Men are leaders. They will either lead goodly or badly. For almost 40 years men have been demonised by radical feminists and a compliant media because the radical feminists have rightly observed that almost all of the world’s problems have come from inerrant men.
Look at the long list of dictators responsible for the deaths of 153 million people in the 20th Century. All of them (top 36) are men. Mao Zedong is the winner, being responsible for the direct or indirect killing of 60 million people. Stalin comes up second with 40 million and Adolf Hitler was responsible for the death of 30 million. Interestingly, all had very poor relationships with their fathers. Both Mao Zedong and Stalin’s fathers used to beat them Violence begets violence. Evil begets evil.
Equally it could be argued that most of the good and influential leaders of the 20th Century were men with notable exceptions like Oprah Winfrey, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana. Women can be great leaders too but the biological and historical reality is that the buck stops with the male of the species.
To quote from last week’s newsletter which showed how fathers are natural leaders:
All the social science research and stats show this to be the case. An extensive Bureau of Statistic’s study by the Swiss Government showed that if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotion, only one child in fifty will become a regular worshipper. If a father goes to church regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two thirds and three quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). In statistical terms, a child is 19 times more likely to follow the father’s leadership in this area than a mother’s leadership. This enormous level of influence by fathers carries over into other areas. A father’s positive involvement with his teens means that those teenagers are twice as likely not to engage in risky teen sex.
Obviously this newsletter topic covers the vital importance of fathers as leaders since by definition fathers are men.
So how should fathers lead? For starters, not like Stalin or Mao Zedong or their fathers who were quite cruel to their children.
Whose example should we follow as fathers? The greatest man and leader of all time espoused a loving, gracious form of servant leadership. When his disciples had an argument about who was the greatest leader among them, Jesus Christ said to his disciples at the last supper, 24 hours before he was betrayed and cruelly crucified:
The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves…
Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end… so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him…
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.
“Do you understand what I have done for you?”
he asked them.
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you… Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
What Jesus exemplified Robert Greenleaf popularised. To quote from the Greenleaf Centre website:
While servant leadership is a timeless concept, the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, Greenleaf said:
“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”
“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”
A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher said:
“The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves’.”
Practice servant leadership towards your wife and your children. Be prepared for the day when your wife and children will so flourish under your leadership that they will say of their success, “We have done this ourselves”. When they do so, you will have the quiet joy of knowing you were a great servant leader as a father.
Yours for more great servant leaders
PS. The Dads4Kids Good to Great Fathering Course teaches Servant Leadership. The courses are starting up all over the country in the next few weeks. Please check out the
PPS. This week I had a phone call from Simon, organiser of a special Father’s Day event in Hyde Park, Sydney for single fathers and those who would like to support them. Roland Foster, a single dad and representative from Dads4Kids, will be speaking at this event. See Simon’s story in Single Dads this week. This is Simon’s appeal in his own words:
To change the awful system for the better I am petitioning the government, helping produce a documentary to expose these everyday injustices and organising the ‘March for the Voice of the Children’ in Sydney on Father’s Day, 1st September 2013.