Sunday, July 27, 2008

American Generalship: Character is everything

I read this as part of Air War College, one of the Air Force's military education programs. It's an easy read, although lengthy, because the author had such personal access to some of the greatest American generals: George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, and down to the '90s with Colin Powell and Schwarzkopf. In fact, in over 35 years he has interviewed more than a thousand officers of flag rank, over 100 of those being 4-star generals.

This book is about effective leadership and leader development, but the reason I'm blogging about it here, is because it has value for more than just military leadership. I want my children, and especially my sons, to have rock-solid character, but that can be difficult to define. That's where I found this description of Gen Marshall helpful and can use it as a prayer for my children as they mature:

"his unshakable integrity; his consistent courtesy and gentlemanliness of conduct; his ironclad sense of duty; his imperturbability--the imperturbability of a good conscience--in the face of harassment, pressures, and criticisms; his deliberateness and conscientiousness of decision; his serene readiness--once a decision has been made--to abide by its consequences, whatever they might be; his lack of petty vanity or ambition; his indifference to the whims and moods of public opinion, particularly as manifested in the mass media; and his impeccable fairness and avoidance of favoritism in the treatment of subordinates."

This is certainly an illustration of good character and I pray that my household will be known for it.

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