Take Care of Your People

Early on in my Navy career it was drummed into my head that the Navy’s Number 1 leadership tenant was to “Take Care of your People.” However, no one ever told us how to go about this leadership principle or practice. Nor was it really intently explained what was involved in this process.

What does it mean to you? How do you take care of your people?

People are different is many ways, how can one possibly take care of all of them equally as you lead them through their life’s purpose, vision and goals?

In his article in Ethics for the Junior Officers, Navy Chaplain Captain Arnold E. Resnicoff says that we can use the Golden Rule as a guideline. He cites a Navy Bureau of Medicine concept called “T.E.A.M.” – “Treat Everyone As Me.” Following the Golden Rule – Treat everyone as you would want to be treated – he teaches that when followed, it can help develop an ethical framework for dealing with people we lead.

The common response is that all people are not religious, and that there are so many different religions, that this conceptGolden Rules - Religious simply will not apply in all situations.

Conversely, Karen Armstrong, in her TED Talk “Let’s revive the Golden Rule” believes it is the only way to save the world. She points out that all the world’s religions have their own version of the Golden Rule. The accompanying graphic depicts her point.

Captain Resnicoff further points out its importance with two other illustrations:

1. Muslin teacher and mystic Al-Ghazali had this in mind when he taught that we refrain from lying by imagining how we feel when someone else lies to us; and

2. When Confucius was asked what principle could guide all conduct, he answered “reciprocity.” In other words, that we should not do unto others what we would not want them to do to us.

Leadership and the practice of the Golden Rule

In order to adequately take care of your people, one must determine what are their needs to make them better leaders in their own right, while improving their performance and contribution to the organization in which you both collaborate each day.

So what are those needs? Think about your own situation as a new employee in a new organization. What are some your personal needs for your personal and professional growth; needs that make you a better employee, person and make a difference – significant impact – in your current experience?

Based on my own personal career experiences, and on my leadership experience and education, here are a few that come to mind.

 Vision – Mission – Goals. Nearly every leadership pundit I have read will tell you of the importance of creatinggreat organizational vision, mission and goals. Dr. Timothy Bednarz, in his book Great: What Makes Leaders Great, speaks to it first in the specific findings of his research, as well as in creating an impact. Gordon D’Angelo’s, in his book VISION: Your Pathway to Victory, outlines in detail the steps to creating personal and organizational vision, mission and SMART Goals for success.

 Organizational Standards and Values. The Leadership Bible: Leadership Principles from God’s Word, identifies the steps to follow by any learning organization: Standards; Instruction; Practice; Feedback; and Release. Without standards in which to measure behavioral and performance, the remaining four steps are hard to follow. Again referring to Dr. Bednarz, his second finding and aspect of making an impact, personal and organizational values in integrity, personal convictions to do the right thing, and work ethics.

 Building Personal Relationships. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how you care. You demonstrate that “caring and compassion” through the work and personal relationships you build with those with whom you work. Take a personal interest in them, their families, their knowledge, their passion for success, and their value system. Encourage them to align their personal values and goals with those of the organization. This doesn’t mean you give them special privileges and overlook behavioral anomalies. You hold them to the expected standards and mentor accordingly.

 Professional Growth. Training! Training! Training! Teach them all you know about their job in order to replicate yourself. Develop their leadership so that they can develop other leaders. Empower them to make conscious decisions for the good of the organization and their own growth.

 Understanding the Law of Service. Hermann Hesse, in his book Journey to the East, tells the story of Leo, who lives by the Law of Service, which states “He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule does not live long.” Leaders must be committed to the growth of their people, putting them first in their leadership.

Robert Greenleaf, the founder of Servant Leadership, says leaders must believe in the intrinsic value of people and that he/she must recognize their responsibility to serving the personal, professional and spiritual growth of everyone. Mike Frank, motivational speaker of Speakers Unlimited speaks of it in terms of Leadership Pride: Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence. There are many “E” words that can be used in the place of excellence, all under the heading of “serving” others.

 Person of Character; Leading with Moral Authority; Putting people first. These three practices are taken from James W. Sipe and Don M. Frick book, Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership.7 Pillars

As a Person of Character, you are ethical and principle-centered in your leadership; honest, trustworthy, and humble. You lead by consciousness of the welfare of others, not by ego because of your position. You are maintain your integrity and serve a higher purpose.

As a Person who Leads with Moral Authority, you are worthy of respect, inspiring trust and confidence, while you establish quality standards of performance. You do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do. You empower others, mentoring them to perform to standards and counseling them when veering right or left of those standards.

As a Person who Puts People First – Before Self, you are concerned about your people performing to their highest capabilities. You display a servant’s heart; you are mentor-minded; and you show a care and concern for the growth of your people.

The Golden Rule of Leadership says “Lead others the way you would want others to lead you.” The concepts above certainly outline esteemed methods of leading others, creating highly esteemed leadership who put others first for everyone’s productive personal and professional growth.

Do you use any of these principles and practice each of the daily in your leadership of others? Are you “Taking Care of your People” with a holistic passion toward improving them and making a difference in their lives? The references provided above provide other practices to help you take care of your people, making them better employees, and better future leaders.

Only you can answer these probing questions.

I am interested in and thank you in advance for your feedback.

Five Steps to Prevent Ethical Breakdown

Ethical Balance

Ethical practices in the organization is a responsibility of every employee, which contributes to company values, vision, and perception by everyone on the outside looking in.

Peter Drucker writes that there is only one ethics, one set of rules of morality, one code, that of individual behavior in which the same rules apply to everyone alike. This means that the same rules applies to CEO’s and upper level leadership that hold all levels and employees in the organization, and therefore, every organizational member is responsible for practicing ethics.

