Don't Abuse Your Position

Below is an old story about my grandson and me relating to not abusing your authority or position.

It Is Your Responsibility to Set the Right Example and Not Abuse Your Position of Authority!

Last week I was driving my grandson Jullian to school at 6 a.m. as he and his fourth-grade class were going on a field trip to St. Augustine.

The first thing he asked me as we were getting into the car in the dark was, “Papi, am I old enough yet to sit in the front seat?”  I said, “NO!”  He got into the back seat and buckled his seat belt.  He was clutching a book that he was taking on the trip to read.  In a minute he said that he had this feeling before of riding in the back seat very early in the morning in the dark, clutching a book.  I told him he was having a déja vu moment, and then I explained to him what that meant and reminded him that it was probably when he got up at 4 a.m. to come home from France where he was visiting his French relatives last summer.  He agreed that that was exactly what it was.

All was quiet for a few miles and then he said, “Papi, George Bush can’t run again can he?”  I said, “No, he can’t.”  He then said, “Well then the Republicans are going to have to get a new person, and that means that John Kerry could run again and win because the new Republican won’t be that well known.”  I said, “Yes, Jullian, that is right.  If John Kerry runs again, he might win this time.”  Jullian immediately said, “If John Kerry is elected, he will raise taxes.”

I was thinking “good grief,” where did he hear that? or why does he think that?  He went on to say, “All the poor people will vote for John Kerry, and he will raise taxes.”  I said, “Well that may be true, but maybe it would be a good idea to raise taxes, if it would really help the poor.”  In a few minutes he said, “Papi, I agree, if it would help the poor to raise taxes, then that is a good idea.” 

He then said, “Papi, did you know that if the Electoral College were tied that the House of Representatives would elect the President?”  I told Jullian, “Yes.  I did know that.”  I did not tell him that I did not know that until this year, since he is nine years old and I am sixty years old.  I still want him to think that I am smart.  I am his grandfather after all (Papi in French).

He then went on to ask me why we don’t vote on whether we raise or lower taxes instead of having Congress do it.  I explained that we elect our Representatives in the House and the Senate, and they represent us when votes come up on taxes as well as many other issues.

I think he has a good idea here as I trust the American people a whole lot more than I trust the US Congress.

The last question he asked me, and this is where my true leadership came in, he said, “Papi, am I a Republican or a Democrat?”  I assure you that I was tempted to tell him what I thought he should be, but I used better judgment and did not.  I told him, “Jullian, you are neither.  You are learning . . . and when you grow up, you will decide what you believe in . . . and then YOU will decide what you are and how YOU will vote.”

He trusts me 100 percent, and I did not want to influence him on this subject.  I want him to continue to think . . . and to learn . . . and to come to his own conclusions. Remember to do this with your fellow team members as well if you want them to trust you….Lee

  1. This was a beautiful story. I commend you on the wisdom of your answer to your grandson. Teaching our young to think for themselves is much more valuable than teaching them to think the same way we do. I once read that education is what brings forth that which is within. Thank you for sharing this, Lee.

  2. Great story Lee. Hope I am as successful at fatherhood as you’ve been with Dan and your grandchildren. One month until our baby is born and I’ve never been happier or more terrified. Hope to see you again soon. Bryan

  3. What a great teaching moment. It would have been easy to give your grandson an answer. I’m glad you took the more difficult road. Thanks for sharing the story.

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