Today’s post is the featured article from the February 2010 issue of The Front Porch Newsletter. If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.

john-newI think I was born a generation too late. Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand were two of my favorites. If my memory serves me well, each in their own way, had a vocal gift rarely seen. It was not only a rare gift, it was a raw gift. They didn’t have all the technology of today’s artists.

Sappy for sure, but one of my Streisand favorites was The Way We Were. It strikes every nerve of nostalgia. We seem to always view the past with a sense of fondness … often with a sense of longing. You know … the good old days! I have a simple theory on this … the past always looks great because we actually survived it. And anything you survive always looks simpler! Hence, so many people saying, “Things were simpler back then.”

We have interesting recall. And an amazing ability not to recall some things at all. Ask any investment advisor to show you all the economic downturns of the last 50 years and you might just be surprised. Your reaction may be the same as mine … wow, I don’t even remember that downturn, or that one.

Somehow, I think we will remember this one. Maybe!

Remembering these challenging economic times, won’t be nearly as important as remembering the lessons they have the opportunity to teach us.

Recently, I was in San Antonio and had the opportunity to visit the Alamo with my good friend Dave Sparkman. Dave likes to read all the narrative on every plaque and I was inspired by his example to really take it in. Our visit was a great lesson.

Actually, I am not sure I had “remembered the Alamo” … correctly.

I remember it now. I was reminded of how the courage of a few … when remembered … have the ability to change the course of history. The courage of the men at the Alamo was nothing short of amazing. Against all odds, they were willing to take the ultimate stand.

To them, the odds were not nearly as important as “the stand.”

They fell indeed. And their fall built the courage upon which others would firmly stand. While not easy, we live in incredibly interesting times. Especially if we are willing to learn … and live our lives with courage.

Anyone can lead in the “good times.” But by definition, it is in these times that courageous leaders are defined. We need the courage of the men at the Alamo. Not to fall, but to stand.

And we need to remember … to remember the lessons we need to learn from these interesting times. So who is taking notes? Because I know we will certainly forget.

When I began writing my first book, Silent Alarm, we had just experienced the tragedy of September 11th, the bankruptcy of United Airlines, the downfall of Enron, and the related implosion of Arthur Andersen. I knew our alarm was ringing … and I wondered if we would just hit the snooze and simply go back to sleep. Just close our eyes and drift back to “normal.” Get back to … the way we were!

Maybe we did. And so here we are.

Here we are at a time that calls for courage and real leadership. Not flashy leadership … but the kind of gutsy leadership the permeated the men of the Alamo and those who remembered them.

We also need some note-takers … so when we look back on these days, as the simpler “good old days,” we can remember the way we were and what we learned.

Like the Alamo … the course of a nation, of a company, of a community, of a family, just may depend upon it.

Just wondering? Have you been taking notes throughout these interesting times? I’d be curious about your thoughts on one lesson you think we should be learning from these times … they may very well make for some great discussion on the front porch! CLICK HERE to share.