Young and Beardless

Young and Beardless

by John Luke Robertson


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John Luke Robertson may be young and beardless, but he has a lot to say about growing up and discovering your purpose.

John Luke Robertson, the oldest son of Willie and Korie Robertson and brother of Dancing with the Stars sensation Sadie Robertson, shares his story of what it’s like to grow up as a Robertson and all the fun and craziness that entails, as well as what he has learned as he has stepped out into his own unique experiences. He also shares what it’s like to navigate the walk from boyhood to becoming a man. Topics in this book include friendship, kindness, dreaming big, embracing your God-given uniqueness, taking chances, and choosing mentors.

John Luke speaks frequently on dreams (how to build a dream for your life), schemes (how to plan for your dream to come true), and building teams (choosing the people around you who will become a team that helps make your dream come true through their support, honesty, and care). He will incorporate these important guidelines into the book, ultimately helping young people learn how to find and pursue a clear-cut purpose in their lives.

Teens and young adults will enjoy reading his story, and they will benefit by reading Robertson’s wisdom and perspective on how to grow up and live out your purpose. And, with the Robertsons, this book is sure to be fun!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718087906
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 05/17/2016
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,084,248
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

John Luke Robertson, the oldest son of Korie and Willie Robertson, has grown up on the hit reality television series Duck Dynasty. Over 3 million viewers watched as John Luke married his beautiful bride, Mary Kate McEachern, in June of 2015. They currently attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where John Luke is doing his undergraduate work in camping and outdoor ministries. Growing up, John Luke spent his summers working at Camp Ch-Yo-Ca, a Christian youth camp his great-grandfather started in 1967, as well as doing various mission efforts around the world. His first business venture is the famous snow ball stand in front of the Duck Commander warehouse, called John Luke and Willie’s Ice Cabin. John Luke speaks at various events around the country sharing his passion for his faith and for living life to the fullest. He is also the author of a four-book juvenile fiction series, Be your Own Duck Commander, and writes on his blog You can follow him on Instagram @young_and_beardless and twitter @john316luke923.

Read an Excerpt

Young and Beardless

The Search for God, Purpose, and a Meaningful Life

By John Luke Robertson, Travis Thrasher

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2016 John Luke Robertson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8790-6




Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. ... You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.



Who we are is largely defined by the family we are born into. Have you ever thought how different your life would be if you weren't born in the twentieth or twenty- first century? Or if you didn't have your particular parents, or live in your particular town? I have. When I was thirteen, I traveled to England with Mamaw Jo to visit my 2-Mama and 2-Papa. They were living in Oxford, England, for one semester as guests of a professor at Oxford University. This worked out pretty great for me because I got to see England at a young age.

We visited castles and prisons, and even where some of Harry Potter was filmed. At one castle, we got to fight with fake swords and play games they had in medieval times. I imagined myself as a little boy with no TV or cell phone. I thought how different my life would be if my parents were king and queen, or if my dad were a prison guard and my mom a maid in the fifteenth century. There, surrounded by castle walls that were dark and dingy with age, in a country that is centuries older than America, it was easy to let my imagination run wild and picture a different life.

But that's not the life I've had. I was born in 1995 to Korie and Willie Robertson in West Monroe, Louisiana. I was my parents' firstborn and the first grandchild born on my mom's side of the family, so that honor came with all the attention you would expect a firstborn to get. I have a lot of baby photos that feature me — with about ten pairs of hands touching me. From the beginning, I'm happy to say I was loved.

My life journey is my own and no one else's. It is the same for you too. One famous king in the Bible, King David, captured perfectly how unique our identities are in Psalm 139: "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:13–14 ESV).

Understanding that God created you for this very time is critical for knowing your purpose. When we dwell in a life that isn't ours, we are in danger of missing the amazing plans God has for us. When you were born, where you live, whose child you are, where you go to school — all of these details are part of who you are and are part of the life story you are writing. We aren't defined by these details, but God can use them — if we let Him — to shape us for our good and His glory.

