The George Washington Challenge

It's time to stop just reading about our history and start experiencing it for ourselves. With the release of BEING GEORGE WASHINGTON, Glenn is challenging us to read the story of America's most indispensable man — and then to live it. Every day for one year.

The Challenge is a program designed around the idea that a habit can be formed in 30 days.

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Download the Free Monthly Tracker

Start Here: The Baseline

Share Your Stories

We want to hear about your successes and failures as you challenge yourself to be like George Washington.

Click here to access the submission form

Deeds Not Words

The 12 principles of this Challenge are like a chain: if one link breaks, the whole thing becomes unusable. Let this shirt serve as a constant reminder of the person you want to be.

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The Journal

This is the official journal of the Challenge. Embossed with an image of Washington's compass on the cover, you can use this tool to record your achievements, struggles and daily reflections on your path towards becoming George Washington.

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Welcome

Welcome to the Being George Washington Challenge.  If you've read Glenn’s book on Washington you've probably seen just how hard it was to be that kind of man.  The traits he is known for—honesty, courage and honor—did not come naturally to him, he worked hard at them every single day.

It's often said that it takes 30 days to form a habit.  We're going to put that to the test.  Each month for the next year Glenn will challenge himself and his audience to become better citizens and human beings one small step at a time. Each challenge will be posted here and we encourage everyone to keep a running journal of their experiences.  Write down everything—and review it often.  You'll be amazed to see how fast things that once seemed difficult to you are now almost routine.

Whether you take this Challenge alone, or do it with a friend or family member, we want to hear what you’re experiencing.  Tell us about your successes and failures, the things that came easy and those that you still struggle with.  And remember, this is a challenge, not a contest.  We aren't keeping score and there will be no one to watch over you to make sure you honor your promises.  But we can promise that those who practice the first virtue (diligence) and stick with this for a year will be changed forever.  This is a support group like never before and, if we are successful, we very well may just have the next George Washington in our midst.

Start the Challenge by reviewing this basic framework that includes items from Washington, Franklin and Glenn.  Then, return to the home page, read the description of the current month's virtue and begin to think about the specific ways in which you can challenge yourself and your family to the goals you set.

Friday
Dec072012

Humility & Faith

"Without a humble imitation of the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, we can never hope to be a happy nation."

We finally enter the last chapter of The Being George Washington Challenge. Families across America have faithfully accepted this challenge to strengthen their own values and virtues in order to better reflect the character of George Washington.

In this last phase we are asked to become students of the virtues of Humility and Faith.
At Washington's funeral, Henry Lee spoke of how the President encompassed these values. He said, "First in war — first in peace — and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere; uniform, dignified and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting."

We are called on this month to continue Washington's legacy by integrating his steady character traits and virtues into ourselves. One way is to do that is to pray on our knees with our families every day. Displaying sincere gratitude to others expresses humility as does serving others in need.

Washington's faith in a higher power proved to be hugely beneficial during challenging times. He strongly believed in a loving God, one who could be relied upon to further man's freedom. He once wrote, "The cause of our common country calls us both to an active and dangerous duty; Divine Providence, which wisely orders the affairs of men, will enable us to discharge it with fidelity and success."

His confidence in God allowed him to keep a pleasant disposition in the darkest of occasions as he has been quoted to say, "Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person's mind than on the externals in the world. It is assuredly better to go laughing than crying through the rough journey of life."

At the end of this year you can praise yourself for completing this journey.  We have worked on the virtues of Diligence, Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance, Patience, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness, Charity, Independence, Thanksgiving, and Humility. If you have followed along all year then you have likely been enriched by these lessons from George Washington. Please take time to joyously reflect on what you have learned as you can now proudly say that, at least in some small sense, you have Become George Washington!

Thursday
Nov012012

Thanksgiving

Our path toward becoming George Washington now brings us to the virtue of Thanksgiving.  On October 14, 1789 Washington made the proclamation that November 26 would be "A Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer." That proclamation began with these humble words:

"WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me 'to recommend to the people of the United States a day of publick Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them anopportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

The Thanksgiving tradition continues to be one of the most celebrated occasions in America-but things have definitely changed. These days many families celebrate with an over-abundance of food, drink and football instead of prayer and fasting.

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Monday
Oct012012

Independence

The Second Inaugural Address of George Washington

Fellow Citizens:

I am again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate. When the occasion proper for it shall arrive, I shall endeavor to express the high sense I entertain of this distinguished honor, and of the confidence which has been reposed in me by the people of united America.

Previous to the execution of any official act of the President the Constitution requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about to take, and in your presence: That if it shall be found during my administration of the Government I have in any instance violated willingly or knowingly the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring constitutional punishment) be subject to the upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony.

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Monday
Sep172012

Charity

September marks a culmination of the last two month's virtues with a careful study in the act of giving. This month may have been extra challenging had we not just focused on Godliness and Brotherly Kindness, which are the building blocks of Charity

Charity is an investment in people, a hand-up, rather than a hand out.  Just as you may put a lot of thought into financial investments, take time to consider where your assistance can be the most beneficial to a cause.  Find people and organizations that will honor your resources by doing the most good with them.

