I Call Shotgun: Lessons from Dad for Navigating the Roads of Life

I Call Shotgun: Lessons from Dad for Navigating the Roads of Life

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by Tommy Newberry, Curt Beavers

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Shooting from the heart, Tommy Newberry and Curt Beavers---men of faith, influencers, entrepreneurs, and battle-tested dads themselves---offer an engaging, highly personal collection of potent insights, a just-in-time antidote to the empty counterfeits that today’s culture tries to pass off as wisdom. At the end of each chapter, simple yet carefully crafted…  See more details below


Shooting from the heart, Tommy Newberry and Curt Beavers---men of faith, influencers, entrepreneurs, and battle-tested dads themselves---offer an engaging, highly personal collection of potent insights, a just-in-time antidote to the empty counterfeits that today’s culture tries to pass off as wisdom. At the end of each chapter, simple yet carefully crafted questions invite deeper conversations between dads and sons.

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

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Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Tommy Newberry and Curt Beavers
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4002-0465-6

Chapter One


Dear Trey,

Throughout your life, you will face times when you are scared. But you will be far from alone. No one is immune to this experience. Both cowards and heroes face fear. Their responses to fear and uncertainty, however, define who they become. And this will be true for you as well. The really good news, believe it or not, is that you were not born with courage. But neither was anyone else. Why is this good news? Because it means that courage, rightly understood, is learnable.

As a man, fear may arise from a physical threat, a strained relationship, or a financial challenge, but it happens to us all. How you choose to face this fear will help define who you become. The more you practice being brave, the braver you will become.

As you develop more courage, more opportunities will come your way. As your courage expands, so too will your depth of character. And this will be apparent to everyone around you.

With courage, you do what's right regardless of what's popular. Sometimes this will mean overtly taking a stand, and other times it will simply mean bypassing the path everyone else is following. You exhibit courage when you stick by a friend after everyone else has abandoned him. Saying no when everyone else says yes shows courage. It also takes courage to stand up for your convictions when everyone else is sitting down.

Son, you must act courageously even when you feel uncourageous. This is a critical point, especially if you aspire to be a leader someday. Those moments when you are faced with the option to either do what's right but difficult or what's wrong but convenient will become the defining moments of your character. I assure you that I regret the times I weakly went along just to get along.

Courage is the opposite of immobilization. It's the guts and grit to do what's right because it's right. Courage is the willingness to launch into a new venture without a guarantee, to risk failure and follow your dream. Every business in America reflects an act of courage. The famed management teacher Peter Drucker once said, "Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision."

Whether you are a student, an athlete, an artist, or an entrepreneur, success requires courage. It takes courage to think independently and rise above the crowd. Acts of courage reveal what you're really made of and set the stage for continuous growth and self-mastery. Living with courage fuels the inclination to get outside your comfort zone and operate in the character zone.

American history is filled with stories of courageous people. It took courage for America's first settlers to get on those ships and sail to the unknown. It took courage for Patrick Henry to declare, "Give me liberty or give me death." It took courage for the Greatest Generation to storm the beaches of Normandy. It took courage for Rosa Parks to quietly refuse to give up her bus seat. It took courage for the first astronauts to launch into unchartered territory. It took courage for firefighters to rush into the World Trade Center when everyone else was running out. It took courage for Captain Sullenberger to safely land his plane in the Hudson River and be the last one to disembark.

Courage is both inspiring and infectious. Become infected with this uncommon quality, son, and as a leader, you will start an epidemic that will rapidly spread and take you to places you never dreamed possible. When others witness your acts of courage, they will be inspired to do likewise. Courage, as the legendary British prime minister Winston Churchill observed, "is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend."

Build your life upon a foundation of courage, Trey, and be blessed with the strength, character, wisdom, and integrity your courageous choices will bring.

Love, Dad

Chapter Two



You cannot see it. You cannot alter it. You cannot stop it. But the direction and quality of your life will be heavily shaped by it. I am talking about time—the cumulative moments of your life.

I encourage you to learn to value time early in your life. Many of your friends, acquaintances, and even role models will not understand the value of small moments. They will waste a few minutes here and a couple of hours there, never realizing that lost time accumulates and undermines who they're capable of becoming and the goals they might accomplish.

But as time passes, options diminish. By the time you hit age thirty, you will have observed for yourself many who never appreciated the time they were given and, consequently, squandered opportunities and maybe even years of their lives. As you grow older, you will find that life, with its temptations and distractions, can become noisy and confusing, and you can be easily drawn into wasting your time with lesser things.

