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Phil Robertson. Father. Teacher. Theologian. Commander.

If you have never heard of Phil Robertson or the Robertson boys, well, you must be living under a rock.  The Robertson family has taken American TV by storm, along with it the hearts of almost every person. Along with Phil, his wife Kay and their boys, the reality TV show Duck Dynasty has been a gathering place for the whole family. In other words, it's been a breath of fresh air.

Phil Robertson was born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana, a small town near Shreveport. With seven children in his family, money was scarce and very early on, hunting became an important part of his life.

As a high-school athlete, Phil was All-State in football, baseball, and track which afforded him the opportunity to attend Louisiana Tech University on a football scholarship. There he played first string quarterback ahead of Terry Bradshaw. Phil's been quoted as saying "Terry went for the bucks, and I chased after the ducks." After receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and a Master's in Education, he spent several years teaching. While his students claim he was an excellent teacher, spending time in a classroom brought Phil to the conclusion that his time and talents would be better spent in the woods.

This year, Phil wrote a book (Happy, Happy, Happy) that shares about his journey, his faith and his family. I recently sat down with Phil to talk about those three things.

John:    Phil, I'm wondering if maybe you can break down for us how you felt your sense of calling. I know in your life football is certainly part of your past. You have either served as a pastor, or certainly you have preached many times in your life, and yet you are also an avid hunter as well, and you have made a lifetime career out of that. How does one who is pursuing Christ identify a great calling?

Phil:    Well, I think old Thomas Jefferson said it best, "We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal, and they've been endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty..." and that third thing there really caught my attention way back, "...the pursuit of happiness.” So, we have a god-given right to pursue happiness.

In my case, you have to remember, John, it did my heart more good to get about 35 or 40 mallard ducks coming down through the trees in front of me, than it did to throw a touchdown pass. When I was playing ball over at Louisiana Tech, I said, "Bradshaw, you're a second-stringer and I'm ahead of you. I could play my last year and that would keep you back a year." I said, "What I'm gonna do is I'm going to start chasing ducks full-time when I leave Louisiana Tech here," and I said, "You can step up and go on to the NFL and let the good times roll." I said, "I'll be thinking about you down in the woods while them big bruisers are stomping you in the dirt, my man."  He laughed and I laughed.

Amazingly, 44 years later I saw him the other day a couple of months ago, and he was … we met up, you know, after that little speech I gave him.  He said, "Robertson, you've done pretty good chasing ducks, man, you know, you have a television show." I said, "Well, you've done pretty good yourself, my man." We reminisced a little bit, you know. The bottom line is both of us ended up happy, happy, happy there.

John:    Phil, do you appreciate preaching? Is that something that you enjoy doing?

Phil:    Well, you have to remember I'm not ordained, like a bona fide, certified, preacher. I'm just a guy that builds duck calls. I do love God and I love my neighbor. I was converted at 28 years old, and before that I had never heard the gospel of Jesus, that God became flesh 2,013 years and died on a cross for my sins, was buried and raised from the dead.

So I zoned in on all my rotten, filthy ways, all my sins being removed, and on top of that being raised from the dead. I looked at that and said, “You know what? I never had anything that I've ever studied or looked at that gave me the opportunity to have all my sins removed and forgotten and be guaranteed my dead body could be energized and raised from the dead.” It got my attention! I basically just went forth from there, from the time I was converted. Since I didn't know that until I was 28, I just tried to make sure that the people I come in contact with at least hear that story. I just go forth across America, amazingly even before the television show. Now, the audience is just far bigger.

I've been going around all across America. They invite me to come, so I get on a jet and I go. How they all started inviting me to come is kind of beyond me, but I just started going across the country and still am. Now, all my sons do the same thing. We're just trying to infuse a little good into our culture, you know. We just think we're better off because of loving God and loving our neighbor, for crying out loud. We think the country needs it. We love them; that's why we do it. That basically is the story, and that is what the book is about. Just a family structure. I am the head of the family structure, Miss Kay and I, you know, grandma, grandpa, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. We eat together, pray together, hunt together, and that is just one little glimpse of one American family, my man.

John:    You touched on your new book, titled Happy, Happy, Happy. Would you share a bit about that?

Phil:    Basically, happy, happy, happy just describes the ultimate, rarest of commodities: peace of mind. That's what I meant by that phrase. I didn't know the little saying was going viral, John. You know what I'm saying?

John:    Yes. I do know what you're saying.

Phil:    You never know, man.

John:    Basically, when you talk about the concept of the book, is that primarily looking at the family structure and how you guys have done things in your family?

