I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

- de Tocqueville 1831

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Today I had a small epiphany.
For the last two weeks I have started riding my bike.  I was having a hard time getting started, so I asked someone at church to ride with me.  I have tremendous respect for my new riding partner and it is not because he agreed to ride with me.  He is one of those people that you see in major church callings that you think you could never do.......ie: stake presidency, high priest group leader, etc.  A true leader with exceptional values.  I won't use his name so I don't embarrass him since he is humble and sincere to boot. Held in high esteem and fourteen years my senior, I am slightly intimidated by him but being intimidated has never stopped me before.  For the two rides that we have ridden previously, I have held off on the pace.  I tend to ease up and stay along side riding partners who do not ride as hard as I can, letting them set the pace.  Today my compadre asked me to take the lead and set a faster pace.  I did and he kept up just fine. We got the workout that we both needed.

Today's bike ride taught me some valuable lessons about leadership.

First, it is difficult, if not impossible to lead from behind.  It is difficult to sometimes leave our charges to their own devices, but it is a necessity to achieve everyone's goal.  "John" (I will call my friend, John) needed to be pushed and I needed a harder workout.  If "John" had never said anything, we both would not have gained what we needed.

Second, the best leaders are terrific followers.  I have a hard time respecting any one who can give orders but cannot follow orders themselves.  It seems that too many of the members in congress are of the ”do as I say, not as I do” club.  My respect for "John" has been vindicated by his placing me in the lead on our bike rides.

Third, leading means stepping out and sometimes being on your own for a season.  So many of our political leaders are known to legislate by how they read the polls.  President Reagan, when faced with a poll that was against what he thought was the right thing to do, was known to say that they needed to better inform the American people.

Fourth, you can never know when the mantle of leadership will fall on your shoulders.  This is why it is a good thing to be as prepared as possible.  The ultimate goal of a good leader is to develop the leadership potential in his followers.  American soldiers are known for their ability to carry on after their commanders are killed or injured where other troops are stymied by the loss of command.  The LDS church is excellent for teaching leadership.  The training starts early on when primary children are asked to give talks. Sacrament is passed by our young men (ages twelve and up) and responsibilities are given to kids as leaders in their age groups.

Fifth, the key to effective team work is the interpersonal relationship between the leaders and followers.  Trust needs to develop among team members, especially between the leader and his followers.  The leader needs to know that he can trust in his team to get done what is needed to be done.  Team members need to know that their leader is moving them in the proper direction with the right vision.

Sixth, an effective leader knows the skill level and talents of each member of his crew.  As obvious as this may sound, it doesn't take much thought to come up with examples of bosses and supervisors who often operate blind because they have no idea of who it is they're managing.

In conclusion, my bike rides with “John” are going to be valuable to me both on the physical and philosophical plane.  This may be because I tend to learn on the fly.

Friday, June 4, 2010


While reading the blogs I follow,  I started reading my wife's blog and did a double take.  I felt as though I had somehow flown through a black hole into an alternate reality.  A reality that had my wife writing the political junk which would inversely mean that I do the personal interest writing.  Come to think of it, just recently, I did write about my childhood.  Hmm; if I start posting recipes, please send for help. 

To be fair, my wife has written political posts before but it has been a long time.  Anyway it's a good post and I urge all of you to click on the link below and read it.  It saves me from having to comment on the described incident.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Commander in Chief Goes AWOL

Warning, Obama rant in progess.

Monday,  Memorial Day,  bbqs,  picnics and horseshoes basketball.  Yes, Obama has his priorities straight.  Why should he bother with that age old, worn out, tradition of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Maybe he should have asked some of his troops; a general or two maybe.  The tradition of the Commander in Chief laying the wreath has been long held.  It shows respect to the soldiers he commands. 

Who the heck is running his protocal department?  Early in his tenure, he gave the British Prime Minister a gift of twenty-five movies on DVD  (in the wrong format for Great Britian).  A snub in comparison to the gifts The Prime Minister gave Obama.  Just lately, he's returned a bust of Winston Churchill, a gift given to Bush.  Clearly a snub.  Of course, Obama has the right to decorate the White House in any style he likes (within reason) but I would imagine there's enough room in storage for the bust.  It did not need to be sent back.  In March, our "esteemed" President walked out on Isreali Prime Minnister Binyamin Netanyahu who was at the time a guest at the White House.  What is it about this man that he snubs our allies but bows to our potential enemies?

It is bad enough that alliances that have been fostered for years are under threat of being torn asunder by these callous snubs, but when the President snubs the Armed Forces, it becomes personal.  I served in the ARMY straight out of high school.  I felt honored to have been a part of our nation's defense.  I was in the ARMY when Carter was in office and morale was low.  Then Reagan became President and I saw the military transformed almost overnight.  It was Reagan who gave us the effective fighting force that we have today.  As bad as Carter was for our military, it must be ten times worse for those serving under Obama.  I am ashamed and embarrassed by our President, as well as concerned for our country.  Thankfully, people are starting to wake up (even democrats) and ask where this President is taking us.  Let us pray it is not too late to right the ship.