How well you manage your life will largely be determined by how well you manage your time. Time management will rarely be easy. You will have to make difficult decisions. You will have to turn down nice people, pass on exciting pursuits, and say no to worthy projects. But the truth is, you simply cannot give your time and attention to every good thing that presents itself to you.

While there will never be enough time to do everything, there will always be the time to do the right things. God hasn't shorted us on time, but he does require that we invest it wisely. Ty, you will find God always provides enough time to accomplish what he wants you to accomplish.


Chapter Three


Dear Mason,

God created a world where one person's success benefits the people around that person. In fact, our success creates ripples that spread out in circles far beyond us. Like pebbles dropped into a pond, those ripples intersect across communities, cultures, and even generations. God desires that all his children be blessed, and he created an economy based upon our mutual support for one another. By his design, your success blesses others.

But what is success? Many people today define that word by the size of a paycheck, the fanciness of their clothes, the reflections in their mirrors, the size and numbers of their homes, or the measure of their influence. But success is the process of making God's desires our desires and becoming more like he engineered us to be, day after day. Success is God's way of creating abundance in his universe, and he uses our success to help others create success. When we do well, we're able to help others do well. As I've often encouraged you, do well so you can do good!

However, the world today sees success in a different way, as a system of competition built on envy and jealousy. The truth is, Mason, we typically repel what we resent. When you waste your energies on envy, jealousy, and resentment, you block your ability to achieve your own success. God knew that it's not only wrong to break the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet" (Ex. 20:17 KJV), it's counterproductive. He created a world where success is built not at the expense of others but in service to them. In spite of what is fashionably promoted today, success is a multiplier, not a divider.

The flip side of this message is the good news: the fastest way to achieve success is to genuinely admire and applaud the success of others. Our appreciation and gratitude for others' well-being releases a mental switch that draws us toward our own dreams. Only the architect of the universe could author a system where one person's success enables the hopes and dreams of others. Reinforce this mind-set while you're still young, Mason. Get into the habit of cheering for your friends, classmates, and teammates when they achieve special distinction. This won't always be easy, especially if you were competing with them, but it is a sign of high character and a mental building block to your own future accomplishments.

Imagine that a few years down the road you graduate from college after investing years of hard work. You marry the girl of your dreams and find the job you've always hoped for, and the two of you put a down payment on a house, thanks to having a good income from a business owner who's invested in you to bolster his company's success. Your success blesses him. You bring skills he's been looking for and help him advance his company. And his success blesses you. You're now a homeowner. Based on your contributions to the company, he adds another position.

But the ripples continue. Two real estate agents involved in the sale of your home earn a commission. One pays off his credit card debt. The other agent takes a vacation to San Diego with her husband. The airline generates revenue, along with the San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, and the rental car company. Back home, a teenage boy earns some extra money house-sitting while the couple is traveling, so he takes his girlfriend out for dinner and leaves a big tip to impress her. The waitress goes home with a little extra cash that night and sends off some money to her little sister at college who goes out the next day for a long-anticipated manicure. Back home, you're buying rakes, hoses, paint, hammers, and other supplies to fix up your house and giving the neighborhood hardware store a boost.

Long story short: your hard work and success feed the success of others. Businesses profit, families profit, local and state governments profit, and communities thrive. Now multiply this example by 100 or 1,000 or 100,000. Hobby Lobby's founder and CEO, David Green, is responsible for producing 16,000 jobs. Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, founders of Home Depot, together have created more than 300,000 jobs. Imagine the exponential influence of their success on millions of lives. These men, and tens of thousands of women and men like them, risk their futures and pour their hearts into serving others through their initiative in a free marketplace. The return on their investment blesses millions by the ripples created through their business success. As a nation and as individuals, we should rejoice in this!

Success creates a cascade not only in the business world but in all walks of life, from school teachers to homemakers to ministers to surgeons to sales people. When we serve others with excellence, ripples of blessing spread far and wide. Never be intimidated or resentful of the success of others in perfecting their crafts or skills, serving others, or creating successful ventures. Cheer them on. Recognize and appreciate people's principled efforts to contribute to the world.

It's never cool to pull people down with criticism or negativity, or to devalue their achievements. Too often people respond to others' success with sour grapes, bitterness, and belittling. But don't fall into this trap, son. This kind of negativity always reflects poorly on the person too emotionally and spiritually shallow to be able to celebrate the success of others. You're bigger than that, Mason. God celebrates the successes of his children, and he calls us to be like him. Celebrate the service, innovation, gifts, leadership, and creativity of others. Applaud the good things they bring to the world. Learn to smile as the cameras flash for other people and to mean it.