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Wednesday
Aug012012

Brotherly Kindness

Brotherly kindness can best be explained through a couple of stories about Thomas Jefferson.

Four years after Jefferson's wife Martha died he was sent as a diplomat to France where he met Maria Cosway. Despite being a beautiful woman, Jefferson chose not to marry her because of her inconsiderate treatment of the poor, a characteristic that he'd witnessed on two separate occasions. The first incident occurred when they were riding together in Jefferson's carriage and saw a poor military veteran walking down the road. Jefferson wanted to pick him up and give him a ride, but Maria objected. Tormented by his conscience for passing the veteran by, Jefferson turned the carriage around in hopes of finding him, but the man was already gone. Jefferson deeply regretted his behavior and never forgot the incident.

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Sunday
Jul012012

Godliness

This month we are asked to practice Godliness, a virtue that we can experience by living the example of a Godly man like George Washington, whose faith shaped his daily behavior and actions.

Through Rules of Civility, a book that Washington copied from as a young man, we are able to see that he employed high standards in virtually every area of his life. For example, he would not be found spitting into a fire, biting his nails, or putting "another bit into your mouth til the former be swallowed, let not your morsels be too big for the gowls." While these measures may seem inconsequential, they helped to establish Washington as a leader and, more important, as a man of moral character.

Perhaps Washington's most powerful self-imposed rule was number 108, which said, "When you speak of God or His attributes, let it be seriously and with reverence."
This month we attempt to integrate that rule into our own lives. Here are a few ideas on how to start:

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Tuesday
Jun052012

Patience

George Washington was a patient man. He and his men endured the cold winter at Valley Forge with little food or clothing, and yet his steady leadership inspired his troops to remain tolerant in the face of terrible conditions.

That winter, Washington wrote a letter to Governor George Clinton: "A part of the army has been a week, without any kind of flesh, and the rest for three or four days. Naked and starving as they are, we cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not been ere this excited by their sufferings, to a general mutiny or dispersion."

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Thursday
May032012

Temperance

In May we will be studying Temperance, also known as moderation. By adding this virtue to Diligence, Faith, Virtue, and Knowledge, we are well on our way toward Being George Washington.

As a man of faith and character George Washington achieved a life of high morale standard by practicing temperance in almost everything he did.

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Tuesday
Apr172012

Knowledge

Though he never received a formal education, George Washington was fond of learning. A bookworm since his youth, Washington believed that "a knowledge of books is the basis on which all other knowledge rests."  Secret codes and spy craft were of particular interest to young Washington, skills that developed into valuable tool while leading the Revolutionary Army.  His ability to successfully utilize information from his spies was instrumental in his success as a military leader. Washington once wrote, "There is nothing more necessary than good intelligence to frustrate a designing enemy."

During the month of April we are asked to focus on Knowledge, while keeping in mind the lessons we learned from our study of Diligence, Faith and Virtue.

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Thursday
Mar012012

Virtue

George Washington was dedicated to living a life of moral excellence, and his virtuous principles were regularly observed and emulated among his peers. His actions attracted so much admiration and respect that his leadership was sought during the most challenging times of our nation's founding.  In turn, his unwavering principled behavior is what made his leadership a success.

After building on the lessons we have learned from the study of Diligence and Faith, this month, the Challenge will focus on virtue.

The key to living a life of virtue is consistency. It is not a character trait to be remembered only when convenient—instead immersing it in all of your interactions with your family, friends and business associates will truly lead you to be virtuous like George Washington.

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Thursday
Feb022012

Faith

Now that you've taken on diligence, it's time to move to the next phase of our journey and build on what we've already accomplished.

George Washington was steadfast in his reliance on Divine Protection.  His faith was what made him strong in the face of adversity and humble in light of victory.  This month, The Challenge is focusing on Faith — the cornerstone of Washington's character.

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Sunday
Jan012012

Diligence

Diligence means "persevering application"—and what better to start a new year out with than that?

How many of us take on projects or start new things only to drop them a few weeks later when that initial motivation wears off?  Diligence was one of Washington’s best traits—he finished what he started, for better or worse—and now it will become one of ours as well.

Start by being selective about how your time and energy is spent.  It's easy to say “yes” but sometimes that's not the right answer.  Take your commitments seriously—if you say yes to something, make sure you mean it.  Do not commit yourself to a goal that you will not complete or to one that is not worth starting.

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Sunday
Jan012012

George Washington & Diligence

George Washington's actions leading up to The Battle of Trenton showcases how he diligently approached challenges. He was well aware that the Hessians were a bigger and stronger army compared to his soldiers but that did not stop him from seeking victory.  As the men crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night they were faced with icy waters, sleet and snow squalls which significantly delayed Washington's plan.  Plus General James Ewing's reinforcements had failed to arrive. But instead of retreating in light of the many mounting challenges, Washington was steadfast and led his men as they defeated the Hessians in a surprise attack.