IMG_1207-2Our greatest legacy is in preparing the next generation, and ensuring that there remains a next generation. This single task has been passed down from our Founders to each generation. A recent Esquire article entitled, “Are Today’s Men Really Weaker Than Their Dads”, doesn’t think so as measured by their grip.

While muscles count, internal fortitude matters much more. The greater question: Do dads have a grip on building future leaders? Like a tree, fathers develop offshoots, family branches. As the saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

The family tree remains as robust as the labor, morals and love devoted to its leadership development. Leadership is both lonely and misunderstood – and values-based not vanity embraced.

Trump confounds so many because, like the unconventional Winston Churchill, leaders start with the truth – and surface when their nations, communities and families need them. We need leaders today. The truth is painful, but necessary, as is compassionate communication that weaves a shared and common understanding – leading to an inspired future.

Leadership’s branches develop through adversity and awareness of the current environment. The daily nurturing that is required isn’t meant to coddle; rather, it is intended to build the moral core. Through planning, innovation, adaptation and applied judgment, leaders affect those who follow. More importantly, leader’s build the family tree through a personal connection, a rallying call to move beyond self to team through shared values and common fates.

When we think back on our life’s greatest achievements, family and team accomplishments rise to the top. We share team successes because, at our core, we are all family. These collective achievements suppress individual narcissism, and strengthen the family’s leadership tree from within.

As our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln remarked, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Can these words hold alarmingly true for our national family tree?