And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man» (Luke 2:52).
«Mother, what are you doing here?» George glanced about,
hoping no one was watching.
«You’re not going!» the woman said, feet planted firmly at the base of the steps leading up to the ship. George loved his mother. But he loved the sea, too, and wanted to be a sailor.
«You must obey your superiors,» the woman continued.
«You’re far too young for this.»
The boy sighed. Mother was right. «OK,» he said softly. «I’ll stay.»
A few days later a package arrived for George containing a skillfully crafted penknife with a sharp blade and ivory handle. «Every time you use this gift,» his mother said, «remember my words, ‘Always obey your superiors.’ »
Years later George sat at a desk writing a letter. A terrible winter had stalled the American Revolution, leaving his Army stuck in blizzard conditions. Hundreds of soldiers, tired of the cold, the starvation diet, and seeming hopelessness of their plight, had deserted. He’d written to Congress pleading for reinforcements and supplies, but few arrived.
«What are you doing?» General Knox asked as he entered George’s cabin.
«Resigning!» the man growled.
Knox picked up something from the desk. «Tell me again the story behind this beautiful penknife,» he said.
George understood. With a sigh, he tore up the letter. From that moment on, he led his army with renewed determination, won the war, and became the first president of the country he helped form.