Remember, you're secure in God's love. He has a plan for you, and you never have to feel threatened or intimidated by the talents or successes of others. In fact, you should pray for other people to be blessed and succeed. This is what Jesus taught in the golden rule—even as far as loving and praying for the success of our enemies (Matt. 7:12).

If you hope to enjoy greater rewards tomorrow, appreciate those who are experiencing success today. Study their paths to success, and be humble and willing to learn. Ask God to free you from jealousy and envy, and watch your own success grow as you learn to genuinely engage in the success of others.

Celebrating you, Dad

Chapter Four


Dear Brooks,

Never underestimate the power of appreciation for what you've been given. The moment you begin to lose a sense of gratitude, your perspective on life will become distorted and your motives will become entangled in a web of selfishness.

The problem of ingratitude began with our first parents, Adam and Eve. We tend to think Satan tempted them to do something diabolical in the garden of Eden. But when we look at Genesis chapter 3, we see a different scenario. The devil took a subtle approach to introduce sin to the world: he undermined Adam and Eve's confidence in the character of God by tempting them to be ungrateful for all they'd been given, and he planted seeds of doubt about God's goodness.

And it worked.

In one conversation, the fate of the world changed. Adam and Eve forgot what God had given them—life and breath, a world filled with mind-blowing beauty, and most important, free access to him in a loving relationship. Instead, they allowed ingratitude to seep into their hearts. They allowed doubt to fuel fear, and selfish desires to choke out a spirit of worship.

Gratitude is a spiritual measuring stick, son. It's a sign of a man whose heart is tethered to God and whose perspectives are rightly ordered. Gratitude creates a Philippians 4:8 perspective that looks for the true, the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely, the admirable, and the excellent. Gratitude fosters a heart that resonates with the heart of Jesus, who deflected glory from himself and directed it to his Father.

When you experience a sense of gratitude, it means that you have been thinking about the good stuff in your life such as your family, friends, health, and recent accomplishments. When you feel unappreciative, it does not necessarily mean that you are missing something essential. What it does mean is that you recently have been thinking too much about what you don't have and too little about what you do have. You might have been thinking too much about last week's dropped pass in the football game and too little about the A you received on your science exam. You might have been thinking too much about the girl who rejected you and too little about all the other girls.

Appreciating our blessings doesn't always come easily. Gratitude is not just an attitude; it is also a skill and discipline to be practiced, especially when we don't feel like it. Gratitude is like a mental gearshift that takes us from discouragement to enthusiasm, from anxiety to inner peace.

The more you appreciate today, the more things you will notice to be grateful for tomorrow. On the flip side, the less appreciative you are today, the fewer blessings you will tend to acknowledge tomorrow. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not but rejoices for those which he has."

The power of gratitude is undeniably immense. As you learn to appreciate what you have, Brooks, praise will become a natural expression of your life. You'll begin to see God's hand everywhere. As your gratitude deepens, you'll find an increasing urge to express that gratitude in praise. In fact, godly, mature men and women understand that life is a continual cycle of gratitude, repentance, and praise.

Godly gratitude will be measured or limited not by what you have, but rather by knowing who you are and who God is. Because this is true, your circumstances can never limit your capacity for gratitude; they can only expand it over the years.

Grow in grace and in the knowledge of your Lord and Savior, Brooks, and unleash the power of gratitude in your life. I have certainly appreciated the privilege of being your father!

Love, Dad


Excerpted from I CALL SHOTGUN by TOMMY NEWBERRY CURT BEAVERS Copyright © 2013 by Tommy Newberry and Curt Beavers. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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I Call Shotgun: Lessons from Dad for Navigating the Roads of Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
sjziegler More than 1 year ago
booksbysteph says "Great for Father and Son" I love that there is a book that is by Dads for sons. You see so many books on Mothers and daughters, though maybe because I have not searched out books with this content.  You can read this book straight through or turn to the lesson you need. As a reader who read straight through, the letter format made the book easier and faster to read. Changes in fonts helped fiend off monotony. Text bubbles gave a modern take and look to letter writing. I found this book very refreshing by using Bible verses and personal life stories to help explain the lesson. The letters are not demanding, my-way-or-highway. They are positive, understanding and relatable in nature. The Fathers gave their sons respect. As if they are writing in the same context or lesson they are trying to teach (i.e. to teach understanding, the tone of the letter comes from an understanding aspect), if that makes any sense. Until next time, live life one page at a time!