She gently stroked Tom, her cat – but her mood was anything but gentle. She was mad – the kind of anger every teen has when their parents just don’t understand how hard it is to be a teenager in this day and age.

Her anger was focused on her dad. He had just reminded her that she needed to do more to help out around the house since both her Mom and Dad had to work to make ends meet.

“Tom, Dad just doesn’t get it,” she began confiding in her ‘best friend.’ “Doesn’t he know how much homework I have. That, alone, limits my social life. I barely have time to text my friends and keep my Facebook and Instagram accounts current. And then there is Twitter. Nobody can be popular if they don’t stay current.”

Tom purred and moved closer so she could scratch his ears. “How can I possibly help with the dishes and fold laundry? He’s just trying to ruin my life. Next thing you know, he’ll want me to start cooking. I know he has been hinting.”

Tom looked at her and she just knew he was the only one who truly ‘got’ her. “I bet if he knew I liked Bobby he wouldn’t let me out of the house until I become an old maid. I just hate him!”

She picked Tom up and held him close – still feeling the softness of his fur as she petted his head. The longer she sat there in the silence, the more angry she became.

Then she heard her phone. A text – finally – something that will make her happy. She sets Tom on the floor and picks up her connection to the only people she feels she can care about since they don’t nag her about ridiculous responsibilities.

It was her best friend, Sally. She opened the text – excited for the first time all night.

“Cop shot during armed robbery. Your dad ok?”

She was amazed at how quickly all her anger disappeared. Now all she could do is reread those words over and over. Her hands were shaking when she dialed her Dad.

“Hey, Kiddo. Everything okay?”

She could feel her heart slowing down, “Yeah. I just needed to hear your voice.”

“That’s sweet but it’s kind of crazy out here right now. I will explain later. Give your mom my love. Love you, Kiddo.”

The phone went dead. As she laid the phone down, she whispered, “Love you, too.”


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Len Bernat
LEN is a leader groomed by 20 years of molding and shaping by some of the finest leaders in the United States Marine Corps. Their guidance helped Len realize his full potential as he moved from an enlisted Marine to becoming an Officer of Marines. Len became known for being the leader who could turn any lackluster organization into a strong, functional unit. Upon his retirement, Len worked in several positions before finally starting a second career in governmental procurement. His experience and leadership skills enabled him to be recognized as the 2011 Governmental Procurement Officer of the Year for the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia and opened doors for him to teach at many of the association’s conferences. Len was also called to the ministry and was ordained at Ashford Memorial Methodist Church in November of 1999. Today, Len is the Pastor of Maxeys Christian Church in Maxeys, Georgia. Len has been married to his wife, Hazel, for 36 years and they have three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Grab your copy of Len's new Book – Leadership Matters | Advice From A Career USMC Officer. Using his life experiences as examples, Len takes the eleven principles of leadership and the fourteen traits every leader should possess—which he learned during twenty years in the Marine Corps—and teaches the reader how he was molded and shaped by some of the best leaders the Corps had to offer.
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Larry Tyler

I love this Len. You are raising the bar high. Well done