Tuesday, February 16, 2021


       One of the incidents in Ike's youth that he later said had a lasting impact on him revolved around Halloween.  When he was in elementary school, hit two older brothers were given permission to go out and trick-or-treat.  Ike wanted desperately to go, but was denied permission by his parents.  In a spectacular display of what we would today call a "meltdown," Ike went into a rage—and essentially blacked out as he bloodied his fists by repeatedly hitting them against a tree.   His parents, rightly concerned, took measures.  His father probably gave Ike's backside a few strokes of a hickory stick, and he was sent to his room—the one he shared with the two brothers who were out on the town.

      As Ike lay in bed sobbing pitifully, his mother came upstairs and sat quietly for a few minutes, waiting for him to settle down.  When his tears had turned to occasional whimpers, Ida talked to him in a gentle but firm way.  Did he know that his behavior had hurt only himself?

      After a few quiet words she ended with a paraphrase from the Bible: "He who conquereth his soul is greater than he who taketh a city."

      As his mother bandaged his hands, she continued to talk to her son, again calmly urging him to understand that in his anger he had hurt only himself; that the object of his anger (in this case his brothers) probably didn't even know of his resentment.

      Eisenhower later wrote that the conversation was "one of the most valuable moments of my life."

-Susan Eisenhower, How Ike Led:  The Principles Behind Eisenhower's Biggest Decisions

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