“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48
When I was in eighth grade I competed on the football field against a guy from a neighboring community named Arthur Hernandez. What I wish I could forget about him after all these fifty years but have been unable to is that every time I lined up against him he took me out – every time! But the thing I’ll remember forever and hope I never forget is what an incredible leader and gentleman Arthur was – even at the ripe old age of fourteen. Every time he knocked me on my fanny, when the play was over I would look up and see Arthur’s hand extended to help me up along with an encouraging word and a pat on the back, just before giving me another pounding. It will come as no surprise that Arthur was the captain of his team, and to prove what kind of leader he was he always addressed the referees with utmost respect calling them “sir”, and would apologize when his team committed an infraction that resulted in a penalty.
I had a chance to get to know Arthur off the field at various area youth events, and I can honestly say he lived up to being very much the gentleman I witnessed on the football field. He inspired me to want to be like him – then and now – playing to win but ever gracious regardless of victory or defeat. Above all, Arthur exhibited all the characteristics of a truly great leader, like I’ve rarely seen in my entire lifetime.
I’ve heard it said that a great leader never sets himself above his followers except in carrying responsibilities. That pretty well sums up Arthur Hernandez. Unfortunately, we lost touch and I never knew what became of him, but I can only imagine that he must have become enormously successful and a highly effective and respected leader in whatever endeavors he pursued; for great leaders are always given increased opportunities and responsibilities.
A hard charging guy who played to win (and I’ve still got bruises to prove it), but always gracious and fair with an extended hand and an encouraging word, that was Arthur Hernandez, the model of a great leader, still inspiring me to want to be like him.