So what is Ethics? And, what is the foundation of organizational ethics?

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics says ethics is two things. One, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefi

Natural Law

Origin of Natural Law

ts to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Two, ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards, which requires the constant examination of those standards to insure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Therefore, ethics is the studying of our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we live according to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based.

Steven Covey, writing in the Forward of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, says that it emanates from the natural law that is self-evident and universal. He goes on to say that in all the countries he had visited, there existed a common moral imperative, a knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and acting morally and ethically.

Immanuel Kant, in his Critique of Practical Reason, affirms the existence of a moral law within that makes everyone a “good person” or one who does right things, because it is the right thing to do. He stated: “Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.”

Apostle Paul, writing in his first letter of mentorship to his follower Timothy, describes to him the importance of ethical behavior and the problems associated with the individual perception and love of money. He says, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and description. For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

Earlier in the book of Mark, Jesus describes that it is not what goes into a man that is the cause of evil behaviors, but that which comes from within, out of man’s heart that causes evil actions – specifically: evil thoughts; sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy slander, arrogance and folly.

In his latest book entitled “The Moral Basis for Liberty”, Dr. Robert Sirico talks extensively about the foundational ideal and concept of a moral order that extends from the natural law, that is was an important ideal rooted in Greek and Roman thought, and that is was the central foundational philosophy of our Founding Fathers. right-way-wrong-way2

What is the cause of this moral and ethical decline of Business in America?

Kenneth Andrews’ Ethics in Practice, which appeared in the Harvard Business Review on Corporate Ethics, says it can be attributed to the lack of moral development at home, at school, at church, and at work. He writes, “Moral philosophy, which is the proper academic home for ethical instruction, is even more remote, with few professors choosing to teach applied ethics.” Combine the decline of moral and ethical instruction with the steady increase in amoral and unethical practices in today’s media, film and television programming, it is easy to recognize the declining standard of morality and ethics in general.

As a business entity, it becomes imperative that standards and instruction must contain principles and practices on morals and ethics to prevent an ethical breakdown that could even lead to the total failure of a company. The following are steps that can prevent this process from becoming a reality.

Five steps to prevent an ethical breakdown in the organizatioEthics 24-7n?

There are five steps organizations can take to help prevent ethical issues and concerns that may arise as a result of behavioral violations of ethical policies and standards.

1. Inspire leadership “Self-Awareness” of organizational ethical standards.
Constant awareness of one’s ethical standards and behaviors are crucial to prevent becoming sidetracked to a more inviting, but unethical practice. One’s personal character must continually reflect his/her moral foundation.

2. Model ethical principles and practices.
Walk-the-Talk. Everything a leader says and does is being constantly viewed and evaluated. The character you exhibit when no one is looking must be a total reflection of the character you model when everyone is looking.

3. Create Ethical Standards of Performance (ESOP).
Ethical standards cannot be assumed, nor can ethical practices. Specific and clear standards must become part of the organizational structure. Emphasis must be outlined that ethical practices apply up and down the organizational hierarchy. Training must contain ethical practices, dilemmas, cocode-of-ethicsnsequences, and decision making practices for full and complete understanding.

4. Build relationships that instill Ethics into Team-building practices.
Discuss morals and ethics with employees during relationship-building encounters. Ask questions about ethical concerns and observations among employees. Build trust to prevent fearfulness of blame for identifying unethical behaviors. Mentor openly and sincerely to improve the ethical awareness of individuals.

5. Publication and periodic review of ethical standards.
Include articles on corporate values and ethical standards in your Newsletters. Educate, model, and reward applicable to measures associated with unethical practices. Review regularly and update as necessary as required to maintain the ESOP.

Leading ethically builds one’s Moral Authority making him/her worthy of respect, inspiring trust and confidence and enabling leaders to lead with high standards of performance. Leaders with accepted moral authority are able with a clear conscience to enforce and maintain organizational standards of performance. Furthermore, leaders are able to mentor poor performer from the heart to improve not only their performance, but also their behaviors.

arrow - swirlsTo be effective, organizational values, morals and ethical practices must be widely promulgated to all employees, with emphasis on equality of standards and consequences for unethical practices that affect organizational vision and perception in the business community.

Thank you for your comments.

What Does it Mean to be a Leadership Servant?

Are you a Servant? Do you “Put Others First?”

Robert Greenleaf, and several other writers since, wrote about the ideals of being a “servant to others” in one’s leadership practices. He maintained that the origin of the common practice today of Servant Leadership is Hermann Hesse’s “Journey to the East” in which he describes the “Law of Service.”

Hesse - Journey to EastThe Law of Service states:  “He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule will not live long.” (Hesse wrote his book in 1932 before women were in many leadership positions. I believe today he would state it differently.)

Larry C. Spears, in his Focus on Leadership: Servant Leadership for the 21st Century, talks about a new moral principle in that “…..the only authority deserving one’s allegiance…….is clearly evident in the “servant” stature of the leader who are proven and trusted as servants.”

In the Leadership Bible: Leadership Principles from God’s Word, the servant Peter writing in 1 Peter 4:10 tells us that we should “use our gifts to serve others.” In other words, the greatest leaders are servant leaders. Jesus, throughout his time on earth, continually stressed that “I came to serve, not be served.” He demonstrated this concept by once washing the feet of his Disciples at one point.

President George Washington signed his personal correspondence with the phrase, “Your humble servant.” Greenleaf points out how this demonstrates the need for Trustees as Servants.

Serve First 

Are you a Servant First?

Professors John E. Barbuto, Jr. and Daniel W. Wheeler of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln Extension in their article Becoming a Servant Leader: Do You Have What It Takes?, very poignantly ask the question.

