Power andhumility are polar opposites.
It is like oil and water or fire and ice. Theysimply cannot exist in harmony, but, somehow, President Calvin Coolidgepossessed both things at the same time. As one reads the “Autobiography ofCalvin Coolidge”, it is impossible to overlook the humility that covers thebook from beginning to end. His humility is visible in his career and his heartof service. The concept of a humble leader is so foreign, yet PresidentCoolidge’s life makes perfect sense of the current paradox. While it isindeed a misconception that the President makes all government-relateddecisions on his own, he does have the final word in many cases.
However, thatdoes not mean he cannot seek guidance from someone else. Although PresidentCoolidge claimed this Presidential duty as his own by saying, “No one can sharewith him the responsibility. No one can make his decisions for him.
“, he oftensought the advice of others. Throughout his autobiography, President Coolidgecan be seen tuning his ear to the advice of other people since his childhoodall the way to the end of his presidency. He heeded the advice of his father topursue in law in his younger years.
He stated that, during his time in theWhite House, he “rarely failed to accept” the recommendations given to him bythe Cabinet. Regardless of the power that he had and the position that he wasin, he was open not only open to advice but also to correction and criticism.He stayed humble and never viewed his own judgment to be higher than that ofother people. Many people havea desire to be heard.
The presidency is the loudest microphone one could askfor. That is why it is so peculiar that President Coolidge’s most famousnicknames were “Cautious Cal” and “Silent Cal.” Why would someone who has theability to change the world through words be known for his silent and tersedemeanor? I personally believe that his silence was not because he neglectedhis audience, but because he respected them with a humble heart. Whendescribing his preparation for his numerous speeches, President Coolidge said,”Each word has to be weighed in the realization that it is a Presidentialutterance which will be dissected at home and abroad to discover its outwardmeaning and any possible hidden implications.
” He knew that his words hadpower. He knew that it would affect a countless number of people and nations.He knew that millions of people listened to his every word, his every pause ina speech and that their lives depended on what he said.
But President Coolidgedid not abuse that power by speaking indiscriminately; his words of authoritywere laced with humility and care. He used his words only when necessary andpicked and chose his words carefully, aware of the fact that his words would bedissected to the very last period. It was because of his prudence and humilitythat he was cautious and kept his words to himself, despite knowing thing powerthat he held. Humility is aquality that every person should have but is rare to find in our society. It iseven harder to find it in the tier of our current powerful, rich andinfluential leaders. President Coolidge is the epitome of a humble leader. Heled with the purpose to serve and to put himself in the shoes of his people.His humility is displayed all throughout his career.
In spite of being known asa man of few words, President Coolidge was extremely popular. He was honoredand respected. I believe every word of Proverbs 11:2 – “Pride leads todisgrace, but with humility comes honor.” President Coolidge’s life portrayedthat proverb perfectly. For one to be honored and for one to truly be at thetop, they must be humble. They must be willing to step down, no matter theirposition of authority, and have a heart of service, just as President Coolidgedid. No matter how much you accomplishthroughout your life, you cannot be complete without humility.
Humility leavesroom for opportunities to improve yourself, to make a better you. Humilityleaves room for other people to be in your life. This underrated yet crucialvalue is something all people should strive to obtain. Surely a President couldcredit himself for his journey to the top and yet President Coolidge came tothe conclusion that, “As he the President contemplates the workings of hisoffice, he comes to realize with an increasing sense of humility that he is butan instrument in the hands of God.”