Man Your Post: Learning to Lead Like St. Joseph

From the Preface…


Wiping his shoes as he shuffled through the door, he glanced in my direction. I could tell he was pondering something deeper than the lawn he had just mowed.  “I’ve been thinking,” he began.  

I smiled from the other side of the cluttered counter,  where I stood arranging the dirty dishes in the washer.  It’s rare that my husband initiates a conversation with I’ve  been thinking. Most interactions start as they end, one long  stream of consciousness, words trailing like a tortoise behind  the swift hare of his thoughts.  

With intense clarity and an irresistible gleam in his eye,  Duane continued, “I’ve been thinking about the state of our  nation—our world—and I can clearly see where we have  gone wrong. Men are not allowed to be men. If you watch  the news or read past the headlines, it’s so clear. Men have  forsaken virtue and forgotten how to lead. Where did the  strong men go?

Those leaders who were willing to lay down  their lives for the greater good? Look at the mess. My mess,  the mess of all the men who have failed to do what is right.  Men who for decades failed to see their critical role as protector and provider. Am I wrong? Or have we abandoned  our post?” 

I smiled again. His conviction was compelling. This man,  who had himself grown up without a father, had eyes to see  it. He watched his family struggle with the heartbreaking  consequences of abandonment. With the grace of conversion, he recognized the familiar void.  

Duane is a good man. He works hours into the night on  projects that he did not finish at the office so that he could  have dinner with his family. He is a man who wakes up with  our hungry baby in the wee hours of the morning. He is  a man who sacrificed his promising and cherished military  career so our expanding family could move back home. He  is a man committed to keeping his primary post.  

“This is where we need to exert our efforts,” he continued. 

“The real change needs to start here. Men must stand up and  do the right thing. There are faithful brothers, husbands, and  fathers out there. We need a voice. Otherwise, our silence is  like the abdication of Adam in the garden. We must battle  against apathy and fear; we must battle for real manhood.  The world needs examples of faithfulness. Someone needs  to offer it.”  

“You received all this while mowing the lawn?” I teased,  reaching for his hand and affirming his conviction. “Sounds  like you have a book to write. You’re being called to encourage other men to keep their sacred post.”  

This time he smiled, and with a nudge, he reminded me  that I am the writer in the family.  

“We can write it together,” I countered. “I owe you for all  that help with statistics in college.”  

So here we are. Writing a book . . . together . . . and with other brothers, in Christ, who collectively share this compelling conviction.  


I am not a perfect man, father, or husband. I am nowhere  close. I struggle every day. With all the joys that come from  a large family, there are daily opportunities for stress. Financial strain, exhaustion, endless chores; did I mention the financial burden?  

Over the years, there have been more sleepless nights than  I wish to count. I worried about making ends meet or even  how to get through another month. Those anxieties easily  spilled over to interactions with Carrie and our kids. I constantly felt like I was falling short in my role as husband,  father, provider, and protector.  

After losing my job, our savings, and nearly our home,  I had to face these anxieties head on. What I learned was  that in the same way God provided for Joseph in his times  of uncertainty, he also provided for me. It took growing in  obedience, courage, faithfulness, and patience on my part.  When things became difficult, I had to cling to God’s grace  and stand and fight for my family.

Slowly, this daily obedience bore fruit. After months of feeling like a failure, I began  to experience a greater freedom in my vocation. God knew  where he was leading us. His only condition was that I rely  on him and not abandon my post in the process. Over time,  I felt strengthened in my faith, in our marriage, and in our  family, which gave me the courage to man my post. Don’t  get me wrong, occasionally I still lose sleep, but those nights  are a lot less frequent. 

Without a father to look up to, I have always been drawn  to St. Joseph. I have a deep affinity towards him. In him,  I see a tremendously strong and resolute man that risked  everything for Mary and Jesus. Talk about being called into  a stressful situation. Your future bride is pregnant with the  Son of God, and you are called (in a dream) to take care of  them.

I don’t know about you, but I would not be sleeping soundly enough to dream with the stress and burden  that he carried. Yet, St. Joseph does not run, he does not  make excuses, he does not look for the easy way out. Instead,  he faces it head on. He becomes the earthly father and the  example to all men for how we should bear our responsibilities and risk everything for those in our care. 

However, when it comes to the man who risked every thing to be a father to the Son of God, not much is recorded  about him. Joseph was presumably with Jesus almost all the  time. He would have had a profound impact on our Savior.  I can imagine both of them in Joseph’s workshop together,  working side by side, as I do with my own children. There is  something sacred about this time together. Jesus would have  learned so much about being a man from his earthly father. 

Despite St. Joseph’s profound influence, we Catholics are  still a little cloudy on where he fits into our faith. While  recently putting our youngest son, William Joseph, to bed,  he humorously reinforced this reality. His nightly routine  that week was to list all those who love him. After listing our  family, he rounded out the long list with Jesus and Mary. We  gently reminded him not to forget his patron, St. Joseph, to  which he wondered aloud, “Who is that?” 

“Mary’s husband. The head of the Holy Family,” Carrie  explained, trying to jog his four-year-old memory.  “Oh, that guy,” Will replied with a drowsy sigh.  Oh, that guy.  

Like my son, most of us have heard about St. Joseph, but  we don’t really know him. Yes, we see him every Christmas  quietly kneeling in front of the plastic manger wearing his  humble tunic, sitting across from his well-composed wife,  who does not look at all like she just gave birth. Beyond that,  we struggle to explain him. Oh, St. Joseph, he is the guy who  was Mary’s husband even though she is a virgin. I mean, he is  Jesus’s father, but not his real father

Our limited understanding seems to fall terribly short.  Joseph is the patron saint of the Universal Church, the  patron saint of fathers, the patron of workers and of  families—to just name a few! As head of the Holy Family,  St. Joseph’s role is vital. His leadership protected our Mother  and guided our Savior. While it is understandable that we struggle to explain him, it is now time that we get to know  him. In a world in need of strong men, St. Joseph is the Man  who leads the way.

Moving Through This Book

For years, I have benefitted from the protection of St. Joseph. Every time I struggled with work, started a  new endeavor, or had a child, St. Joseph showed up offering extraordinary protection and timely intervention. His  enduring example of masculine virtue is outlined in the  Litany of St. Joseph, which is the backbone of this book.  Each merit offers a small glimpse into the virtue modeled by  this silent saint. Practices that offer ordinary men like you and me a roadmap to follow, leading us on an extraordinary  mission.  

To offer this roadmap, we have enlisted the help of Catholic leaders—faithful, strong men who have stories to tell  and wisdom to share as they have struggled through life’s  challenges and learned to adopt the virtues of St. Joseph.  

Each chapter begins with a quotation from St. John Paul  II that relates to the virtues inherent in St. Joseph’s life. Sharing an admiration and love for St. Joseph, St. John Paul II is  the virtuous patron of our family’s ministry: The John Paul  II Healing Center.

Following each quotation is an introductory overview of each particular virtue and a relatable  testimony by a man who has found encouragement in the  example of St. Joseph in his roles as a husband, father, son,  brother, priest, or protector. Included at the end of each chapter are questions for reflection, a Mobilizing the Mission challenge, and a prayer for living out that specific virtue. 

This book is not a resource; it is a mission, our mission.  Flanked with a new band of brothers, it is time to fulfill your calling and man your post

This article is taken from the Preface in Man Your Post by Duane & Carrie Daunt which is available from TAN Books



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