Some questions they ask include the following:

  • Do people believe that you are willing to sacrifice your own self-interest for the good of the group? 
  • Do people believe that you want to hear their ideas and will value them?
  • Do people come to you when the chips are down or when something traumatic has happened in their lives?
  • Do others follow your requests because they want to as opposed to because they “have to?”
  • Do others believe that you are committed helping them develop and grow?
  • Do others believe you are preparing the organization to make a positive difference in the world?

Mark Miller in his book “The Heart of Leadership” asks the following about self-assessment question – Think Others First.

  • Do you consider the needs and desires of others before your own?
  • Do you constantly look for ways to add value to others?
  • Do you feel you are a “Serving Leader?”

What does your Leadership Pyramid look like?  Are you at the top or bottom. Leadership Servants always put the Organization and others first – above self.

Are you a servant first? Do you put others First?

I thank you and appreciate your comments.


How to Manage Conflict and Deal with People

A collection of thoughts and ideas for success in dealing with difficult people or difficult issues compiled by Michael Shields, Salem Keizer Public Schools, Director of Transportation and Auxiliary Services, and David McCuistion, Vanguard Organizational Leadership (VOL).

Conflict and the Dynamics of Understanding

Why conflict?  The business of transporting students safely to school will have days that have disruptive conflict with other human beings.  How we deal with others, especially during a conflict,  is probably the most important factor in our jobs. Dr. Mary Kay Whitaker of About Leaders: Making a Difference, writing in her White Paper on Conversation Map, says that it is a big mistake to avoid situation that are disruptive to workplace environments. Additionally, she said that it is equally important to address the disruption and conflict; not only to resolve the issue, but also to insure the safety and protection of everyone affected by the disruption. The better we do it, the easier our jobs and the better we will feel about ourselves.Maslows-Hierarchy-of-Needs

As documented by Abraham Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs, Every human being has basic needs that must be met before they can become comfortable is any environment.

The primary needs are food, clothing, and shelter.  Other needs are to be loved, valued, and appreciated.  People have a need to feel in control of themselves and their destinies. Many of the frustrations we encounter on a regular basis, whether from parents, staff, or employees, are because some of these needs have not been met.

When we are dealing with conflict situation it requires us to figure out what or why the person is frustrated or angry.  People will get frustrated when they feel they are losing one of these needs.  Dr. Stephen Covey encourages us to “Seek First to Understand then to be Understood”; this is habit number five in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” If we are to understand, we must first listen.

Dr. Covey tells us there are five levels of listening: ignoring, pretend listening, selective listening, attentive listening, and empathic listening.   The fifth level of listening, “empathic”, is when you listen with both your heart and your mind.  People often take positions (position = what they want) and dig their heels in.  What you can do is find out their interests (interest = why they want it).  Too often we all try to move to a solution before we clearly understand the “why.” The leader must remove him/herself from the position of problem solver and put themselves in the other person’s position to fully understand their position and conflict.

We must listen, not with the intention of responding, but to understand the other person’s position.  Instead of thinking of a solution, leaders must listen with empathy to what is being said, to understand the intention of the speaker, the depth of their feelings, while watching for their non-verbal words to compliment the understanding. We must ask ourselves, “Is what I have to say really important to what is being spoken to me, will it really add to the conversation.”

conflict management

Conflict is Often the Result of Unmet Needs

With many of the people that are frustrated or angry, you may never find out what their underlying problem is.  For some of them it may require professional assistance.  Your job at resolving the conflict is to attempt to understand what their motivation is for the subject matter before you not whether they need professional help.    You must assess the situation.  Can this conflict be resolved by conversation,  preferably face to face?  Does this person always approach you in a difficult manner? Are they swearing or using derogatory terms?

In Making Teams Succeed at Work it says; when two employees are having a conflict at work that they can’t resolve on their own, try this strategy:  Ask each employee to paraphrase the other employee’s point of view.  This will go a long way toward determining if each employee understands where the other one is coming from.  It may be that it’s a simple misunderstanding, which can be easily worked out.

A New Look

Have you noticed the changes that have occurred in the last five years?  People are questioning more, they seem to be less trusting.

If you are in a leadership role, then you are automatically in a position of being questioned about your decisions; whether you are a school bus driver and the students are questioning your authority, or an office person and the public is questioning your answers, or a supervisor and the employee is questioning your motives or intent. People today want answers; they want facts that support your answers.  The public is upset with a bus driver, and they want written documentation that something was done.  The bus driver writes up a student, and they want something in writing from the principal that something was done. All of us are in some leadership role and may have experienced this lack of trust.

I believe it stems from people feeling they are losing control, and they want that control back.  The puLosing Controlblic is starting to vote down levies, because they are frustrated with government in general. Why, because they feel they do not have control.   One of the ways we can try to offer people that feeling of control is to get them involved in the process.  Find out what their interests are.  Try to understand their wants. Then, work together with the information towards a solution.

The most impressive techniques I learned recently were at a three day workshop put on by John and Carol Glaser.  The purpose of the workshop was to train the district teams for collaborative negotiations. These teams were from both labor and management.  People donated their weekend to complete the training.  So what was the training?  The prime focus, in my opinion, was to understand the other person’s interests and then to work towards a collaborative solution that addressed both sides interests. The second focus, again in my opinion, was to stay focused on the interests and not on the person(s).

In the final analysis, conflict management requires several personal leadership skills that must be developed and honed in order to resolve internal strife that is detrimental to organizational success.


It is often said that the only thing that is constant in the present day is change. Societal norms play a large part in our personal norms, beliefs and philosophies. While in some cases it may be a good thing, for instance the way technology has improved our methods of doing business, more often societies norms slowly erode the basic values that are foundational and fundamental to society and organizations.

