind when you hear the word “leader”? A business executive at the helm of a successful corporation? A politician who has devoted his or her life to public service? Maybe a preacher or elder or other religious leader.
Much has been said about leadership through the years. A quick search on Amazon.com yielded a list of 78,788 books on leadership. Names like Stephen Covey, John Maxwell and Tom Peters come to mind as people who are considered experts in the field of leadership.
But I believe that the most important lessons anyone can learn about leadership, good or bad, come from home. My Dad was a leader. As a school teacher, he didn’t see his job as simply transferring knowledge to his students; he felt a keen responsibility to help mold young lives and shape young minds to realize the potential that God had placed within each of them. He made himself available for after-hours tutoring, and he took a personal interest in his students.
As an elder in the church, people often looked to Dad for counsel; not simply because he occupied a position of leadership, but because he possessed the qualities of a true leader. He studied the Bible often and intently, and people knew they could trust his wisdom for guidance in their own lives. They knew they could trust his heart, because he deeply cared about those he had been given the responsibility to lead. He truly had the heart of a shepherd.
But perhaps the place where his leadership was most significant, and certainly where I was most influenced by it, was in our home. Dad’s leadership in the O’Rear household was anchored in a deep commitment to God’s word and the principles contained therein. The love he had for my precious Mom was the stuff of legends. His devotion to being the best husband and father he could possibly be was epic and unwavering. He is the best picture I have of what it means to be a true leader. I want to be like my Dad.