Anonymous Distributor

What do we really know about this founding father who led our country through the Revolutionary War?

The New York Times wrote: “By comparing textbooks used in the 1960s with those of today, researchers at Mount Vernon, Washington’s home in Virginia, have concluded that Washington now occupies just 10 percent of the space he had then.

A recent study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni [for Mount Vernon] found that just 42 percent could name Washington as the man who was called “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

Some of the business lessons that Washington espoused are still relevant today. He was the definition of a pragmatist. He was very practical and had a straightforward, matter-of-fact approach. He was always focused on reaching a goal.

Washington was not your typical politician. He believed in brevity. His second inaugural address was only 134 words.

He was incredibly smart and shrewd. As commander in chief of the American forces, Washington refused a regular salary and worked for expenses only. He came out thousands of dollars ahead. When offered the U.S. Presidency, he volunteered to work for expenses again — but this time, Congress insisted he have a fixed salary.

When he died, Washington provided in his will for the emancipation of his slaves upon the death of Martha, his wife. Washington was the only member of the Virginia dynasty to free all of his slaves.

Among his writings was this advice to his nephew, Bushrod Washington, Jan. 15, 1783: “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse, remembering always the estimation of the widow’s mite, that it is not everyone that asketh that deserveth charity; all, however, are worthy of the inquiry, or the deserving may suffer.”

And to General William Woodford, Washington wrote: “Be strict in your discipline; that is, to require nothing unreasonable of your officers and men, but see that whatever is required be punctually complied with. Reward and punish every man according to his merit, without partiality or prejudice; hear his complaints, if well founded, redress them; if otherwise, discourage them, in order to prevent frivolous ones. Discourage vice in every shape, and impress upon the mind of every man, from the first to the lowest, the importance of the cause, and what it is they are contending for.”

How fortunate we are to have founding fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.


The following story should inspire you for the times when you are out of duct tape and chewing gum.

Once upon a time, a young donkey asked his grandpa, “How do I grow up to be just like you?”

“Oh, that’s simple,” the elder donkey said. “All you have to do is remember to shake it off and step up.”

“What does that mean?” asked the youngster.

The grandfather replied, “Let me tell you a story. Once, when I was your age, I was out walking. I wasn’t paying attention and fell deep into an old, abandoned well. I started braying and braying. Finally, an old farmer came by and saw me. I was scared to death. But then he left. I stayed in that well all night.

“The next morning, he came back with a whole group of people, and they looked down at me. Then, the old farmer said, ‘The well is abandoned, and that donkey isn’t worth saving, so let’s get to work.’ And believe it or not, they started to shovel dirt into the well. I was going to be buried alive!

“After the first shovels of dirt came down on me, I realized something. Every time dirt landed on my back, I could shake it off and use it to step up a bit higher! They kept shoveling, and I kept shaking the dirt off and stepping up.

“‘Shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up,’ I kept repeating to myself for encouragement. And it wasn’t long before I stepped out of the well, exhausted but triumphant.”

So, no matter how difficult the situation, no matter how bad things get, no matter how much dirt gets dumped on you, just remember — shake it off and step up. You’ll be alright.


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