Steel and Velvet
By Steve Goodier
An unusual tribute was paid to Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg.
The poet wrote, "Not often in the story of mankind does a man
arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as
rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind
the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect."
Lincoln demonstrated then and now how a person can possess both a
will of iron and a heart of tenderness. Nothing deterred the
president during the American Civil War from his "noble" cause,
and few persons have ever endured more criticism and detractors
than Lincoln. Yet he was no more a man of steel than one of
When General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, Lincoln sent an
unexpected message to the enemy commander. "Tell your men they
may keep their horses; they'll need them for plowing," said the
president. Then this: "Tell your men they may keep their rifles;
they'll need them for hunting." When Lee read those words he
For each of us there is a time for toughness and a time for
tenderness. A time for resolve and a time for compassion. An iron
will is not the same as an iron spirit. Another courageous
American, Martin Luther King, Jr. some hundred years later
encouraged us to exhibit tough minds and soft hearts...not the
other way around.
Be mentally tough; your resolve and determination will overcome
great obstacles along life's path. But let your heart be soft;
your compassion and love will make the journey worth it.
Steve Goodier's books & newsletter: http://LifeSupportSystem.com.