Many societal norms, in the interest of having more “fun” in life, have caused a severe and serious decline in personal morals and ethics. All one has to do is watch the many advertisements, movies and television shows that have not only corrupted our morals, but also degraded the work ethic of the populace, more especially among our young men. Young men today seem confused and confounded by the excessive male-bashing video clips more favorable of the opposite gender causing them to question the importance of their personal manhood and integrity.

Hollywood’s view of open sexuality, some Judicial rulings and political actions have slowly replaced many of the country’s basic religious beliefs in the name of personal pleasure, abortion and “separation of  church and state” under the First Amendment to the Constitution. The ever increasing numbers of legal actions against people who exercise little or no personal integrity also permeate the media, which educates our populace toward changing their basic core values – values that Americans have maintained for the past 200-plus years.

Roman Legionnaire by Augusto Kapronczai

I’m reminded of a speech given by now retired United States Marine Corps (USMC) General, now President of Birmingham-Southern College, Charles C. Krulak in which he tells of the gradual erosion of the Roman Legionnaires1 sense of personal integrity through the influence of the “politically correct” Praetorians or Imperial Bodyguards. During the time of the 12 Caesars at their morning inspections, the Legionnaires would strike with their right fist the armor breastplate that covered their heart and yell “Integritas” (In-teg-re-tas), which in Latin meant material wholeness, completeness and entirety. In other words, the integrity of the armor and the man was sound, solid and completely un-impregnable.

The politically correct Praetorians had the finest equipment and armor (i.e. latest technology). They no longer had to shout “Integritas” as their armor was sound. Instead they would shout “Hail Caesar” to signify that their heart, and subsequently their integrity and loyalty, belonged to the imperial personage – not their unit, institution nor their code of ideals, i.e. their core values.

Although the Legionnaires continued to hold fast to their belief, even while changing the shout to “Integer” to indicate their completeness in integrity, the steady social decline had its effects upon the Legion. Slowly because of laziness, parade ground drills were abandoned, the armor became to heavy to carry and was cast aside, resulting in a loss of personal integrity as well.2

Fast forwarding to the current era, society has taken on some of the declining habits of the Legionnaires. For example, we pay more attention to our smart phones during meetings because our distractions are more fun than the boring meeting.

Similarly, as the heavy armor was cumbersome and uncomfortable, coat and ties give way to Business Casual or relaxed fix jeans and sport shirts. Family nights and weekend football game preclude attending church or some other community service activity. The idea of making a donation to promote some community function is easier than joining in service to the community.

King Solomon also tells us in one of his writings in Proverbs that “The man of integrity walks securely”, that “the integrity of the upright guides them, and that “righteousness guards the man of integrity.”3

In a recent group discussion on the social website LinkedIn, the question was asked, “Should work be fun?” Thefun-at-workre was an article accompanying the question that focused on how to have fun at work through the addition of “organized fun activities” to enhance the workplace environment. My comment, which did result in some positive feedback, included the following:

The “fun” is in the “doing” – accomplishing the mission and turning the vision into reality. Rewards, recognitions, cakes and punch are the affirmations of the “doing,” the accomplishing, the developing the experience and improving excellence.

We need to quit worrying about having fun all the time, number one because it is not always fun due to challenges, issues and concerns, and two because the intrinsic rewards are long-term and more important than the short-term gifts of fun-time Charlie things.

I tend to focus more in what motivational speaker Mike Frank calls “Leadership PRIDE – Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence.” I added three other “E” parts: Everyone or Ethics or Experience. Fun is about Intrinsic Rewards. Keep the Quest Alive!

 Note: “Great Time” image above not associated with LinkedIn Group or the referenced article.4

The idea of having fun in the workplace often lowers standards of common decency that results in sexual harassment comments, unprofessionalism, workplace attire and behaviors that results in questionable integrity of employees.

President John F. Kennedy once said, “I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” 5

I believe the “fun” comes from the intrinsic rewards gained from the servant leadership of all employees as they see their accomplishments from their personal efforts, and as they improve in their own lives and the leadership they exhibit as a result of their personal growth. I believe it is my contribution to the human spirit to which President Kennedy referred in his quote.

For years now, when speaking to my Navy Junior ROTC students, I have reminded them that their name and their integrity is what they will take with them to their grave. I can only hope that I am remembered for my contribution to the human spirit as a result of my personal integrity.

Let’s get back to basics of morals and ethics. Integritas!


1. Roman Legionnaire by Augusto Kapronczai retrieved from Warrior in Art Blogspot at  http://warriorsinart.blogspot.com/2012/05/roman-legionnaire-by-augusto-kapronczai.html
2. Excerpts from the Keynote address for JSCOPE 2000 by General Charles C. Krulak.
3. NIV Leadership Bible – Leadership Principles from God’s Word, Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; 13:6.
4. “Have a great time” image retrieved on 2/2/2014 from Force 10 Coaching at http://force10coaching.com/2011/04/23/having-fun-at-work/.
5. Retrieved on 2/2/2014 from Book of Famous Quotes at http://famous-quotes.com/topic.php?tid=579.

5 Steps to Building a Leadership Dynasty


As I reflect upon the “Roll Tide” fever that is rising throughout Alabama, even in some television commercials following their third National Championship, I am reminded of my own coaching successes, and some of the foundational ideals of leadership and organizational sustainability.

Several words are being thrown around in the sports media that speak to the long-term growth of Alabama Football — “Dynasty” and “Legend”, each which brings to mind leadership legacy.

