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Character and Leadership

The Paraguayan news (and international press) has been buzzing with the latest scandal. Our president, Fernando Lugo, who is the first ex-Catholic bishop to become a nation's president, is a father. Actually, he has children! He fathered these children while still a bishop and has not officially recognized them until a court ordered DNA testing to be done. He has not only broken the moral code of Catholicism, he has been an absent father who doesn't pay child support for the children he has brought into this world.

This news has not only paralyzed our government, it has made Paraguay the brunt of jokes, criticisms and only works to support Paraguay as a corrupt country. There are shirts being sold in the streets, "I'm not Lugo's child" and the opposition is ridiculing the president by calling him the "father of all Paraguayans". While jokes are flying, the issue is very serious. The opposition is asking him to step down, (which is unlikely), but Lugo has brought shame and an unhealthy distraction upon a poor, struggling nation that doesn't need any more bad press.

The goal in mentioning this situation is not to blast Lugo; it only emphasizes how crucial character is to leadership. The training we participated in two weeks ago emphasized that character is even more important than abilities and knowledge in leadership. Lugo has lost credibility and respect among the people he represents and that presents a huge problem for the four years that remain in his tenure as Paraguay's leader.

Our desire, as we transition more of our time in leadership development, is to spend ample time in character formation and personal integrity of young Paraguayans. We can only impact lives to the degree that we are living out the change we want to see in our cultural environment. Because leadership is influence, our actions will always speak louder than our words.

"Character is the firm foundation stone upon which one must build to win respect. Just as no worthy building can be erected on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character." -R.C. Samsel

We pray that God will give us the wisdom, strength, patience and humility to build up a new generation of Paraguayan leaders; with character and sound ethics. Because we see such a lack of leaders with character, the need is urgent to present a new example: Christ-like leaders, who are willing to be forged in the potter's workshop.

"Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece: by thought, choice, courage and determination."
- John Luther


  1. Wow! No, we hadn't yet heard this news...that is a big deal! And you are right, character matters so much, even in the secular world...

  2. It really is such a sad thing, so tragic.


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