Phil:    Yeah. That, plus, you know, it's a family structure and a worldview. We just think society, our culture and our world would be better off if we just loved God and loved our neighbor and did what was right. You know, our founding fathers… you know, if you read, I have researched them carefully, and I'm on the same page as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson. They all were godly men.  Someone told me one time, "Yeah, but they made mistakes." I said, "So have we.  We've all made mistakes." I said, "But they founded the greatest nation on earth and we didn't, and that's the difference right there."

John:    Yes. When you look at the church here in the west, when you look at the Christian culture, what is your thought? Are we okay? Are we doing good? Are we loving our families well enough? Are men standing up and leading their families well?

Phil:    I think we need some help in that area. I think, my view is, we sort of got zoned in into going to church. That phrase, "going to church," is not even in the Bible. So you say, "I wonder why that wouldn't be in the Bible," because everyone you talk to, they say, well, “we're going to church, yeah, we're going to church, we're going to church.”

What's happened is we were so busy “going to church,” as we call it, the American model is you report in Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. You can be there every time the door is open, but, really, when you get to looking at 168 hours in a week, if you're in a spiritual setting only four or five of them—Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night—what's happened in my opinion, is we got so busy attending that our culture started disintegrating around us. And our family structures started being torn apart. We didn't infuse Christianity as much as we should have into our culture around us. The people we meet, where we work, where we play.

My idea is, when I was converted, I just go forth, and I reach out to my neighbor, and it's far more than just going to a church building two or three times a week.  Do you see what I'm saying?

John:    Yes.

Phil:    We need to be more light for our culture, more salt, more leavening, though, in whatever vocation you happen to be. I'm a duck horn builder, but I made sure that all the people that I came in contact with I did in a nice way. I didn't beat them over the head with it, but I just want to tell them the good news about Jesus. That went … man, did that ever get … now the audiences, John, are like, you know, tens and tens of thousands at a sitting. So it went way past anything I could have ever asked or imagined. It just seemed like God just kept … the doors just kept getting ... the crowds kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

What is amazing to me is that these large crowds now that we go to all started from just a little TV show with a prayer at the end of the show. You wouldn't think that would have that much impact on our culture but, man, there's probably 30 or 40 million every week that watch that. I'm having to put up a gate down here because there's hundreds of vehicles pulling up in my yard.  I was dumb enough, I've never turned on a computer in my life. I do have a master's degree from Louisiana Tech in education, but I've never turned on a computer here in my 67 years, and I don't own a cell phone.

Someone says, "Well, Robertson, you're all over the Internet, you're all over the computer."  I said, "Well, how did I get there?" They said, "That is a good question, but somebody's putting you on there." The bottom line is, it just went beyond anything I could ask. I've never seen anything like it, I tell you that. I'm not quite sure what it is except maybe the Almighty is working in it.

John:    Phil, do you think your life, or your wife's life, or even your family's life has changed since the start of the show?

Phil:    Well, you have to remember, with us, simplicity is sort of the key. In other words, Miss Kay and I, we raised our boys to love God, love their neighbor. They saw us interact with so many people who had marriage problems and drug problems and alcohol problems that we'd invite them in, and Miss Kay would feed them and I'd tell them the good news.

Well, my sons were standing around or sitting around listening to all that. The impact that we had on them, and we all gathered up as a family and thanked God for our food, we just kept life simple. Now that the fame has come, and the money... well, you got to remember, the way we operate, with the removal of sin from our lives, and on top of that being raised from the dead, trust me, my man, and this is one family group that believes that takes precedent over any kind of fame or money. Because money and fame can't raise you from the dead, my man. Only the Almighty can do that.

John:    Amen.

Phil:    You just keep the first thing, the important things the important things. Do you see what I'm saying?

John:    Absolutely. Ten years from now, what do you want this whole thing to be? Where do you see yourself? Where do you see your family from now?

Phil:    Well, at the end of the day, all you have when it's all over is your name and what you stood for. I'm kind of like old Patrick Henry. He said, "The United States was not founded on religions but by Christians." He said, "The United States of America was founded on the gospel of Jesus." I'm just carrying the good news forth. At the end of the day, that's about the only legacy I would care about, that they say, you know… someone asked, I think it was Daniel Webster, "What's the greatest thought that you've ever had in your mind?" He said, "My accountability to God." That's basically where I am.

John:    Phil, besides the founding fathers of our country, what other influencers do you have? Are you a book reader?

Phil:    Only the Bible. Very seldom do I read books or commentaries.  I just stick with the Bible itself, and I keep it within arm's reach. I have a set of encyclopedias and I have a dictionary from old Noah Webster, the father of public education. He's the one that came up with the dictionary, and it's still his heir, it's still here to this day. I have encyclopedias, a good dictionary, and my Bible within arm's length of myself. I always tell people, I said, "I'm just short-circuiting the computer world."

John:    I love it. I love it. Would you share with me a little bit about what God has been bringing you through, maybe in the last week or month or so?

