By Dr. Jalin B. Johnson
“When you’re young, you think your dad is Superman. Then you grow up, and you realize he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.” -Author unknown
Having always been thankful for the love of parents who taught my brother and I an array of life lessons, I am blessed to have also seen them model excellence. This Father’s Day, I considered all of the many leadership lessons my father has offered us through his own wisdom and insight. My Pops wears his cape well. Recently, I set aside my own bias and asked some of our Brandman faculty and leaders – who also happen to be dads and grandads – about the leadership examples and wisdom they have both shared and received through the years.
Honoring the 75th anniversary of D-Day; How Fathers Inspire Thoughts of Love & Leadership – Dr. Sam Bresler, Associate Dean of Student and Faculty Affairs/ Professor of Human Resources and Business Administration
My father participated in D-Day, and in the months of struggle that followed that day. He served in the Army Air Corps as a flight surgeon, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The decisions that he was required to make were challenging and at times heartrending. In addition to attending to the needs of those who were injured in combat, he was called upon to decide who would qualify for flight status and who would remain behind (until the next mission).
As I reached that point in my life where I was contending with the demands of my own military service, he often reminded me that modeling the behavior that you most wanted to see in others was the first requirement of leadership. I never forgot those words, or his continued commitment to them, and have attempted to follow his example in the years that I’ve been privileged to lead and influence others.
The Importance of Fatherhood – Dr. Alan Enomoto, Associate Dean of Multiple subject, Single subject, MAT programs, BA Early Childhood Education and BA Liberal Studies with Credential Programs/ Associate Professor
Amongst other things, I’ve encouraged fathers to become active in their children’s education and make it a point to consistently attend and actively participate in their child’s school activities and events. Through this behavior, fathers are sending a vital, unspoken message to their children that schooling is extremely important and is aligned to their family’s values. This is not always easy to do. In seemingly endless demands placed upon us in today’s society, it is often difficult to juggle the responsibilities of work, home, and education. However, it cannot be discounted how a father’s active involvement in school makes a tremendous difference in how children view education and the success they are able to achieve in school.
Living our Lives with Integrity – David Long, J.D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
Interestingly enough, I only truly became a father after I was divorced. Still, I made every effort to involve myself in their lives in those early stages. No matter how “bumbling” that initial involvement was, it was important. At 35, a divorce thrust me squarely into the role of being a father. My relationship with my children was no longer filtered through the relationship dynamics of being a husband and a father. Suddenly, it was my son, my daughter, and me. Over the past 20 years, I have noticed that leadership and success as a father to me has meant being available to my children as a sounding board. I listen to them without immediate judgment. We might not realize it at the time, but they value our ideas, as long as the feedback we give them comes from a place of love and caring. I have learned that we can lead our children through truly listening to them, asking questions, making time for them and living our own lives with integrity.
A Father’s Wisdom and Leadership – Carlos V. Guzman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Education
My father played an important role in shaping me. He brought courage, safety, optimism and wisdom. I developed key leadership characteristics from my father. I learned to be confident no matter what the circumstances and to always speak up when a situation called for it. My father believed in never judging others and emphasized that respect was crucial and part of the Golden Rule. I was taught to always be a team player and contribute to the greater good. My father was a well-educated man but never flaunted it. He once said, “Even though you may have the most knowledge in the room, it is better to sit back and listen, you never know what more you can learn.”
Fatherhood as a Sociocultural Construct – Dr. Isa A Ribadu, Associate Dean of Psychology/ Assistant Professor of Psychology
It embodies multiple definitions and nuances that can cripple the understanding of it, or hide the simple elegance of the role. The practical elements of fatherhood require a father to be present. It asks a father to be who they are as they provide consistent guidance, nurturance, support, wisdom, love, and loyalty to a child; all while remaining present as a child triumphs, offering words of praise, showing love in its unconditional form. Fathers must willingly sacrifice themselves to enrich the life of a child. To have a father who understands this concept in its simplest form is to have a father who understands the value of life.
Sometimes the best guidance can happen without words – Glenn Worthington, Ed.D., Dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies, Professor of Organizational Leadership
Observing my father while I was growing up taught me about the value of family, education, service and work. He never had to say anything special to me to convey what was important. I just watched the things he did and the way he did them and learned from his actions. I wish everyone could have such a great role model. The world would be a better place.
This Father’s Day as you’re Looking at Leadership and considering how to reach out to a special father or grandfather you appreciate, I leave you with this closing thought:
“I am a princess, not because I have a prince, but because my father is a king.” –Author unknown
Happy Father’s Day!
Jalin B. Johnson, Ed.D., is an associate professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies at Brandman University, focusing on business and organizational leadership. She is a regular contributor on issues of leadership and current events.