During our lessons this week, we will talk about the story of Ike, and the Tank — and using Self-Control when we have something to be legitimately upset about. Our lesson for this week follows below:
After he graduated from West Point, one of Ike’s first assignments was as an officer in the new Tank Corps. The Tank itself was a new weapon — Ike had never even seen one before. He didn’t know anything about how a tank worked, or how it was supposed to be used — and there was no-one who could teach him.
Ike and his friend, George Patton, decided that they would have to teach themselves. They started off by taking a tank completely apart, and then they put it back together again, so they would know how it worked. Then they started to test it out. They ran it across country to see how fast it would go. 5 miles an hour was top speed. They had it climb steep hills and cross deep ditches and wide streams to see what kind of obstacles it could drive over. It got stuck a lot. They fixed it when it broke down. It broke down a lot.
Even so, Ike and George were excited — they believed the tank had a lot of potential. They talked together about how it could be improved, and how it could be used. They were convinced tanks would be important in the future. They took their ideas to their commander, General Farnsworth.
He told them their ideas were all wrong. The tank was just a fad, and wouldn’t amount to anything. What’s more, if they kept talking about how great tanks were going to be, they would both get into serious trouble with the army.
George was furious, and said he would go back to the Cavalry, where his ideas were appreciated. Ike was every bit as angry — maybe even more — and just as certain he was right about tanks. But he kept his temper, and answered politely that he would certainly follow General Farnsworth’s orders.
- Ike and George had spent a lot of time and effort learning about tanks. Did they have a reason to by angry when General Farnsworth told them they were wrong?
- Ike knew from personal experience that tanks were slow, clumsy, and broke down a lot — they would take many years of work to develop their potential. Do you think knowing this helped him control his anger?
- Who do you think had stronger self-control — George, or Ike?
Please share your answers to these questions, and your thoughts about Self-Control, with our school community by using the form below.
Illustrations: Top row, left to right — Ike with the tank, George Patton with the tank. Bottom row, left to right — General Farnsworth, a Mark VIII Liberty Tank (another tank Ike and George were working with)