Before you start traveling toward a destination, you have to know where you're starting from. The same holds true for life: in order to figure out where you want to go, you first have to know who you are. So ... who are you? You're not your name, your address, your cell phone number. You're not just your parents' kid, or how many siblings you have. So take a second and think: who you are at your very core?

To help you get started, I'll tell you more of my story.

Who Am I?

Some people are known by one name. Oprah. Jordan. Elvis. Drake.

I'm one of those people who gets to go by two.

My dad was a huge fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation back in the day, and it's rumored that Dad liked Captain Jean-Luc Picard so much that he became my namesake. But my grandpa's name is John, and my great- grandpa's name was Luke, so either way, my name comes with good roots.

I'm one of the younger generation on Duck Dynasty, and a teen who has become an adult in front of millions. The first episode of the show aired on March_21, 2012, when I was sixteen years old and the show had over 1.8 million viewers.

That's quite a way to introduce yourself to the world.

Since we had been filming long before the first episode aired, my entire high school experience was centered on a reality television show. So many amazing things happened during those years. Our family got to travel to places like Hawaii and attend events, like the Country Music Awards, that would've only been a dream if the show didn't exist. But there are two sides to every coin, and the show didn't come without some challenges.

During my teen years, when most people would rather hide, the country was discovering things about me that even I wasn't aware of. Like how I'm awkward sometimes. Or how I look in the dentist's chair after anesthesia. Or what my dating life was like. Or how many times my father has to say, "John Luke!"

I do have to ask myself this question: if the show hadn't already introduced me to the world, how would I introduce myself? I'm a married man now, so I asked my wife, Mary Kate — the person who knows me best — some things people might not know about me. She said the following:

• He's a dreamer. (Absolutely.)

• He's oblivious to the world around him. (Wait — what world?)

• He's smart. (Good to know. I thought she loved me for my looks!)

• His favorite snack is sourdough bread with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. (Love it — who doesn't?)

• He reads more books than I thought humanly possible. (And I want to keep reading even more.)

• He hates Doritos. (And the mess they leave on your hands after eating them. Not that I actually eat them.)

I like that Mary Kate said I'm a dreamer and I'm smart. I think both of those traits are a result of another trait she listed — I am a reader. I've spent hours buried in books when I'm sure Mary Kate and others would've preferred I was doing something else.

But I absolutely love reading. I can't ever read too much. As I share my life and my story in this book, I want to also share lots of other books that have inspired me. Those books and their authors have had a huge impact on my life. I hope to inspire you to crack open more books on a regular basis. They're an incredible source of wisdom, and one of them might just change your entire outlook on life. One thing's for certain: books have helped define exactly who I am.

In the Infernal Devices series, author Cassandra Clare sums up my view of the written word perfectly: "One must always be careful of books ... and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us." Maybe this quote is a warning to you as a reader. This book, like any book, should change you. So, if you like where you are, you'd better put it down. But if you're ready to grow, keep flipping the pages!

Who Are You?

Maybe you have never stopped to answer that question. Today's the day to do that.

Because if you don't, the world will.

This world we live in is always trying to define you in the simplest ways possible. Many times, we're defined by the check marks we put on surveys.

Male or Female. Check one.

Student or Employed. Check one.

USA citizen or Other. Check one.

Today's the day to go deeper than the survey. Here are some things you could do to look at yourself in a deeper way:

• Type a sentence describing who you are.

• Look through a magazine and pick different pictures that define you.

• Make a Pinterest board. (Okay, that one's for the ladies reading this book.)

• Connect with other people who have similar tastes and hobbies.

• Create a list of your interests and talents.

Thinking more broadly about your relationships and your interests will help you see what makes up your life, but these are still only parts of you. They're a little like shadows — blurry and one-dimensional portraits of the true you. The goal of this chapter is for you to look at yourself in a deeper way. Aside from what you put on social media or the persona you show to others, you must ask yourself honestly: Who am I?

