A fellow blogger posed an interesting question online, in anticipation of Father's Day. He asked: What kind of leader was your father?
I had to think a moment. My dad, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 93, was a wonderful man. But probably most people did not regard him as a leader. He wasn't an elected official. Nor was he a high-powered executive. Nor was he active in politics or community affairs.
Yet leadership is not only for the powerful and the prominent. Millions of people offer profoundly inspirational leadership in their everyday lives. So it was with my father. He lived a life of humility, decency, authenticity, and commitment.
Naturally outgoing and happy, he exercised quiet self-control even in the face of considerable adversity. He didn't lose his temper. He didn't curse or cheat or lie. He didn't gamble or drink to excess. He hated war, but he went, and his unit liberated Dachau. In 75 years of driving a car he never had an accident, not even a fender bender. He never even got a traffic ticket. In short, he was a rock, always there when it counted.
Most important, he knew how to love, and he did. The late Ann Landers, who could tell us a thing or two about families, often wrote that the greatest gift a father can give to his children is to love their mother completely, deeply, and unconditionally.
My four brothers and I were the beneficiaries of just such a gift. For more than six decades, probably from the moment he first noticed her at another soldier's wedding in Chicago, my dad loved my mom, and he let it show. He loved her completely. He loved her deeply, and he loved her unconditionally.Read More