Dwight Eisenhower is often regarded as one of the most respected generals and presidents in history.
But when he was 10 years old, he seemed to have a temper problem. Or at least he had a temper the night before Halloween, when his mother told him he was not allowed to go trick-or-treating. He was so angry that he went outside and started hitting a tree.
John Wukovits writes in “Eisenhower,” part of the “Great General Series” that his mother came and quoted Proverbs 16:32 to him: “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Eisenhower would later say that this incident and wisdom from his mother would impact him greatly. It seems that structured educational settings often tend to move us away from religious books such as the Bible as a source of wisdom, and in society today we tend to not appreciate much the education of a mother.
Who knows how the course of history could have been different if Eisenhower had not benefited from the wisdom of a mother who was willing to quote the Bible to him.
It’s also interesting to note that Eisenhower not only was one “who takes a city,” but one who in a way oversaw the seizing of almost an entire continent. He would later become the leader of the invasion of North Africa and later the leader of the invasion of France and Germany.
He probably would have never received those posts if he hadn’t learned how to manage his own spirit and temperament.
Some may point out that certain generals have not always been known to manage their own temperament well. In fact, renowned General George Patton had to publicly apologize for a famous incident in which he slapped a soldier in an evacuation hospital. It was Eisenhower who had to manage the situation.
Eisenhower believed in Patton’s ability to lead in World War II, yet he also had to deal with the public blowback to Patton’s actions. Eisenhower handled the situation well, carefully juggling the pragmatism of war with the idealism of public relations. Things probably would have been handled much worse if Eisenhower had the same hotheaded reputation as Patton.
Some may claim that the incident when Eisenhower was 10 years old had no impact on the ending of World War II. That may be true, but let’s remember that Eisenhower himself said that conversation with his mother greatly impacted him.
Regardless, those words of wisdom certainly benefited Eisenhower, and they indirectly benefited others along the way throughout his career.
As much as we may compartmentalize the Bible, the work of mothers, and work, it’s important to note they are inextricably linked. Parents will greatly impact the careers and future lives of their children, whether they realize it or not. The best way to be prepare your children for work and life is to pick up the Bible and to quote it for them.
If General Eisenhower and President Eisenhower could benefit from the Bible, so can you and your children.