Speaking of Boxes

A check box on a survey isn't the only box that tries to define us. We live in a world full of boxes. We all carry phones shaped like boxes. And those boxes have smaller boxes inside them full of contacts, games, and social networks. We spend hours in front of other boxes, like computer screens and televisions. We drive in square vehicles and head to our square homes outlined with nice, square yards. We sit in square classrooms at school. Every part of our lives fits in a box, and we know how we should act in each box.

Okay, maybe I'm overdoing the whole box thing. But I want you to get a mental picture of the kinds of boxes that shape us. I want you to see that while a box shapes, it also contains and hinders. Boxes can hold out and hold in certain things. While a box is great for wrapping a present or storing your memories, it's not so great if it's hindering or holding back you. I want us to look at the boxes that define us.

All of us tend to put people into boxes and slap labels on them. We can't seem to help labeling each other. Of course, many of these labels happen to be very accurate. For instance, when it comes to hobbies, Papaw Phil is put into the "duck hunter" box. And this is very accurate. He doesn't miss a day of duck hunting season. Not a single day. He is defined as a duck hunter. But like everyone else, Papaw Phil is so much more than just that one box.

When it comes to life outlook, people tend to look at Papaw Phil and put him in a box that says he's mean, rough, and intolerant. That box is totally false. Papaw Phil is wise, kind, and loves everyone. I have never heard him say a mean- spirited thing about someone. Don't get me wrong — he has his opinions, but he's never mean-spirited.

Boxes can be dangerous when we force someone into one before we get to know them. Sometimes you think you know somebody, but it turns out you really don't know them at all. We're all guilty of looking at someone and forming instant opinions.

I know that happens to me. People see me in public and call out, "John Luke!" as if they've known me for years. In some ways, they have known a part of me for years. They've known the guy they've seen on nine seasons of a reality show.

But that guy on TV is only a small part of who I am — a kid growing up in the Robertson family. Sometimes goofy and sometimes trying to figure out what to say. Those things are true, though they aren't the whole picture.

We seldom show others our whole selves. Thankfully, God sees that whole picture, and He also can see that each one of us is unique. God doesn't see boxes. He sees beautiful and broken souls made in His image — all diverse, yet all needing Him at the same time.

Being on a television show has helped me figure out who I really am. I can turn on the TV and watch me in a particular episode, yet deep down I know that's only one side of me. I am not multiple people in different boxes; I am one person who has to live in different boxes. I bet you know what I'm talking about. Life gets difficult when we try to act like something we are not. When we try to fit into a box by being a personality we think others want to see, we rob ourselves of being confident in who we really are.

Now, I don't want you to confuse acting a certain way with behaving appropriately. Of course we don't behave in school the same way we behave at a football game. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about acting like we are different people in our different boxes: school, work, home, church. I've done it. But after acting like different people in each of those boxes, I started to feel like my life was in pieces. It was awkward when someone who knew me from one box saw me in another box. Sometimes I could tell they were disappointed in what they saw. It hurts when you know someone realizes you aren't who they thought you were. Eventually I figured out that being the same person in all my boxes made me feel a lot better. Once I figured that out, I became more comfortable with myself.

The same could be said for you. There are all sorts of ways others see you — someone's child, a sibling, a friend, your Instagram persona. But that's just a small part of who you are. Deep down, there's only one real you — the person God has a unique plan for. You're extraordinary and unusual in the best ways. Don't let one box define you.

All through school, I searched for a sport that I could play well. Baseball (struck out every time and quit), football (fractured my shoulder and had to quit), even golf (broke a club and was asked to quit) — they were all challenging for me. "Sports" is a box the world likes to put around people. With the amount of money athletes make, the message is loud and clear: if you can hit a home run, dunk a basketball, or throw a spiral, you can do anything. Well, the truth is, not all of us can do that — in fact, very few of us can. Once I decided that I wasn't going to let the world define me by my athletic ability, I was one step closer to becoming the man God wants me to become.

You see, we humans do this to each other constantly. We put our friend in a box, and we keep them there with our expectations — and our words. Think about it. Even the guy who is good at baseball might not want to be a baseball player, yet we keep pushing him toward that goal. Or we use words like, "She's a worrier" or "He just doesn't like to get up in front of the class" to define our friends or family members. We don't even stop to think how those simple words put a box around people we love.

