I have been involved in writing and discussions with men on a variety of topics. Two of the issues that frequently come into the dialog are leaving a legacy and leadership in the home. Whenever they are exposed to thoughtful discussions on the topic men begin to realize that they are leaving a legacy, whether it is intentional or not. Equally challenging is the realization that, for many, the path they are on is not a model that they would want to have engraved on their tombstones. What they want to leave is the model of a man who influenced his family and those around him in the neighborhood and workplace in a positive way representing values that build up and encourage others. For most this includes leaving a significant spiritual impact as well. Men are made with a desire to leave their mark yet few have been challenged regarding the mark they are leaving. Many of our discussions then shift to what will be required to have the desired impact on the world around them.
Leadership and taking responsibility for ones own actions and for those of his family are the themes that emerge from these discussions. All too often they quickly recognize that they have not led well, if at all. The reasons men are struggling with their leadership in the home are too many to identify and discuss here. Suffice it to say that in addition to the lack of appropriate role models, a healthy form of family leadership as articulated in Ephesians 5 and 6 (the Bible) has not found its way into our homes.
Now to the point of this article. When we think of patriarchs we think of men who understand their identity, who are leaders in their homes and other areas of life, and who nuture and mentor the next generation for their time of leadership. I believe this is true regardless of one’s spiritual leaning. When we think of patriarchs we think of rare individuals who have earned that badge of honor. All of us will leave a legacy, but few will be patriarchs. Few will be men that will be admired by the generations that follow as someone who intentionally invested in a positive legacy. I am still studying the concept of patriarchs and am open to the input of others as I build my definition on this topic.
Rather than figuring out how much fun we can have in this life, and how many toys we can collect, I would challenge all men to consider what they are doing to (1) be a patriarch for their family and (2) build the next generation of patriarchs. We work diligently to build a solid succession plan in our business environment, but do not do enough to lead our families thoughtfully and build the next generation of family leaders.