Our second oldest grand child is Ella who will be 13 in September. On Thursday, May 31st we attended her graduation from the 6th grade. It was a great day of celebration for her, her parents and her grandparents. She is a beautiful and gifted young lady and we are very proud of her in so many ways.

As I was sitting there, along with my wife Susan, taking it all in, I noticed three words on the wall of the auditorium.  

I would assume these three words represent values they espouse at the school for students, as well as faculty and staff.

As I kept looking at those words, I thought to myself, I’m going to write a blog and unpack each of them as it relates to being a leader.


The longer I live, the more I realize that leadership is all about relationships. One of the key elements in relationship is learning to treat everyone with respect: respect for who each one is and respecting their individual uniqueness and opinions, even when I don’t agree with those opinions. It’s important to treat each person with dignity and honor: your family, your friends, your boss, your peers and those who report to you.

 For the leader it should be more about being respectful then being respected. As a leader you can’t demand respect, but you can earn it by treating others with respect. As I watch television, read the news and hear what’s going on in our country, it seems to me that being respectful and treating others with dignity and honor is not seen a whole lot. Civility is becoming a lost art…an endangered species.

What a great value to teach elementary age children (and all of us) to be respectful of others. Every person created in the image of God needs to be treated with respect.


Someone said, it doesn’t matter whether you win or loose but how you place the blame. We live in an age and in a society where many people don’t take responsibility for what they say, what they do, how they do their work, or for the mistakes they have made.  It’s always somebody else’s fault. I would love to hear more of: It’s my fault. I take full responsibility for what happened. It was my decision (and a bad one.) I am sorry. Please forgive me. I believe that part of being mature is being responsible and not playing the victim by blaming others, blaming the government, your mom or dad, or even blaming God for your actions, choices and decisions.


Just a couple of days ago I read 2 Timothy 4, where we find, in verse 2: “Preach the word; be ready, in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” One translation reads: “Be ready, when it’s convenient and when it’s not.” When Jesus was teaching on his Second Coming, the main idea was “Be Ready.”  I want to be ready when God taps me on the shoulder. I want to be alert and watching for opportunities to advance his kingdom purposes and not be asleep or ill prepared.

So what did I learn in school today (at Ella’s graduation)?

 As a leader, I learned and was reminded of, the value of being: Respectful, Responsible and Ready. Not a bad day in school! Now comes the hard part of making these three values part of my life.