Interview: Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, 'Fame Is Fleeting; What Matters Most Is Jesus Christ'
Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Robertson family whose Duck Commander business is the backdrop for A&E's hit program "Duck Dynasty" will release a new book on May 7 titled, Happy, Happy, Happy, in which he shares his faith in Jesus Christ, his knowledge about the founding fathers, and how he's grown Duck Commander into a multimillion dollar business.
The hour-long season finale of "Duck Dynasty" was the most-watched program on television Wednesday night, beating out American Idol with 9.6 million viewers, which is a record for A&E.
Robertson credits all of his family's success to their faith in Jesus Christ and their devotion to living a Christian lifestyle. He told CP on Thursday that his family has managed to stay humble, amid all of the fame, because they know that all blessings come from God; and in the end, everyone's going to the same place: a six-foot hole.
"Fame is rather fleeting, as you know, or should know," Robertson said. "Money can come and go, and fame comes and goes. Peace of mind and a relationship with God is far more important, so this is the precedent that we've set in our lives. The bottom line is, we all die, so Jesus is the answer. Many have told me through the years: 'I think I'll take my chances without Jesus.' And I always come back and say, 'so what chance is that?'"
Robertson wasn't always a follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, for the first 28 years of his life, he said he lived a "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle," and rejected his sister's efforts to bring him to the Lord, until he read a sign in the Atlanta airport that stopped him in his tracks.
"I'm walking through the airport in Atlanta, and there was a large sign on one of the terminal walls and the question on it said: 'Were you born between the years of 1945 and 1965?' And as I was walking through, I stopped and said, 'oh, well that would be me.' I read on and the sign said: 'Report to the Centers for Disease Control immediately, because you're in the highest risk group on planet earth for hepatitis C.' The point is that for the first 28 years, I was in that group of individuals," Robertson said.
"Fortunately, no debilitating disease fell upon me," said Robertson who attributes his walk with Jesus Christ for all of the success he's achieved in the last 38 years.
Robertson told CP that his book, Happy, Happy, Happy, is an extended version of the speeches he's been giving across the country for the past 25 years.
"Basically, the book is about my life story," he said. "I've been speaking all over the United States about duck calling, the founders of the country, and the Gospel. Once I started doing that, people started asking me: 'How can I get a copy of what I just heard, why don't you write a book?' The book is just about that: ducks, founding fathers, and my faith in God. And the rest of the story is about how it all turned out – went from rags to riches, as they say."
Robertson also attributes his wife, Miss Kay, for the success of Duck Commander, and for being a Christian example to their four sons who are married and raising families of their own.
"I told Miss Kay we need to make sure our children don't turn out like I turned out," he said. "So they were raised up around biblical instruction. That mixed with discipline – the discipline code, I call it. They just had a lifestyle of seeing their parents do good things. I think maybe me loving their mother and me loving my neighbors around me had a profound impact on them. And what came out of that was four sons who are all married to their original wives. And they're acting godly and I think Miss Kay and I had a hand in that."
"So basically, I would recommend that to all parents. You have to discipline your children, or they won't respect you, law enforcement or God, or anyone else. But I would say, overarching, I made sure they knew that we loved them, their mother and myself. … They were loved, they were given biblical instruction, they were seeing their dad and mom reach out to their neighbors around them, helping them, whether it be financial or marriage problems."
Robertson quoted 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and cited it as being one of the scriptures he likes to share with people. "So basically, I don't ever move too far past the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, because it's of first importance. And I make sure it's of first importance with anyone I'm talking to. It all comes down to that, really, when you get right down to it. So it's not complex. Jesus removed our sins and guarantees we can be raised from the dead. I'm still waiting on someone to enlighten me on what story beats that one."
Part of the Christian lifestyle is the Christian work ethic, and Robertson achieved his dream of getting his duck call on the market by setting goals, maintaining his focus, and holding fast to his unwavering faith in God.
"I worked hard," Robertson said about his job as a commercial fisherman, catching catfish and buffalo while he worked to get his small business off the ground. "The first year, my gross sales totaled $8,000 in the duck call business. The second year was like $13,000, and the third year was $22,000. Simply put, I set a goal, stayed the course, and trusted in the Almighty. I did what was right, and the result is for everyone to see now."
Speaking about his book, Robertson said: "All I would tell people is the first 28 years of my life I wasn't going anywhere very fast. The last 38 went beyond anything I could've asked for or imaged. So it was either luck – I was just lucky, as the atheists probably would say – or I was blessed by the Almighty. I'm leaning toward blessings came once I was converted."
"I would tell anybody who was listening, 'Hey this is my story, a lot of good came out of it.' The second half has been far better than the first half, I can tell you that."
Si Robertson and Miss Kay will also release new books this fall, along with a Duck Commander Devotional.