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Why John Luke Robertson Isn’t Growing a Beard Anytime Soon

I come from a family who is known for their beards. In fact, when we talk about my dad and uncles, we call them "the beards". If we are walking through an airport and "the beards" are with us, it can get crazy really fast. It's hard to hide four guys with beards and bandanas.

For us, the beards are just part of our business. Trust me, before Duck Dynasty, no one in our family gave much thought to a beard. It was just something you did once you were old enough to grow one that was decent enough that no one would make fun of you. However, according to my family, there are lots of good reasons to grow a beard. Papaw Phil says a beard will keep you warm as well as camouflage you while duck hunting. And he claims his beard keeps his lips from chapping in the winter. Who knew? Right.   

But, the beards are not the most important characteristic of the men in my family. They are all creative and smart and kind and supportive and a ton of other great words I could use. I am blessed to have grown up in a strong family. Both sides of my family are full of accomplished men and women. My Papaw Phil had the vision for a duck call way back in the seventies and saw that vision through to build the Duck Commander business. Later my dad took over the business and continued to grow it to the company it is today. My mom has always worked in the business also. On her side of the family, her dad, John Howard and my great-grandfather, Alton Howard, owned a chain of discount store they later sold to Sam Walton, becoming SAM'S club stores.  Later, my grandpa went on to develop Howard Publishing, a Christian publishing company. As a little kid, I spent time at both the duck call business and the publishing company watching my family hard at work.

I saw firsthand what hard work and big dreams can accomplish. It would have been easy for me to be content and complacent because by the time I was born the hardest of work had been done for those businesses. My grandparents lived through the tough days of no money and little support for their big dreams. Papaw Phil and Mamaw Kay tell stories of having only the fish papaw caught in a day to feed their growing family. But, by the time I entered the world, through hard work and dedication, my family had achieved a level of success that they were proud of and we, the newest generation, were the beneficiaries.

A few years ago, while attending a summer Christian camp for my last time as a camper I remember hearing the pastor say these life changing words: What do you want to do with your life?  I know I had heard that question before in my life, but, on that day, it was as if I was hearing for the first time. I immediately started writing in my journal. First, I wrote about all the things I had been given--a loving and supportive family, our new (at the time) TV show, Duck Dynasty, and, the usual things, a roof over my head and food to eat.

Then another question came to mind: What do I do with all of this?  That's when it hit me that I can't be content to rest on the accomplishments of those who have gone on before me. I can't sit back and let others move the world forward. I suddenly realized that I had a responsibility to do what I had seen others do: dream big and work hard.

I also remember the pastor at camp that day challenging us to pick a life verse. I picked Ephesians 1:18: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. (NSV)

The word inheritance just stuck out to me because of the blessed inheritance I had been given. But I knew I didn't want to just be thankful for my inheritance, I wanted to do what the first part of that verse says: I want to search to know and do what God calls me to do.

So young and beardless just means I'm still learning and growing and figuring out my life's purpose. I guess I could grow a beard, but I'm pretty sure it would be a little sparse and not very impressive at my young age (and the subject of some joking). But, the growth potential of my beard isn't important; the growth potential of my life is. Right now, my life might also be a little sparse and unimpressive, but the journey is just beginning. I know that God's not done with me yet. I'm keeping my eyes open and my ears alert to anything He calls me to do.

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