March 18; Need To Get Something Done? Get Some Sleep
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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18 March

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him

and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—

one on one side, one on the other—

so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

Exodus 17:12

Need To Get Something Done? Get Some Sleep

Rest

“The world is run by tired men,” wrote J. Oswald Sanders.

On August 3, 1943 in World War II in the Italian Campaign, General ‘Blood and Guts’ Patton was visiting wounded soldiers in a hospital. One soldier catches the attention of Patton. This was not always a good thing.

Since the dawn of war, organized mayhem — that is the battlefield — had a simple rule for any soldier who stepped out of the fight. He had to be wounded. Bad. The soldier would be commanded to “Show Blood” and only then would he be allowed to walk to the rear to an aid station. To get a Purple Heart a soldier would need Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage.

The soldier, Private Charles H. Kuhl, who caught Patton’s eye had no visible injury. His wounds were much deeper. Initially it was thought that he was ‘shell-shocked.’ The war-fighting general, a motivator of men became incensed at what he thought was cowardice. Patton slapped the soldier with his glove: an insult.

But Kuhl was actually suffering from malaria and not malingering. Kuhl, as it turned out, was no coward.

There is a soldier who may have been suffering from ‘battle fatigue’ in this story. Patton regularly got only four hours of sleep a night and it was possible that Patton had been awake for some 72 hours without rest. There being a war on and all. Patton’s fatigue would have been much easier to prevent with, well, a good night’s sleep.

Yes, Patton should have known better. He said that,

Infantry troops can attack continuously for sixty hours…Beyond sixty hours, it is rather a waste of time, as the men become too fatigued from lack of sleep.

Another battle leader, Moses, took a different course of action when he was directing the Israelites against the Amalekites.

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.

Here the command’s staff directly assisted…

Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other—

so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Exodus 17:12

The Italian episode would have had a different ending if a trusted advisor was at Patton’s right hand. Perhaps the general’s staff, who also must have been exhausted, was indeed fearful of him.

As Vincent Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

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