robert-e-leeRobert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870), was a career United States Army officer, an engineer, and among the most celebrated generals in American history.Among Southerners, Lee came to be even more revered after his surrender than he had been during the war. Admirers pointed to his character and devotion to duty, not to mention his brilliant tactical successes in battle after battle against a stronger foe.

There is much to learn from our fathers and grandfathers. Wisdom comes from experience, and as your father and grandfathers before you,They will always be more experienced.

The advice and wisdom of our older generation, is taken for granted or not at all in today’s culture. Today’s youth and young adults alike, would do well to heed the advice of those gone on before us. We would even do well to consult the Bible in matters of wisdom. “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding – Proverbs 2:2” He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity -Proverbs 2:7″

I came across this article this morning and considered it a true treasure to see the advice and wisdom of Robert E. Lee as given to his sons. I believe that the lack of fathers giving their sons advice and wisdom has contributed to the problem with today’s culture.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. is a regular contributor to the Washington Times’ Military History Column and the author of The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentleman. In his article titled Manly Advice from Robert E. Lee , he lists the top ten of Lee’s admonitions to gentleman in 2008.

  1. On debt and frugal living: “It is easier to make our wishes conform to our means, than to make our means to conform to our wishes.” ~ Lee writing to one of his sons, 22 August 1860.
  2. On marriage: “Never marry unless you can do so into a family that will enable your children to feel proud of both sides of the house.” ~ General Lee writing to J.B. Hood. Don’t wife hunt in bars or tattoo parlors.
  3. On minding your own business: “Meddle or interfere with nothing with which you have no concern.” ~ Lee to his sons, 30 November 1845.
  4. On humility: “It’s all my fault.” ~ Lee at Gettysburg. Be willing to admit your mistakes and take blame.
  5. On honesty: “Private and public life are subject to the same rules; and truth and manliness are two qualities that will carry you through this world much better than policy, or tact, or expediency, or any other word that was ever devised to conceal or mystify a deviation from a straight line.” ~ One of Lee’s personal maxims. A young man should say what he means and mean what he says. Avoid the demeaning examples of politicians, government bureaucrats, and lawyers.
  6. On manliness: “A man may manifest and communicate his joy, but he should conceal and smother his grief as much as possible.” ~ Lee to Mrs. Ann Fitzhugh.
  7. On work: “There is scarcely anything that is right that we cannot hope to accomplish by labor and perseverance. But the first must be earnest and the second unremitting.” ~ Lee to Martha Williams.
  8. On reading material: “Read history, works of truth, not novels and romances.” ~ Lee’s oft’ repeated advice to his children.
  9. On education: “The education of a man or woman is never completed until they die.” ~ Lee writing to son Custis, 5 December 1860.
  10. On what’s important: “Be true kind, and generous, and pray earnestly to God to enable you to keep His commandments and walk in the same all the days of your life.” ~ Lee to his sons, 31 March 1846

Now, sons, heed the advice of your father. Go forth, be wise, discharge your duty in life, and prosper.

The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. – Proverbs 4:7


About Chuck Mullis

I am the husband of Valerie and the father of Russell & Hannah. I am a self-employed contractor living in rural North Carolina as well as an ordained Southern Baptist Minister serving Living Water Baptist Church.

One response »

  1. Assentia says:

    Here in the old country we still go by Kipling:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too:
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same:.
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
    And never breathe a word about your loss:
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much:
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

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