Alabama coach Nick Saban, post-game and season interviews, outlined several of the factors that have contributed to the Alabama Dynasty, not just during his era at Alabama, but over the years going back to Paul “Bear” Bryant in the 1950s. As I listened to him after the game, in his “Gatorade” soaked shirt, and during his next-day news conference, I thought about the leadership required to build a dynamic, sustainable program in any arena.

Successful Organizations have a Program

There is a foundational ideal around which any successful program is built that becomes the character, the heart, of the organization. It is based on the moral authority of the primary leaders, the CEO, Head Coach, President, etc., which becomes the standard of ethics for the organization.

The leader models the acceptable behaviors for everyone, inside and outside the organization, thereby dictating the value system that must be accepted and incorporated into the personal value system of employees. People and other organizations observe these traits in the daily operation of, not only the organization as a whole, but also, in the performance and behaviors of the team members. Furthermore, leadership holds everyone accountable to these standards, taking necessary corrective action when necessary that upholds the standard.

Coach Saban exhibited his leadership by sending two players home a day after the team’s arrival in Miami because they failed to adhere to acceptable organizational standard of conduct. By doing so, he re-enforced the team expectations, enhanced his respect level, which inspires trust and confidence in his leadership. Coach Saban referred to his action as it related to the “program” of the organization.


Organizational Vision

Leadership establishes a vision of the organization; not the primary leader’s vision, but the vision of the organization. The primary leadership — Coach, Trustees, shareholder expectations, etc. — collaboratively says, “This is how we want to be perceived outside the company”. The collaboration continues down through the organization to establish buy-in and build the vision into the core of everyone in the organization.

Southwest Airlines vision of low air fares, flight safety, better Customer Service than anyone else with on-time flights has not changed since their inception in the 1970s. As Colleen Barrett, CEO Emirates of Southwest Airlines, says we are a Customer Service company, we just happen to fly air planes. The vision of Alabama Football, which reflects the University’s vision, states, “A Tradition of Champions – A Future of Leaders.” Everything they do, on and off the field, directly relates to their vision.

A strong, value-laden vision is crucial to success and sustainability.

Learning Organization

There are five qualities of a successful learning organization: Standards; Instruction; Practice; Feedback; and Release. Obviously, these apply to Universities and competitive teams of all types. It can also be applied to all organizations as well — Corporations, Companies, Religious, Community Service, Youth, etc.

Leadership for long-term sustainability and success needs also to follow this line of reasoning.

  • Standards – unarguably a foundational attribute for structure, teamwork, commitment, and performance.
  • Instruction – life-long learning is a requirement for personal and organizational growth to prevent stagnation and decline. Change management is necessary to maintain viability in economic terms. Likewise, leadership training is essential for leader growth.
  • Practice – expertise requires practice. All teams require practice. whether it be for equipment operation, competition, emergencies or new procedures.
  • Feedback – helps improve performance and growth. Employee feedback improves procedures for competing tasks. Feedback is essential to prevent mistakes that are costly to the organization. Employee mentoring is a form of feedback and affect several aspects of organizational performance.
  • Release – empowering employees to make decisions relevant to their position in the workplace improves confidence, teamwork and individual leadership. Alabama Football vision reflects this aspect of the learning organization.



Greenleaf called foresight “The Central Ethic of Leadership” and that it is “the lead the leader has.” For Alabama football this is evident in their recruiting program. Leaders must also exhibit systematic foresight to stay ahead technologically, in the market place, fulfilling customer and employee needs, and implementing the almost daily change requirements to remain at the forefront in their business world.

Dynasties are built by leaders who maintain the foundational character of the organization; who keep the vision alive to both the organization and to those who are on the outside looking in; who create a learning environment that is passed on from generation to generation; and who visualize with a systematic foresight of the future. Changing when necessary, updating the system and employee with the required training and instruction, and maintaining a open line of communication up and down the organizational structure.

  • Dynasties have Immense PRIDE – a Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence.
  • Likewise, Leaders=Demonstrate PRIDE – a Persona Responsibility In Developing Everyone.
  • Furthermore, Leadership Builds PRIDE – a Personal Responsibility In Developing Ethics.

The future leaders they develop will live the ethical value system embedded in them from their association with the organization; who in-turn develop leaders, as so on.

The Courage of Servant Leadership

The majority of discussions about Servant Leadership center around a calling, listening, empathy, emotional intelligence, character, leading with moral authority and putting other people first in a leader’s practices.

Equally important is the leadership characteristic of courage, if for no other reason than following a theory that is only partially accepted as a realistic leadership philosophy. Courage to stand as a rampart against unethical behaviors, while resisting pressures of high profits at the expense of employee needs and growth requires immense courage by leadership. At times leaders must choose between doing the right thing for employees over sacrificing standards to increase the bottom line.


 As Mark Twain tells us, there are two types of courage:  Physical and Moral. As he points out, most often courage is thought to be physical. Rarely do we think of the moral aspect of courage. As servant leaders, we must consider both moral and physical courage as a major practice.

To more fully understand this essential quality of leadership, leaders must know be knowledgeable of the differences between morals, ethics and honor. Traditionally, these traits have different and distinct meanings:

Moralsa set of standards or rules that governed one’s behavior; a set of virtues based on the natural law; cultural differences between right and wrong.

Ethics the behavior one exhibits based on his/her virtues or morals;

Honor maintaining a proper sense of right and wrong based on moral standards of conduct. As stated by Revolutionary War Hero Capt. John Paul Jones: “I will lay down my life for my country, but I will not trifle with my honor.”

