“Well a mother, a real mother, is the most wonderful person in the world. She’s the angel voice that bids you goodnight.”
– Wendy to the lost boys of Neverland.
Most presidents are mama’s boys.
Many of them are actually named after their mothers.
We all know that John Fitzgerald Kennedy is named after his mother, Rose Fitzgerald. But Ronald Wilson Reagan is also named after his mother, Nelle Wilson.
Lyndon Baines Johnson is named after his mother, Rebecca Baines. Richard Milhous Nixon is named after his mother Hannah Milhous. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is named after his mother Sarah Delano. In fact, FDR’s mother used to tell him, “You are a Delano, not a Roosevelt.”
When FDR had his famous fireside chats with the nation on national radio, his mother was right there beside him. And on every Mother’s Day, she, herself, addressed the nation.
This phenomenon goes all the way back into our history. Woodrow Wilson was named after his mothers, Janet Woodrow and Rutherford Birchard Hayes was named after his mother, Sophia Birchard.
Now it isn’t a perfect trend or else John Forbes Kerry would have won the 2004 presidential election. He is named after his mother, Rosemary Forbes. And then Marvin Pierce Bush, would have been the Bush brother to win the White House over George or Jeb. He is named after his mother, Barbara Pierce. But when I wrote the book, The Raising of a President, it appeared as such a stark statistical anomaly that I had to find an explanation. I sent the data to several psychologists around the world.
Here was the identical response. When that mother took that baby to her breast she felt a special connection to the child that bore her name.
Huh? That’s it? She felt something?
It reminded me of the German scientist who had studied plants in the 1880’s and insisted that if we talk nice to plants they will respond. I’ve often thought. If talking nice to a shefflera Tree will help it grow an extra inch each year, just imagine the damage or the good we do to each other by what we say, especially to our children?
Sigmund Freud wrote that “the man who perceives himself to be the favorite of his mother is empowered for life.”
Abraham Lincoln supposedly told William Herndon, “All I am or ever hope to be I owe to my angel mother.”
Even as an adult President William McKinley insisted that his mother say a prayer with him before going to bed. At great expense, he had a wire laid from Ohio to Washington, D.C. so the practice could continue even when he was in the White House.
Never underestimate the power of a mother. Apparently, how she feels, or how you think she feels, can impact the rest of your life.
No wonder William Wallace wrote, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”