Connecting the dots…from iPhones to Duck Calls

NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw played 2nd string quarterback to Phil Robertson in college.

The following is my speech for the Staley High School 2013 National Honor Society Induction Ceremony.

Ladies and gentleman of the Staley High School National Honor Society, you are here this evening because you have proven yourself to be a person of excellent character and high academic standards.

Tonight I challenge you to continue along this path of excellence but with one caveat.


If asked who is considered to be one of the most creative minds of our time, there is one name in particular on which we can agree.

The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Industries and inventor once said:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

In other words, they figured how to connect the dots.

Another creative mind I find of personal interest belongs to a gentleman who does not care to own an iPhone or any cellphone for that matter. He prefers a computer technology-free, if not rustic, existence.

Phil Robertson grew up one of seven children whose mother was often ill and whose father worked hard to keep food on the table. Phil and his three brothers honed their expert hunting skills while keeping the family fed.

Though Phil’s hunting would eventually gain him the worldwide reputation as the Duck Commander, it was his athletic prowess that would take him through high school as a member of the all-state teams for baseball, track and football. He attended Louisiana Tech University on a football scholarship, playing until his senior season, when he quit because he was tired of football interfering with hunting.

In his autobiography, teammate Terry Bradshaw, who played second string behind Phil, recalls how Phil would arrive to football practice with squirrel tails and duck feathers sticking out of his pockets.

Eventually, Terry Bradshaw would win four Super Bowl titles as well as a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

On the other hand, Phil Robertson turned down offers to play pro football.

After teaching for several years and, unfortunately, hitting more than a few personal bumps in the road, Robertson was finally able to, as Steve Jobs said, connect experiences he’d had and synthesize new thing or, connect the dots, by inventing the first in a series of duck calls, which are now sold in all fifty states as well as several countries around the world, making Phil Robertson a very wealthy man as well as a star on the most popular cable TV program, Duck Dynasty.

Yes, Steve Jobs, changed the world of technology by connecting the dots.

And, yes, in his own way, Phil Robertson changed the world of hunting by connecting the dots.

And, now, once more, let me encourage you to



Terry Bradshaw (far right) with Phil and wife Kay and, son, Willie.

Terry Bradshaw (far right) with Phil and wife Kay and, son, Willie.

Because you never know where those dots will lead you…

Despite the fact that Steve Jobs and Phil Robertson have very little in common, they are connected…

After all, this iPhone can call ducks—(I held up my iPhone and activated the duck ringtone.)

Thank you!


Tags: , , , ,

About barbarawmadden

I began teaching in 1981, but after a few years decided staying home with my children was what was best for my family. After almost 20 years raising four children, I returned to the classroom in 2005.

One response to “Connecting the dots…from iPhones to Duck Calls”

  1. barbarawmadden says :

    Reblogged this on that MADDENing teacher and commented:

    #IfIhadmyway, everybody would understand why my phone ringtone is quacking ducks!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: