Before he died, our father, Mr. Carl McNair passed on a set of reflections to us that carried great meaning to him. The title of the piece was “Anyway”. It was excerpted from a small book titled “The Paradoxical Commandments”, written by Ken Keith. Our podcast today focuses on these reflections and how they apply to us personally, and as leaders in our congregations.

Here’s the story of “The Paradoxical Commandments”…
The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent Keith in 1968, when he was 19, a sophomore at Harvard College. They were part of The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council, his first booklet for high school student leaders. Here is how it all came about….

As a senior at Roosevelt High School in Honolulu, Kent was heavily involved in student government. He was student body president and also president of the Honolulu High School Association. He was excited about the challenges of leadership and good leadership techniques.

Because Hawaii did not have a student council leadership workshop to train student council leaders, Kent founded the Hawaii Student Leadership Institute, which held its first session in the summer of 1966. This was the first leadership workshop for high school student leaders that was founded and run entirely by high school students.

Kent went on to attend Harvard. During his four years as an undergraduate there, he gave more than 150 speeches at high schools, student leadership workshops, and state student council conventions in eight states. These were the turbulent sixties, when student activists were seizing buildings, throwing rocks at police, and shouting down opponents. Kent provided an alternative voice. In his public speaking, Kent encouraged students to care about others, and to work through the system to achieve change. One thing he learned was students didn’t know how to work through the system to bring about change. Some of them also tended to give up quickly when they faced difficulties or failures. They needed deeper, longer-lasting reasons to keep trying.”


Brother to Brother is a podcast focusing on leadership skills and issues that leaders face in serving within the church, hosted by Rod McNair and Jonathan McNair.