Phil:    Oh, my goodness, what are you talking about? If someone had told me that at some point riches would come, fame would come, and the opportunity to go across the United States of America and proclaim the good news, I would have said, literally I would have said, "Impossible." So, man, look, I just look back at it.  All I can tell you is the audiences are getting bigger and bigger. This weekend I'll be at David Lipscomb University, and there will be about … I have to give three speeches because the building wouldn't hold but 4,500 at the time. They got three sellouts.

First, they said do one. Then they called and said, "Mr. Robertson, we filled the building up again, can you do two?" I said, "Yeah." Then they called back and said, "How about three?" I said, "I'll do it." Basically, the opportunity is there. To answer your question, with all these things, we just are sort of like men with a mission.

The good news is Alan, my oldest boy, goes out and does the same thing, and Jason does the same thing. By the way, Jase and Al are great speakers. Old Willie, and even old Jep, and as shocking as it sounds, even Si. Most people don't realize Si, as nutty as he is, Si is a very godly man. I mean, he's one of the godliest people I know. I mean, that guy is straight as an arrow, but it's beyond my pay grade to understand why so many women want to marry Silas Roberston. I said, "What are y'all thinking?" I said, "It's scary, Si, I tell you." He said, "Well, boys, you know, I've always blown a little smoke," he said, "but I never had some fool come along and say he'd pay me money to do it." He said, "They want some smoke, I'll blow it for them." Si is a very godly man. Most people don't realize that, and he is happily married up there on the side of the road.  It's been a hoot just kind of watching my brother, you know, and all my kids.  We've had a big time with it.

It's just a good format for a family group, a functional family, which I think the United States needed to see.

John:    Absolutely.

Phil:    Face it boys, it's been a while since America saw actually a functional family who just loves God or their neighbor and hunts ducks. I mean, give me a break. I just don't see the downside of it. Evidently, there are at least 30 or 40 million who feel the same way I do, so there is still hope for America, boys. We're just trying to infuse a little good into our culture.

John:    Amen. Phil, how can we be praying for you and your family?

Phil:    Pray that the Almighty will continue to protect us, because you remember the Bible says that the gospel has divine power that demolishes strongholds. Looking at the world all around us and all the murder, the mayhem, and the mischief and all the immorality and all that, just remember this particular little family group literally is going into the teeth of the tiger. I would pray, if I were you, I'd pray for the Robertson clan as they go forth for divine protection and strength and boldness as we go forth. That's what I would pray. I would appreciate it, too, my man.

John:    Absolutely.

It isn't often a person can live a dream, but Phil Robertson, aka The Duck Commander, has proven it is possible with vision, hard work, helping hands, and an unshakable faith in the Almighty. If you ever wind up at the end of Mouth of Cypress Road, sitting face to face with Phil Robertson, you will see that his enthusiasm and passion for duck hunting and the Lord is no act- it is truly who he is.

26 thoughts on “Phil Robertson. Father. Teacher. Theologian. Commander.”

  • Don Hatcher

    Amen, Phil!

  • Kim Biddle

    Thank you Phil for the godly values that you and your family portrait. We need so much more of that in this country. My 9-year old granddaughter loves to watch you all and she understands the godly foundation behind your family. We've brought her up to live The Lord and your show and family just helps to fortify that. We'll be praying for the Robertson family. God bless ya'll!

  • Kelley Nieuwland
    Kelley Nieuwland October 21, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I am right there with you brother. May God shine His Word and truth through all you say in word and deed. May He protect your family from evil and guide your steps as you faithfully follow Him. And my His blessings shine on your life as you glorify Him through this path He has set you and your family on.

  • shawn hosack

    I love watching you and your family nice clean family show to watch all the time. god bless you and your family. i hope you all will be on a long time to come.

  • Michael Whitt

    Thank you for the simplicity of pointing out what is important in life. May the Good Lord Bless you.



  • Ruby Mink

    I thank God for people like Phil that isn't afraid to talk about God and tell us what he believes. It looks like we need more people like Phil to share the gospel and to tell it like it is. God is the only answer for America they need to get back to God or we are going to be like Russia, China and others that don't believe in God. Time is running out and we all need to cry out to God to get people to wake up. Satan is doing a good job getting people to leave God out of their lives. People need God more now than ever.

  • Becca Grimes

    Can't get enough of the down home wackiness of the family but most of all the love of God shining through it all.

  • ana rubio

    To God be the Glory!!!!

  • Lisa Doyle

    God grant the Robertson family you divine protection. Continue to open the hearts and minds of the masses they are reaching out to!


  • Tyrone Burrell

    So very refreshing and encouraging. Praise God for His life in ya'll!

  • Terry Firle

    If everyone had your enthusiam for God & Country this world would be a better place...May God continue to bless you and your family as you go about sharing His Word..

