June 13, 2016

Lessons from Matt’s Favorite Guys

What do the most influential men in our lives all have in common? Here are 4 examples from my life of those influential leaders and the qualities they emulate.

Bart Summerhays- (Youth Leader) “To Believe In Myself!”

  • The Lesson- Bart taught me to believe in myself. He always found time to be with me and around me and reflected the best of who I was back on to me. He was a light, not a critic.
  • When it comes to things I wasn’t sure I can do like an LDS mission college, getting married and starting a family, Bart got it into my head that I could do anything. He taught be to say, “Oh yes I can!”
  • Stories- I don’t remember any lectures, just gentle guidance during golf games, putting tournaments, road trips and working with him as a courier.
  • He just kept telling me what my gifts and talents were and modeling for them what that can become, not just what they think they can do.
  • Eventually, because of his guidance, I knew I could “Go on a mission, go to college and get married and raise a family!”
  • The Lesson I Now Teach- “Reflecting a person’s best self is a better motivator, and over time, can make miracles.”


Martin Townsend- (Dad)- “Lighten Up Life With A Laugh!”

  • The Lesson- My dad taught me the power of making people laugh to heal, handle hard things and soften some of the tougher lessons of life.
  • Story- My dad is a seriously funny guy with a hilarious sense of humor. I remember watching him use his unique social skills and his sense of humor to take difficult situations and taking the edge or pressure off.
  • The Lesson I Now Teach- “The fastest way to someone’s heart is one laugh at a time.”


Michael J. Preece– (Father In Law)- “A Life Without Learning Is Lifeless!”  

  • The Lesson- “Learning is a Life Long Process”
  • My father-in-law is the smartest man I know. He’s a cardiologist, graduated number one in his classes and was one of the best doctors in Utah. He is also an avid learner and taught me the importance of constantly learning and sharing your learning.
  • Story- My father in law, while doing procedures in his office, would talk to his Spanish speaking nurse only in Spanish, and eventually over time he learned to speak Spanish pretty well. Now he’s an excellent cook, great tennis player, master woodsman, scholar, and author.
  • The Lesson I Teach- “Living, Loving and Leading are all made better when we’re learning.”


Ralph Smith- (Adopted Grandpa) “Love Is A Verb, Not a Feeling!”  

  • My Lesson- Ralph taught me that love was a verb, not a feeling. He taught me that the harder one works and serves another, the more you fall in love with them. There is no one you can’t love, if you’ll lose yourself for them.
  • Story- He worked for his wife and loved her even when she couldn’t love him back fully, and there’s the story about the prisoners that he oversaw at the prison and how he learned to seriously care for them because he put so much effort into helping them.
  • The Lesson I Now Teach- “If you want to stay in love, stay in service.”

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