Authors: Sadie Robertson
Mamaw Kay and Papaw Phil did not have much money back then, and they definitely were not “famous” like they are today. But they were happy. The boys and I never questioned that. We saw our grandparents work really, really hard to make a small business successful. We saw them love God, love each other, and love our family. We knew from the time we were really young that these things are what make people truly happy.
Mamaw Kay has been a happy person for as long as I can remember. She is the type of grandmother who always has a big hug for her grandchildren, who loves to teach us lessons from the Bible and important things about life, who makes us cookies or our favorite meal for no special reason, and who always sees the best in us. I don’t mean she overlooks our faults or lets us get away with being disobedient. She never had any trouble punishing us when we were little (for example, if we argued in her house, we had to go outside until we could be nice to each other), but she is also quick to compliment us when we do well, and she tells us often how much she loves us.
Papaw Phil has also been happy for as long as I can remember. I don’t think a lot of people realize this about him because he comes across so differently from Mamaw Kay. He is not one of those sweet, cuddly grandfathers who wraps you up in his arms and starts swinging you around when you go to see him. He’s a man who is happy because he is totally comfortable with himself, and he has no need to impress
. He knows what he believes and he sticks to it, no matter what other people think. He tells the truth exactly as he sees it, and if people don’t like it, that does not bother him. I have never seen him sad or shaken; he is solid. And he’s happy.
When I think about high school students like me and about all the drama that goes on because someone does not feel accepted by the popular group, I get really sad. Some students spend so much time being upset and disappointed, when they could spend that same amount of time doing what makes them happy and following their dreams—instead of getting upset about what other people think. If we could all just take a lesson from Papaw Phil and accept ourselves even if others reject us, we would be a lot happier. People who can be who they are, and accept themselves as they are,
are some of the strongest, happiest people in the world. My papaw Phil is definitely one of them!
All of our family is happy—because our happiness is not based on being on TV or on any of the things that come with it. Not that we never face struggles and not that we never get down about something, but underneath it all, we really are happy. Our happiness is based on loving God and knowing God loves us, and on loving each other. That’s what makes us happy, happy, happy.
Live Original Challenge
In your own words, why is this true: “If you think happy thoughts, you can live a happy life”?
What thoughts are you thinking today that will lead you to the future you want tomorrow?
What one thought can you change today in order to make yourself just a little more happy?
Take a minute to think about the thoughts you’ve had today. Do those thoughts make you happy and lead you in a good direction?
If you’ll think happy, you’ll be happy!
“Anything is possible if a person believes.”
’m a dreamer. I guess I was born that way, because I can’t remember ever not having a dream. My mom’s mother, whom I call Two-Mama, tells me that remembering little quotes and sayings is important. Although I can’t remember where I heard it, one of my favorite quotes is: “Dream big and tomorrow make your dreams reality.” Thankfully, I have lots of family and friends who not only encourage me to dream big, but who also totally believe in me and are always there to help my dreams come true with God’s help.
I believe everything starts with a dream. Every
thing definitely starts with a dream. The things that change the world start as little ideas or as little projects, and they become something big. If you do not have a dream, you do not know where you want to go or what you want to do. Without a dream, you miss out on the adventure of trusting God and giving your faith a chance to work. I want to spend the rest of my life giving my faith a chance to work. I want to spend every day dreaming the biggest dreams I can think of and then praying about them and working toward them. I hope that’s true for you too.
MY BIG DREAM
For as long as I can remember, my dreams have had something to do with serving God and helping other people learn about Him. When I was little, my mom used to come into my room every night at bedtime and pray with me. After she left I prayed by myself. My prayer was always the same: I asked God to show me how to spread His Word. I just wanted a chance to tell someone about Him, so every night, that’s what I asked God for. I did not realize until years later that this prayer was also a dream.
The older I got, the more the teachers and ministers at my church encouraged my friends and me to share Jesus with other people. That sounded like a great idea, and I had been onto it most of my life, but I had a problem: everyone I had ever met already knew Jesus. Seriously, there was a time when I did not know
who needed to hear about Him. I couldn’t help it; I lived in a small town with lots of churches!
I went all the way through elementary school without ever finding someone who needed to know about Jesus, but I never stopped praying about it or wishing God would answer that prayer. Night after night, I asked God, “Would you please send me
so I can share about who you are? Just
person!” For a long time, that didn’t happen.
Finally, when I was fourteen years old, I started filming
with my family, and those episodes first aired when I was fifteen. Because of that television show, I now have opportunities to talk about God every single day—to about a million people. It’s crazy when I think about how I get to speak to big audiences or do magazine interviews and now write a book. I can tweet a Bible
verse or an encouraging truth about God, and it can go out to people everywhere almost instantly.
For years I could not find anybody to talk to about Jesus. Then all of a sudden, God turned my dream into reality. I can talk to people everywhere because of a TV show. I don’t have to look for people to share Jesus with anymore. The way I look at it, our TV show is not an opportunity to put myself in the spotlight; it’s a chance for me to put my love for God in the spotlight. Now I can talk about Him to people on the other side of the world from my phone. I love the way God has answered that prayer and made that dream come true for me.