Servant Leaders are expected to be persons of honor, with high standards of morals and ethical behaviors, whose integrity is beyond reproach at all times; 24/7 even when no one is looking or watching.

medal-of-honor.jpgUntil recently, courage meant physical courage only, with little consideration for the moral or ethical aspects of the behavior. Saving a person’s life meant placing one’s self in danger with the possibility of sacrificing one’s life to save another person. In the military, such action is sometimes recognized with the awarding of the Medal of Honor for valor above and beyond the call of ordinary duty.

Leadership physical courage can be exhibited in several other ways.

  •            Training an employee in the proper procedures of completing a task or responsibility.
  • ·         Educating – scheduled and impromptu – employees on a proposed change or policy.
  • ·         Mentoring and counseling when employee behaviors indicate a need for one or the other.
  •           Conflict resolution – especially during heated moments of aggression by employees.
  • ·         Public speaking on a wide variety of subject matter relative to one’s knowledge and expertise.


A Servant Leader’s honor depends on their exhibiting high standards of moral courage. Examples include some of the following behaviors.

  •  Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do, especially when under pressure to look the other way or to lower standards of conduct in performance with the idea of motivating future positive behaviors.
  •  Standing up for the leaders beliefs in defense of one’s honor.
  •   Making honest decisions based on organizational ethical standards with unwavering principles.
  •  Admitting mistakes, even in the most embarrassing of situations.
  • Confronting unethical behaviors when discovered and taking responsible corrective action that may even require terminating an employee.
  • Setting the standard in performance according to organizational morals and ethics

Servant Leaders authenticity can only be maintained and emulated by adhering to the highest possible standards of moral and physical courage.

 Where do you stand in your leadership courage? Do you stand as a rampart against unethical and immoral behaviors by employees? Are you an authentic Servant Leader?

 I’d love to read your comments.  Thank you.

How Empathetic Should a Leader Be?

Empathy is described by Robert Greenleaf as one of the twelve characteristics of Servant Leadership. Obviously, when leading from the heart, as is the intent of a serving leader, one has to exercise extreme patience, compassion and understanding in their day-to-day interaction with others.

Be that as it may, just how empathetic should one be in their daily efforts of making a difference in the lives of those whom they are leading? How much empathy is necessary of a servant leader? Until I was asked this question by an interviewing school principal, I admit I had not given much thought to this important Servant Leadership characteristic.

Empathy – not sympathy for the situation of others – is defined as the intellectual identification with, or vicarious experiencing of, the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. In other words, the feelings or attitudes felt within one’s self when considering the feelings, thoughts, attitudes, or expressions of heart-felt concern over an issue that is causing intrinsic anxiety, apprehension or worry in another person.

Leadership is a responsibility that requires a tremendous amount of time and effort in dealing with people as they carry-out the day-to-day tasks of their individual jobs. Leadership today requires more than just expecting the necessary performances of employees to meet company missions and goals.

Larry Spears, in his Focus on Leadership: Servant Leadership for the 21st Century, points out that there is a new leadership paradigm, a new moral principle that requires a new leadership model for successfully leading people to higher levels of success in the organization.

Old Paradigm: Control, Regulations; Manager/Leader Directed; Employee treated like children; Warlike Values.

New Paradigm: Openness, People Oriented; Cooperation, relationships; employee treated like adults; Integrity, trust, mutual respect.

Spears also writes that there is a new “Moral Principle” that says, “The only authority deserving one’s allegiance is given freely and knowingly granted by the led to the leader.”

This allegiance is strengthened when employees see in leadership a clearly evident “servant stature” of the leader. In other words, a caring and empathetic attitude emanating  from leadership that creates within those led a level of trust and loyalty not normally obtained under the old paradigm of leadership.

This type leadership as a model that is based on teamwork and community building techniques. It seeks to involve others in the decision making process, and actually empowers employees to make decision in their daily job tasks that promote organizational success for the good of the organization.

Servant Leadership is Empathic Leadership that is based on an ethical and caring behavior toward employees that enhances their personal growth, which creates a trusting belief that the leader is intrinsically concerned about the welfare of others.

Just how far does a servant leader go to create this level of trust, this showing of how much you really care about the personal growth of the employees? Is it more important than the organizational vision of expansion and higher levels of profits? Evidence is beginning to emerge that indicates empathic leaders contribute more to the bottom line than the old paradigm of leadership. People will tell you, “I don’t care how much you know, show me how much you care.”

servant-leadership-mountain 1

The premier leader of all time tell us that when someone asks you go with them a mile, you should go with them two miles. Empathic leaders “go the extra mile” in their leadership to instill a high level of trust from those under their charge. Leaders can instill this level of empathy in a number of ways.

Key empathic leadership principles include the following empathy-based practices. 

  • Lead from a value-based, principle-centered position of moral authority. Do the right thing with employees, empower them to make sound personal and organizational decisions. Lead from a set of consistent standards of performance, yet allowing for some flexible boundaries for personal growth. Delegate tasks, share power, while creating a culture of accountability. Maintain your personal integrity.
  •  Operate from a high level of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Be aware of your own level of empathy, transparency and service orientation. Develop empathic leaders who will in turn develop other empathic leaders. Be an agent of change for personal growth, not only in yourself, but also in the well-being of others.
  • Become an empathic listener, who seeks to identify the internal “will” of other’s conversations. Be receptive to what “is” being said, as well as what “is not” being said, seeking to understand what the person’s spirit and mind is saying. Observe what the non-verbal signals are sending as well as with the words that are spoken.
  • Maxwell says, “Treat everyone like a 10.” Empathic leaders treat everyone from the same value-based standard, exhibiting a deep-seated belief that everyone has intrinsic and extrinsic value. Empathetic leadership exhibits a strong commitment to the personal growth of everyone – provide professional development; listen to suggestions, reflect on their value and incorporate where appropriate.
  • Make employees your “Number 1” priority – put people first in your leadership. Lead from your heart, with compassion as you help others meet their highest priority development needs. Empathic leaders desire to “serve first”, demonstrating a personal calling in the interest of others.
  • Tough Love. Being empathic does not negate the requirement for confronting behaviors that run counter to organizational norms. Leaders must be compassionate in their leadership and caring when correcting behavioral concerns, exercising all the ideas above. Empathy doesn’t mean leaders will accept performance that is below standards, employee strife that interferes with teamwork, or decision-making that reduces productivity. Empathic leaders are also proactive leaders, correcting problems to maintain organizational efficiency.

