In the quietness of my final years I plan to watch a tree grow—a birch tree I planted as a tiny sapling over 30 years ago. It stands now in mature splendor, just outside our picture window—beautiful in every season of the year.
On a trip through Chicago, I saw a poster advertising a business management seminar. The poster’s message was intriguing: The Value of a Leader Is Directly Proportional to That Leader’s Values. The accuracy of that statement struck me. What we value shapes our character—and will ultimately define how we lead, or whether we can lead at all. This does not apply only to leaders, however.
A friend of mine has the opportunity each winter to attend the Super Bowl as a journalist. His job is to garner interviews with Christian athletes and National Football League personnel for a faith-based radio program.
William Adams (1564–1620) is believed to be the first Englishman to reach Japan. Taking a liking to Adams, the ruling Japanese shogun made him his interpreter and personal advisor concerning the Western powers. Eventually, Adams was presented with two swords with rank of a Samurai. This showed just how much the Japanese revered Adams. Because William Adams served his foreign king well, he was also rewarded with greater opportunity for influence.
Imagine being a visitor in a foreign land, showing up unannounced at a gathering of people you have never met and who have never heard of you—and then being allowed to address that group just a few minutes later. That can happen only if something breaks down barriers— something like mutual friends.
In 1955, when the South was still highly segregated, Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, visited relatives in Mississippi. After Emmett “dared” to talk to a white woman, two white men brutally murdered him. An all-white, male jury found the two “not guilty”—after deliberating for barely an hour. The two men later confessed to the crime in a Life magazine article.
The recent global financial crisis caused people to pay closer attention to their credit report. When credit was easy to get, some people became careless about how they used it. They didn’t bother to save for what they wanted; they just borrowed. Being in debt was no big deal. But in a crisis, that is no longer the case. Having good credit is suddenly very important.
Alyssa, who is 6 and just learning to read, often saw her parents and grandparents reading their Bibles in the morning. Early one day, she woke up before everyone else. Grandma found her sitting on the couch, with her Bible and a devotional booklet on her lap. She wanted to follow the example of spending time with God at the beginning of the day.
Along the old Oregon Trail in Idaho there is a marker—a giant lava boulder known locally as Register Rock. It’s located in an area which was one of the favorite overnight camping areas for westbound immigrants who traveled the trail in the 19th century.