Maybe I’m a dreamer because I come from a family of dreamers. My dad’s family and my mom’s family both include people who have dreamed big dreams and seen them come true. My parents definitely inherited the “dream gene.” In completely different ways, they are both dreamers. They inspire me, and I hope they will inspire you too.
MY DAD: HE DOESN’T GIVE UP ON A DREAM
My dad is actually the one who took his dad’s dream to the next level. Papaw Phil had the vision to make Duck Commander a good duck-call company but not a huge international brand. What happened with my dad and my grandfather was kind of like what happens in a relay in a track meet: one person runs part of the race
with a baton and then hands it off to the next person, who keeps on running and takes the baton farther. Papaw Phil was the lead runner. He had the Duck Commander dream, and he started the race; then he handed the company off to my dad, and my dad has taken it farther than Papaw Phil ever thought it would go.
My dad dreamed of growing Duck Commander by getting Papaw Phil’s duck calls into more and bigger stores than they were in when he first became CEO of the company. With a lot of effort, he did. You can now find Duck Commander products in places like Bass Pro Shops and Walmart. That’s because of my dad. This was not Papaw Phil’s dream, but he never tried to talk my dad out of pursuing his dream. Even though he started Duck Commander and it was his dream for many years, once he turned the company over to my dad, he never stood in my dad’s way, and he never discouraged him from doing something he thought would be good.
My dad is also the one who had the vision for
. Even though Papaw Phil was part of the
television show on Outdoor Channel, a show for serious hunters, he didn’t think people would be interested in a whole show about our family. He didn’t think we were all that interesting and didn’t realize that our lives really are different from most. But when someone in the entertainment industry mentioned the concept of
to my dad, he could see it immediately. He knew it was a great idea. He thought it was worth doing, even though he had to work really hard and faced a lot of obstacles trying to make all the arrangements for it. At one point, it was the number one show ever to be on cable television.
I think it’s clear that my dad is a visionary, but most people do not have any clue that he is also incredibly hardworking and that he will persevere through any kind of problem. He probably got his
persistence from Mamaw Kay and Papaw Phil, because from the time he was really young, he saw Mamaw Kay persevere through rough times just to keep her family fed and to keep the lights on. Later, he saw Papaw Phil stay the course with his duck calls, even when he and Mamaw Kay did not have much money. In those days, Papaw Phil had to travel from one sporting goods store to another in small towns to try to get people to buy his products.
When my dad gets an idea or a project in his mind, he does
let it go. He is fully committed to it and works on it until it works. He does not get intimidated if it looks like it might not happen; he just digs in deeper and keeps going for it. When he runs into obstacles, he finds a way to go over them, under them, around them, or through them. When he thinks something is a yes, he refuses to take no for an answer. He might have to work extra hard, he might have to get creative or take a different approach, but
he makes things happen
. He does not stop until they do.
I have learned from my dad that we cannot just have a great idea or a big dream and then drop it when we have a hard time getting it done. We have to believe in it like crazy. If we go after it one way and that does not work, then we have to pursue it another way.
Whatever your dream is, decide right now that you will not be denied. Don’t let haters talk you out of it, and don’t let a bad attitude make you give up on it. When someone or something starts telling you no, stand up and shout, “Yes!” If you want your dream to come true, be committed to it, be determined to make it a reality, and don’t stop going after it until you see it come true.
MY MOM: SHE GAVE GOD HER DREAM
When my mom was little, she had the same dream a lot of young girls have. She grew up in a happy, godly family, and she dreamed of having that same kind of family of her own someday. When she married my dad, that dream took a big step toward coming true. When my older brother, John Luke, was born, it took another step, and then it took another one when I came along about two years later.
Although my mom was really happy with our family of four, she also wanted more children. She had always dreamed of having three biological children and adopting another. But when she and my dad decided to add to our family, she did not get pregnant as quickly as she had in the past, so that totally stood in the way of her dream. She did not fall apart or sink into depression over her disappointment; she just prayed a lot and decided to simply wait to see if God would bless her with another baby. She gave God her dream, and she did not get nervous and try to take it back when nothing happened. There was no drama over what she might have felt was the denial of her dream. She just left it with Him.
At that time, we knew a lady in West Monroe who worked with an adoption agency. My mom casually mentioned to her one day that we might be interested in adopting a baby if one needed a home. She told the lady to let us know if something came to her attention, but not to spend a lot of time and energy searching for a baby for us. My mom never tried to force this dream, she just trusted God to unfold it. Mom also knew that adoption could be a very long, complicated process. She had heard all kinds of stories about people who had to wait years for a baby, people who got caught in so much paperwork they could hardly wade through it, and even people who never were able to adopt for one reason or another.
So she was very surprised and happy when the lady called her and said her agency had a five-week-old baby boy who needed a family. That baby is now my younger brother, Will. The process of adopting him was amazingly smooth, and I think part of that was my mom’s faith and lack of worry. We all thank God for Will, and he has been a blessing to our family ever since.