September 15 was William Howard Taft’s birthday. That makes this the perfect time to share a coloring page featuring one of my favorite quotes from our 27th president. Taft advised, “Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood.”
As an author and a blogger, I’ve tried to take Taft’s advise to heart. In fact, not only do I intentionally write in such a way as to avoid misunderstanding, but I try to choose my words so that they cannot be easily taken out of context, either. And I do my best to make sure whatever words I think, speak, or put down on paper are fully aligned with God’s Word, as well.
More Great Quotes from William Howard Taft
Taft’s presidency was full of firsts: He was the first president to own a car (and last to keep a cow) in the White House, the first president to toss out the first ball of the baseball season, and the first president to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He made lots of keen observations during his years of public service. Here is a small sampling of his wit and wisdom:
“We can’t have a decent government unless those in power exercise self restraint.”
This explains how we’ve wound up with such a bloated and wasteful government… because too many of our elected officials have not been willing to exercise self restraint.
“No tendency is quite so strong in human nature as the desire to lay down rules of conduct for other people.”
Rules for thee but not for me, as they say.
“Too many people don’t care what happens so long as it doesn’t happen to them.”
What was true in Taft’s day is true in ours: society suffers from a deplorable lack of empathy. People seem incapable of putting themselves in another’s shoes.
“The trouble with me is that I like to talk too much.”
One of our most gregarious presidents, Taft once called the White House “the loneliest place in the world.” Yet talking too much can definitely be problematic, as Proverbs 10:19 affirms: “When words abound, transgression is inevitable, but the one who restrains his lips is wise.” So, in that pre-Twitter era, perhaps the isolation of the White House kept Taft from saying stuff he shouldn’t?
“Repeat mantra: Donuts are not vitamins, donuts are not …”
Not only did Taft love to talk; he must have loved to eat, as well. Weighing in at over 330 pounds, rumor has it he once got stuck in the White House bath, and it took six men to extricate him. Early in his presidency, the too-tight fixture was replaced by a porcelain tub big enough for four men to fit comfortably inside.
“We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.”
This quote echoes Proverbs 21:5, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
“I don’t know whither we are drifting, but I do know where every real thinking patriot will stand in the end, and that’s by the Constitution.”
Sadly, America has drifted even further from her founding documents — and the Judeo-Christian principles upon which she was established — than she had in Taft’s day. But I agree with his assessment: all thinking patriots will strive to honor and uphold the Constitution to the bitter end.
“I love judges, and I love courts. They are my ideals, that typify on earth what we shall meet hereafter in heaven under a just God.”
After leaving the White House, Taft served as Chief Justice, the only person to have ever held both offices. He’s also the only former president to have sworn in another president, having administered the Oath of Office to both Calvin Coolidge in 1925 and Herbert Hoover in 1929.
“The cheerful loser is a sort of winner.”
It’s called being a good sport, which Taft evidenced when he lost to Woodrow Wilson. ““Well, I have one consolation.” Taft quipped, “No candidate was ever elected ex-president by such a large majority!”
“The world is not going to be saved by legislation.”
I agree with this statement 100%. I vote and support conservative candidates and attend precinct meetings and work the polls on election day. But my hope does not lie in social programs or political reform or elected officials or economic policies. It lies in Christ and in Christ alone.
More American Heritage Printables
Want more fun printables for folks who love America? You can browse through all of our patriotic posts by following this link: American Heritage Printables. And for more great quotes from our past commanders-in-chief, check out this President’s Day post.
Or maybe you’d prefer a bound volume. If so, check out my devotional journals. The one in the center of the lineup below, God Bless America, was made just for patriotic citizens like you.
Packed with inspiring thoughts from our founding fathers and other great Americans, this journal will inspire you to think deeply about what it means to be a citizen of this great country. What is our responsibility to the rest of the world? How do we ensure the guiding principles on which our nation was established are never forgotten? Consider how you feel about these matters and use the space provided to write down your thoughts.
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