Mentors I Tried to Forget and Am Now Glad I Didn't - pt. I
Mar 31, 2009 by Don Payne | 0 Comments
Dr. Lee Roberson, the late founder and chancellor of Tennessee Temple University, my undergraduate alma mater. Dr. Roberson was not a mentor in a personal manner. Though I shook his hand, he never knew me. Yet, he mentored me through some key traits and emphases.
He had a few lines that he used constantly.
"Everything rises and falls on leadership." I've heard this from a few other sources since, so I don't know if he originated it, but you could not be around Dr. Roberson very long without hearing it. This continues to challenge me. It impacts even those who are not enamoured of leadership as a discipline or who think leadership is merely the preoccupation of CEO/corporate ministry types. Despite all the caveats, disclaimers, and qualifications that might be in order, this truth should be faced squarely by all who influence others.
"Critics are a dime a dozen." It's always easier to dissect when one has nothing at stake. Complex matters almost always seem more clear from the outside than from the inside.
In addition to these lines, Dr. Roberson was renowned for wearing only navy blue, double-breasted suits. This has influenced neither my wardrobe or my fashion sense. Yet, it was an embodiment of his insistence on steadiness, faithfulness, and focus. I don't remember exactly how he said it, but he was all about staying the course. Most people never saw him in anything but a navy blue, double-breasted suit. He was never a slave to popular opinion or the crosswinds that so easily blow the rest of us off our mark.
Dr. Roberson had many other opinions and emphases that I have gladly chosen not to take with me (of course, I could very well be the one shown as wrong in the end!), but for these I am in his debt and thankful to God.