How empathetic should you be in your leadership? How far will you go to lead others? Each leader must answer that question for themselves. For me it is going the extra miles when required, to enhance their lives. Instead of giving up on someone, attempt to improve them. You will see the difference you made and, more importantly, you will feel the intrinsic reward from your empathic leadership efforts.

Thank you for your comments.


The Leadership of the Scottish Declaration of Arbroath

Leadership and The Importance of the Battle of Bannockburn

Many people question why the Scots celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn every year.  After all the English do not celebrate any of their land battles, especially the battle of Falkirk where the English vanquished Sir William Wallace and the Scots.  This paper shows why it is done because of what it meant for the re-birth of a nation and the fight for freedom, a basic Masonic tenet.

Each year the nation of Scottish remember and commemorate the Battle of Bannockburn. Likewise, Scottish Rite Masons know of and understand the significance of the location and of this historical Scottish event as it is celebrated in their Initiation of the Knights of St Andrew.   Freemasons also know of it through membership in the Royal Order of Scotland.

Bannockburn actually occurred somewhat midway through Scotland’s quest for independence from England. The starting point is considered by most to be in 1286 with the death of King Alexander III, which ended a relatively stable period of Anglo-Scottish relations.[1] The following six years were periods of turmoil for Scotland in finding an agreed upon King to lead the country. The task of finding a King became known as The Great Cause of Scotland.[2]  Several groups were involved with the selection, which included a group of nobles and bishops called the Guardians of Scotland, The Scottish Clergy, Bishop William Fraser, The Parliament of Scone, as well as King Edward of England.

Following several events, Edward demanded that all 13 claimants agree that he, Edward, would remain overlord of Scotland. All agreed in order to be considered. On 17 November 1292, Edward announced that John Balliol would become the new King of Scotland. Subsequent Scottish Kings thought that Robert the Bruce would have been a better selection, but that Edward chose Balliol under the premise that he would be easily manipulated by Edward.[3]  A key point during this period is the Scottish Clergy’s determination to maintain religious independence from the authority of Archbishop of York in England. Scotland, because of a papal bull from the Pope in 1174, was considered a “special daughter, no one in between”. The Clergy thought that any threat to Scotland’s independence would be a threat to the independence to the Scottish Church.[4]

Bannockburn Drawing

  This oldest known depiction of the Battle of Bannockburn is found in the Scotichronicon, from c. 1440s. For a complete history of this book, see “Book of Paisley” at: http://www.ilovescotland.net.

The Scottish ideal of independence and England’s continual meddling into Scotland’s affairs, including forcing appeals to English courts and demands that Scotland take up arms against France, caused Edward’s ideal of manipulation of Balliol to never reached fruition. Despite Balliol’s allegiance to Edward and England, he knew the Scots would not take kindly to taking up arms with France at the command of another monarch. Further, Scotland had opened up trade with France and Germany, providing economic gains for the country.

Two major battles and Scottish icons appeared that would lead to Scotland’s independence from England – William Wallace’s defeat of an English army at the Battle of Stirling in 1297, and Robert the Bruce’s victory at Bannockburn in 1314.[5] 

Battle of Roslin Monument

Battle of Roslin Monument

An equally important battle for Scottish independence was fought at Roslin near the Rosslyn Castle and Chapel in 1303[6].  This important battle in the Wars of Scottish Independence was fought on the 24th February 1302/1303. (Until 1600 the year began on the 25th March and ended on the 24th March). A Scottish army of 8,000 men under Sir John Comyn and Sir Simon Fraser marched 16 miles from Biggar to confront an English army of 30,000. However the English army was split into 3 columns and the Scots dealt with each in turn with great slaughter.   For some reason this important battle is NOT well covered in any scholastic history books (maybe because Comyn lost out to Bruce in the later contest for leadership of Scotland[7]).

While Wallace’s leadership and victory boosted Scottish confidence, Bruce’s even greater defeat of Edward II’s army at Bannockburn bolstered Scotland’s vision of freedom and independence from England.   Edward II, now King of England marched 20,000 troops toward Bannock, where Bruce had strategically placed his 6,000-7000 Scots around a “burn” just across the narrow bridge. The weary English army had problems finding solid fighting ground in the burn, which placed them at a huge disadvantage. More importantly, Bruce had mentally prepared his Scottish brothers for the battle before the battle took place.

Robert Burns poem of Bruce’s march to Bannockburn vividly depicts the “Cause” that faced his men as they awaited Edward’s men. Their confidence was at an all-time high because of the many battles Bruce had won in claiming back land from the English. Nonetheless, Bruce saw it fit to further bolster their confidence by depicting the problem and the reason they were fighting, as well as to the final outcome.

 Robert Bruce’s March to Bannockburn

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to Victorie!

Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's power -
Chains and Slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a Slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha, for Scotland's King and Law,
freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Free-man stand, or Free-man fa',
Let him on wi' me!

