The Courage of Washington
With leadership comes great responsibility. One might believe the calling to greatness automates the correct responses and actions required from that person. However, just as one chooses to love, one must choose to yield body and soul in order to yield the destiny of the future. Often, when society faces great opposition, man chooses to act upon his God given convictions as he relates them to the hurts of people. One such man was George Washington. Preparing for greatness every step of the way, Washington developed God graced courage and humility through every crisis that he faced as he lead the colonial people to freedom and stature among the nations of the world.
It is evident that character mattered to Washington even at a young age. Stories of him cutting down a cherry tree and being unable to lie about it show that he revered authorities in his life. His Anglican tutor and mother instilled morality and spirituality within him. Also, with his father passing at age eleven, Washington probably felt a responsibility to adhere to the truth he was given and to follow along the path that was placed before him. He learned the importance of worship and the fear of God that are clearly seen in his prayers and actions before his troops. Many cases of Divine protection over Washington’s life caused him to conclude that he was to be spared for an important purpose. When he was still fifteen Washington wrote 110 “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” Rule ten shows the value that he places on character: “Labor to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire called Conscience.” (xx) Washington held his convictions throughout his life in public and private. At Washington’s funeral, Henry Lee spoke of Washington’s character:
First in war-first in peace-and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble endearing scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding, his example was edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting. (xv)
True courage, noble and authentic, is not fanatical, but of true character. Courage is not fearlessness, but willingness to act out of conviction rather than feeling. Washington did not just display courage in times of excitement or fanatical rush, but during times of quiet rest and personal thought. When the battle was not raging and his troops were starving and lacking basic supplies, Washington chose to keep pressing on. When he lost battles from personal mistake or other circumstances, he took it in humility, and in true courage, he chose to keep going towards success.
True humility is accepting your mistakes and moving on to attain the goal. Washington lost many battles and despite scrutiny from others decided to keep working in courage. With each failure came a stronger burden for his troops who felt the agony of war. It also took courage from Washington to act in humility. It took courage, knowing the scrutiny he would receive, to decline responses to his critics. He knew how to handle himself like a gentleman in the midst of controversies. Washington had the courage and humility to trust in Divine Providence despite the earthly situations and odds that he faced.
Washington’s courage and humility lead the colonies to victory over the British. Now out from British control, the colonies had the task of sustaining and improving their new government in order to sustain and prosper their newfound freedoms. Washington saw the weaknesses and disunity within the government that would not be suitable in uniting and strengthening the new union. Just as Washington had devised a plan to form a military from almost nothing, he would now assist in developing a functioning government body. Despite having just won their freedom, the Union would now have to keep unity among the people...
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