Priorities: How’s the Family? DeMarco Banter

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I recently started a new part-time gig…teaching online courses in Leadership and Command for the USAF’s Air Command and Staff College. We have an intro where students introduce themselves and I am always impressed when they place their qualification as a husband, wife, mom or dad in their remarks…so we get things like C-17 Globemaster III (massive transport) pilot and mother of three, F-16 Viper (fighter) pilot and father of two… bottom line: family is HUGE! We all have priorities, even when we don’t acknowledge them… and family must be above career…

This is one I have messed up at times, but if we are always trying to get better…there is recovery. Reading through the book of Samuel in my Maxwell Leadership Bible… I always enjoy looking at John Maxwell’s notes in the margins.

The story of Eli’s two sons points out a common pitfall among driven leaders. Such leaders often give themselves so much to their work or their position that they neglect their families.

The second chapter of 1 Samuel sets up a contrast…a contrast between the sinful sons of Eli versus young Samuel who was “growing in stature and in favor both with the Lord and with men” (2:26).

Eli is actually mentoring Samuel while at the same time Eli is failing to lead his family–which eventually leads to Eli’s downfall as a leader. Eli was a revered judge in Israel and by failing to discipline his sons he ended up rearing spiritual rebels and outlaws…in turn Eli lost all credibility, his job, and eventually his life.

Amazing how the stories in a book thousands of years old resonate today. It teaches that if we don’t lead at home, we lack the qualifications to lead beyond the home–in other words, if it does not work at home–DON’T export it.

Maxwell notes Eli missed the mark in four crucial areas

1: Emphasis: Eli worried about teaching his colleagues and clients–not his family
2: Expectations: He thought his sons would “get it” because they lived with Eli
3: Example: Eli did not live what he taught outside the home in his house
4: Entanglements: He was so caught up in his profession that he totally blinded himself to his failure at home.

These are lessons we have to watch, learn, observe and avoid everyday.

Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. 1Sam2:12

3 Replies to “Priorities: How’s the Family? DeMarco Banter”

  1. The first time I ever felt conflicted between my duties as an Air Force officer, and as a mom, was 1 April 2006. Eleven days before my baby girl had her first birthday, I got on a bus with a bunch of CE guys to attend Combat Skills Training before we deployed to Iraq. On that day, I knew I could be a great officer and an great mom, but I knew I couldn’t do both. Something would suffer. The thing is, the Air Force has a lot of great officers, but my kids have only one mom. I can’t afford to mess that up. So, at 19 years and one day of service, I put in my retirement paperwork, and I will have no regrets. People ask me what I’ll do when I retire. That’s easy–I’ll still be working hard every day at being a great mom.

    1. Dawn: that’s a POWERFUL example of family first…and so right, many great officers, but only one mom to your baby girl…only one dad to the DeMarco boys.
      Thanks

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