So how do you live outside the boxes the world puts you in? How do you find a dream and make that dream a reality? I think you start by celebrating where you came from and who God made you to be. The "who God made you to be" part will have a lot to do with getting to know yourself, pinpointing your dream, and following your God- given passions in life. We'll talk more about this later. But no one knows where you've come from better than you. Your story is a gift only you can use.

Now let me tell you a little more of my story.

Out of Nowhere

My life, which seems very normal to me, is apparently not so normal. Since the TV show first aired, I became aware that most people had never heard of a duck call, let alone a Duck Commander duck call. On top of that, most people didn't know a family in northeast Louisiana could build a business by selling lots and lots of duck calls. And that family could all work together, have fun doing it, and grow really long beards.

The public soon learned such a family existed, and we lived in a city called West Monroe, Louisiana. Again, that raised more questions. Where in the world is West Monroe? Who is from West Monroe? Some might have seen bits and pieces of Louisiana in movies. Perhaps they'd visited New Orleans, or watched their favorite football team play in the Superdome, or seen the movie Steel Magnolias. Maybe everything they knew about the state came from watching the news about Hurricane Katrina. But a business called Duck Commander, in backwoods Louisiana? Prior to the airing of our first Duck Dynasty show, it was only known to diehard hunters.

"Is this place for real?" was the question asked in many living rooms in America.

It's very real, and it's the only place I've ever called home.

While West Monroe might seem like it's in the middle of nowhere, good things can and do come out of nowhere. All the time. I'll give you a couple of examples

Your hometown might have a run-of-the-mill airport, but ours has an interesting history. During World War II, more than fifteen thousand pilots were trained on the grounds where our airport now sits. Built near Monroe in 1942, the airport was called Selman Army Airfield and was the only full navigation training station in the country during the war. Navigators trained at Selman flew in every WWII fighting region.

And then there is the true story of an African American boy born into the totally segregated town of West Monroe in 1934. His family struggled and eventually headed west in hopes of a better future. Times continued to be tough for his family and at age twelve, the boy lost his mother. He didn't seem particularly gifted in any way, and his future didn't seem so bright. Yet this boy ended up becoming one of the greatest athletes of all time. His name is Bill Russell. He won eleven NBA championships in thirteen years with the Boston Celtics. Get this — Russell won an NCAA championship, an Olympic gold medal, and an NBA title in the same year.

Russell said the following about his life and where he came from:

I hope I epitomize the American dream. For I came against long odds, from the ghetto to the very top of my profession. I was not immediately good at basketball. It did not come easy. It came as the result of a lot of hard work and self-sacrifice. The rewards, where [sic] they worth it? One thousand times over.

It doesn't matter where you come from, how the world defines you, or what life seems to have in store for you. Dreaming is a gift given to each of us. From the pilots who trained to serve our country to every young person with a difficult beginning like Bill Russell's, dreams can and do come true to those who work hard to make them happen.

With God's help, you can and should dream big. Then work hard to see what happens with those dreams.


Excerpted from Young and Beardless by John Luke Robertson, Travis Thrasher. Copyright © 2016 John Luke Robertson. 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.

Table of Contents

Family Cast of Characters viii

Introducing: My Toolbox ix

Part 1 Who Am I?

Chapter 1 Knowing (Myself) 3

Chapter 2 Dreaming (Big) 25

Chapter 3 Writing (My Story) 43

Chapter 4 Connecting (with Friends) 55

Part 2 Where Am I Going?

Chapter 5 Responding (to the Call) 71

Chapter 6 Curious-ing (Staying Curious) 90

Chapter 7 Rebelling (Against the Norm) 104

Part 3 What Am I Doing?

Chapter 8 Risking (It All) 123

Chapter 9 Shining (Now) 146

Chapter 10 Failing (and Getting Back Up) 161

Chapter 11 Going (on a Journey) 181

Chapter 12 Loving (Everyone) 195

Concluding: What God Has Planned 213

Acknowledgments 217

Endnotes 219

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