  • Debra Blanarik

    I was born and raised in the south. I married a Yankie and current,y live in Pennsylvania. It does my heart good to see a Godly family with success and humility because of their acceptance of a loving God and Savior Jesus Christ. Phil asking for prayers for his family is a sincer and needed request. The next generations wll be under attack from satan but they have overcome with the Blood of the Lamb and their testimony. Praying the next generation will leave a legacy for God as well!

  • Joyce Buchta

    I really appreciate this article, and am sad that the show is ending? Will there be any chance of it continuing? We loved to sit and watch something that has some Moral Value as well as Christian Belief's. Thank you for the show, we were real fans,
    Joyce & Al Buchta

  • Alana Cunningham
    Alana Cunningham October 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Phil, my family and I love your show. More importantly, we love what you and your family stand for. Our country has come so far away from its roots; we need more people like you who are willing to witness. Yours lives are, indeed, a testimony to the greatness of our awesome God.

    May God continue to bless you and your family.

    Peace be with you.

  • Louginia Jones

    Mr. Robertson, your show has touched my family. Since we began watching it together, we have begun to pray together before the evening meal. I have heard my 29 year old son, who was pretty much an agnostic, pray for the first time ever, praying thanksgiving and for protection, etc. My husband for the first time ever is ready to pray at suppertime each evening. I believe you have set the standard that real men pray in my household and I hope across the country. I will pray for your family as you go forth.

  • Connie Stephens

    I am an Alabama preacher, pastors wife. We love and appreciate how you have brought God and family to the forefront of America.
    My husband loves to demonstrate and he has loved see your TV programs. We have laughed and praised God for your demonstration
    to show America what they need.
    Wishing you God's Blessing
    Connie and AD

  • Barbara Hodge

    Thank you and your family for all the happiness you give me when I watch your program. I am a born again child of God I wish there would be more families like yours. May God's richest blessings go with you through the rest of your life.

  • Angelina Dunning
    Angelina Dunning October 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Phil, just found your Duck dynasty and love it. I especially love and appreciate how you close each episode at the dinner table thanking The Lord for your blessings, please continue to pray in Jesus's name. Thank you and May God continue to bless you and your family.

  • Peg Schalow

    Love your show & your family's love of God. Hope it spreads. We need more families like your unafraid to show their faith and out there spreading the good news around the country. God has given you an awesome platform in your TV show, that you can use humour and family stories to show us all God's love & family values. The wedding episode was beautiful. I loved when Si found your initials on the tree, especially after all the weird places he took you before that. The ceremony was gorgeous! Keep up the good work, God bless you all!

  • Barbara Mallick
    Barbara Mallick October 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    My son in law started me watching Duck Dynasty and I have been amazed at the family's willingness to pray at the end of each show. I also appreciate the humor, the love and most of all the discipline and respect that is expected from each person. Thanks Phil for being a Godly leader.

  • diane ferguson west
    diane ferguson west October 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Hey Phil and Kay,
    It is so much fun to watch two that I went to high school with and Phil and Si that grew up next door to my grandmother. You have truly blessed the viewers with your devotion to your family and your love of God. Mother who is 96 enjoys watching it as well.
    May God continue to bless you and your family.
    Diane Ferguson West ( Glenda's sister)

  • Karen Pappas

    I've enjoyed reading the interview & commentaries & look forward to seeing Phil, Si & others at their two shows in Milwaukee WI November 14th. I volunteer usher at The Riverside Theatre & it has afforded me the opportunity to see a lot of unique shows.
    May God continue to bless your efforts spreading the good news of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ & love of family. Safe travels. Godspeed!

  • Lisa Kathan

    Thanks Phil for being the Godly man that you are. My brother-in-law got us hooked on Duck Dynasty. Can't thank him enough. Our family will continue to pray for your family. We stand behind your family and the values you hold dear. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  • Geprge & Diane Moyer
    Geprge & Diane Moyer March 31, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    love the Robertson Family and the way they proclaim Jesus.
    we love to watch the TV shows. The story of Mia and her surgery was heartwarming and wonderful.
    keep up the "good news"
    may God continue to hold your family safe.

  • Robert

    Thank you Mr. Robertson most of all for being the priest in your home and modelling that. The show has actually brought me hope, and courage, and is the one show other than sports that I can watch comfortably with my elderly parents whom I live with. I saw Jase in Lynchburg and he was just like on the show, only more fired up. Your show has gotten me more interested in hunting especially deer, for food. And my mom has read all the books and we both have the devotional. DD and your family has been a blessing in so many ways.....I can't wait to see what new doors open for you all and for other godly men and women across America. May we all catch a vision for what God wants to do with our own lives, and sell out to HIM. God bless you sir.

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