By Oppression's woes and pains!
By your Sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!-
Let us Do or Die! [8]

The victory at the burn near Bannock, which became known as the Battle of Bannockburn, marked the turning point in Scotland’s quest for freedom and independence. The fight for independence took several more years, until when in April 6, 1320, Bernard de Linton, Abbot of Arbroath Abbey and Chancellor of Scotland penned a letter from the ordinary people of Scotland to the Pope declaring Scotland’s desires to be recognized as a Sovereign Nation.

The victory at the burn near Bannock, which became known as the Battle of Bannockburn, marked the turning point in Scotland’s quest for freedom and independence.


 Bronze Equestrian Statue of King Robert Bruce.. Sculptor: Charles D’O Pilkington Jackson. Located at Bannockburn Heritage Centre grounds.

 Declaration of Arbroath Pic

 Declaration of Arbroath

The fight for independence took several more years, until when in April 6, 1320, Bernard de Linton, Abbot of Arbroath Abbey and Chancellor of Scotland penned a letter from the ordinary people of Scotland to the Pope declaring Scotland’s desires to be recognized as a Sovereign Nation.

There are a couple of passages from the Declaration that define “The Cause” of Scotland’s fight for independence.

 “Yet if he (Robert Bruce) should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and subverter of his own right and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule.[9] 

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.?[10]

 450 years later, the Founders of America looked to the Declaration of Arbroath to pen the Declaration of Independence to declare Americas independence from England. If one places the two documents side-by-side, one would see the obvious similarity between them, and more importantly, the ideal, the “cause” – liberty (freedom from tyranny). As Patrick Henry stated so resolutely, “Give me Liberty, or give me death.

In 1998, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating every April 6, the date the Declaration of Arbroath was signed, as Tartan Day. A Senate spokesperson said, “The Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on 6 April 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.[11]

The importance for Freemasons is imminently clear – the “Cause” – “Liberty” – is our constant quest. Just as the Battle of Bannockburn and the Declaration of Arbroath declared the cause for Scotland, the Declaration of Independence of America and the Revolutionary War proclaimed the cause for Washington and the Founders of the United States.

All Freemasons need to remember the Celebration of Bannockburn and stand ever ready to take a stand in defense of Liberty for all mankind.

A “Special Thank You” is extended to Professor Thomas Lamb, a native of Scotland and well versed in this subject, for his review and contribution to the article.


[1] Gunn, N., 2013. Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. The Highlander Magazine, March/April, 2013

[2]Education Scotland. Scotland 1286-96: The Succession Problem and the Great Cause. Retrieved from: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/higherscottishhistory/warsofindependence/successionandgreatcause/keyfigures.asp

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid.

[5] Gunn, N., 2013. Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. The Highlander Magazine, March/April, 2013.

[8] Robert Burns Poetry. Retrieved on 3/16/2013 from: http://www.robertburns.org/works/428.shtml

[9] Gunn, N., 2013. Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. The Highlander Magazine, March/April, 2013.

[11] Gunn, N., 2013. Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. The Highlander Magazine, March/April, 2013.

 Litchfield NH 2012

David McCuistion is a retired Navy Officer and a Navy Junior ROTC Program Manager and Instructor. He is President of Clan Uisdean, USA, who are descendents of McDonald of Sleat, and also of Robert the Bruce. He is a member of the Royal Order of Scotland and a Life Member of the Scottish American Military Society (SAMS).

Independence Day 2013

As July 4, 2013 approaches, I feel compelled to post the Declaration of Independence, and some other facts about the Founders, as a reminder of the importance of this date 237 years ago when a group of men decided it was time to break all ties with the King of Great Britain and begin the formation of a new governmental ideal — Liberty — to which was added Life and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I recommend that everyone take time to read it, which outlines the cause, the justification, and the impending actions they were about to take.

I also added a short list of some of the sacrifices suffered as a result of their actions; sacrifices that many have freely given down through the 237 years since the Declaration was promulgated to the world. Let us never take for granted the blessings we have today, the sacrifices of many to preserve the Liberty we cherish that have prevented our living under the a tyrannical government.

May we always as stated in the Holy Scriptures, “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith God has set you free, and do not be entangled in the yolk of bondage.”

Declaration of Independence

[Adopted in Congress 4 July 1776]

Contenential Congress

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levey war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 Their pledge being so dedicated and resolved, some of the Founders did indeed expend all their fortunes and some losing their lives in their effort to institute a government of the people, by the people and for the people; with the ideal of Liberty for all as the foundational ideal of the Government of the United States of America.

Here is a listing of some of those sacrifices:

Two of them became presidents of the United States, and among the others were future vice presidents, senators, and governors. But not all were so fortunate.

Nine of the 56 died during the Revolution, and never tasted American independence.

Five were captured by the British.

Eighteen had their homes — great estates, some of them – looted or burnt by the enemy.

Some lost everything they owned.

Two were wounded in battle.

Two others were the fathers of sons killed or captured during the war.

Lewis Morris of New York, for example, must have known when he signed the Declaration that he was signing away his fortune. Within weeks, the British ravaged his estate, destroyed his vast woodlands, butchered his cattle, and sent his family fleeing for their lives.

Another New Yorker, William Floyd, was also forced to flee when the British plundered his property. He and his family lived as refugees for seven years without income. The strain told on his wife; she died two years before the war ended.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, an aristocratic planter who had invested heavily in shipping, saw most of his vessels captured by the British navy. His estates were largely ruined, and by the end of his life he was a pauper.

The home of William Ellery, a Rhode Island delegate, was burned to the ground during the occupation of Newport.

Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton, three members of the South Carolina delegation, all suffered the destruction or vandalizing of their homes at the hands of enemy troops. All three were captured when Charleston fell in 1780, and spent a year in a British prison.

US Flag 3

So should it be when we Pledge our Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America – The American Flag – that we too resolve our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.





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