Due to a conflicting travel schedule, my Mother’s Day acknowledgement is a week late, but is there ever an inappropriate time to recognize motherhood? Our recent destination was close to Abilene, Kansas which afforded me the opportunity to visit the Eisenhower museum and library for the second time. It provides an excellent running history of World War II as well as the General’s presidency. I was reminded that on one occasion, while the aged, white-haired mother of her famous son was waiting for his arrival, someone said to her, “You must be very proud of your great and illustrious son.” Upon which she asked, “Which son?” There were five Eisenhower boys, all men of great accomplishment. Each one was equally great to that noble mother.
Said Dwight Eisenhower: “My sainted mother taught me a devotion to God and a love of country which have ever sustained me in my many lonely and bitter moments of decision in distant and hostile lands. To her, I yield a son’s reverent thanks.”
The critical need for good mothers was well documented by another president, Theodore Roosevelt: “When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright boys and girls, who are to be the men and women of the next generation, is of greater use to the community, and occupies, if she only would realize it, a more honorable as well as more important position than any man in it. The mother is the one supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, or businessman, or artist, or scientist.”
The recollections of Thomas Edison confirm these notions: “I did not have my mother long, but she cast over me an influence which has lasted all my life. The good effects of her early training I can never lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and her faith in me at a critical time in my experience, I should never likely have become an inventor. I was always a careless boy, and with a mother of different mental caliber, I should have turned out badly. But her firmness, her sweetness, her goodness, were potent powers to keep me in the right path. My mother was the making of me. The memory of her will always be a blessing to me.”
Since the advent of Roe vs. Wade the American social landscape has suffered a great erosion of appreciation for effective and inspiring mothers. Her influence is being cleverly replaced by social media, Hollywood and liberal education. It’s hard to imagine that Leftist who degrade mothers like Sarah Palin or Sarah Huckabee Sanders have any deep esteem for their own mothers. When babies are discarded like ordinary trash there is a predictable domino effect that denigrates everything associated with motherhood.
God, Who operates in polar opposites to liberal philosophy, places a premium on “God’s deputy on earth” (Jewish proverb). The Bible as well as modern history renders countless examples of the far reaching effects of the “hand that rocks the cradle.” None are more inspiring than Susanna Wesley whose sons, John and Charles, are given the distinction of founding the Methodist movement in both hemispheres. This illustrious woman occupies a prominent place among the mothers of the wise and good. She was the youngest daughter of Dr. Samuel Annesley, a dissenting minister of distinction; was born in London; married when she was nineteen; and was six years younger than her husband, Samuel Wesley; and in twenty-one years had nineteen children. Mrs. Wesley was distinguished for uncommon beauty, elegance of manners, strength of understanding, untiring industry, indomitable will, and a patience above all praise in training her children for God, and in educating them for immortality, thinking more of their souls than their bodies.
Even though ten of the Wesley children died in infancy, the remaining nine required a great deal of time. Busy as she was, Susanna took time out to talk to her children individually. She devoted an evening to each child, and these sessions had profound influence on them. They had family devotions as well, and often neighbors gathered with them. At times the entire house was filled. On top of all other duties, she spent one hour each day shut up with God alone in her room, praying for her children --- and her two sons, under God, brought revival to England while France weltered in the blood of a ghastly revolution. Godly hands that rock cradles have goodly effects on society that can never be matched by protestors in the streets. The problem is…like begets like.
Productive mothering requires certain sacrifices which is an increasingly uncommon virtue. Years ago, a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny baby in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blinding blizzard. She never reached her destination. When her body was found by searchers beneath a mound of snow, they discovered that before her death, she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it about her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life for her child, proving the depths of her mother’s love.
Years later that child, David Lloyd George, grown to manhood, became Prime Minister of Great Britain and without a doubt was one of England’s greatest statesmen.