A Dynasty Built on Family and Faith

Duck Dynasty’s Korie Robertson might not be much of a cook, but she knows the recipe for keeping America’s favorite reality-TV family together.

By Korie Robertson, West Monroe, Louisiana

As appeared in

Even today, with business booming, our children know that when we say, “All right, kids, it’s family cleanup time” or “family wash-the-car time” or “family clean-out-the-garage time,” it’s nonnegotiable. You just do it because you are part of the family. The family that works together stays together.

3. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
The Robertsons tease each other all the time. It’s a sign of affection, but it does take some getting used to. One time I burned the dinner bread and felt terrible about it. Now everybody jokes that you know dinner is ready at our house when you hear me scraping the bread.

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Like I said, I’m no great cook, but Kay, who truly is, once fried the shrimp at Christmas a tad too long. They came out dark brown and rubbery. Every Christmas the guys ask her if she’s going to serve rubber shrimp again. Even Kay still laughs at that joke.

In the early days, Kay also made sure that the Duck Commander business was a fun place to work. If it was somebody’s birthday, she cooked the birthday boy or girl’s favorite meal for lunch. There were always a lot of laughs.

Duck Commander is still a fun place. We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.

4. There’s always room for one more.
I learned this from both of our families. Willie and I had two kids, John Luke and Sadie, when we decided to adopt a baby. I’d always been inspired by the verse that says true religion is to look after orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27).

We had a friend who was teaching a class for pregnant teenagers, some of whom were putting their babies up for adoption. We filled out the paperwork and the adoption agency called us. They showed us this picture of a baby boy and we fell in love like that! We named him Will.

Just a few weeks after the adoption I found out I was pregnant. Our Bella is 10 months younger than Will.

It was pretty crazy for a while. If the two of them were left alone for a moment, they’d squeeze toothpaste out of the tube and smear it all over the bathroom mirror or dump the cereal out of the boxes. I used to carry them both at once, one on each hip, just to keep them out of trouble.

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We weren’t quite finished, though. We welcomed Rebecca, an exchange student from Taiwan, into our home during her junior year of high school. She ended up staying with us and going to college here in the States. We consider ourselves her American mom and dad.

She has now been with us eight years. We also support an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. The Robertsons didn’t always have a lot, but they made a place at the table for someone who needed a good meal or a listening ear.

5. Put your best face on at home.
Kay has been a great example of this. She works really hard at her marriage to make it fun and to make Phil happy. She writes little notes for Phil even after all these years, and he does special little things for her too. It’s not give and take. It’s give and give.

Many people go to work and give their all to the outside world, but at home they’re negative or griping or just plain dull. They leave their best selves at the office. We try to make every day at our house like a homecoming. That way our kids know that home is where you should be the happiest.

6. Trust that the Lord will provide.
We are more successful than we ever dreamed. But if it all disappeared tomorrow we would be okay, because we would still have our faith in God. It’s what allows us to forgive each other, love each other and listen to each other.

Neither Phil nor Kay will let us forget how God kept Duck Commander afloat in those rough early days. Once a bank payment was due and Kay told Phil that they simply did not have the $800 they needed. “Let’s go and check the mailbox,” Phil suggested. “Maybe there will be a check in there.”

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Kay knew differently. No one owed them anything and they owed the bank $800. Reluctantly she walked with Phil to the mailbox. There they discovered an envelope postmarked Japan. It was an order for duck calls with a check for $800.