George Washington's Parents: Parenting makes a difference.
Mother, father, sometimes only one,
gardeners and guardians of souls
A tree is known by its fruit.
Parents may be known by their children..
"Parents may be known by their children."
A modern tale....
My wife, a mother to five children, counts her "wealth" in terms of the righteousness of her children (a daughter and twin sons, as well as a stepson and stepdaughter) and her 17 grandchildren.
She knows that while there would be many good things she might do, if she were wealthy, by raising righteous children, she has given the world a gift that no amount of money could buy.
An historical tale....
Mary Bell was born in 1706 in the Virginia colony and at age 24 became the second wife of a Virginia planter named Augustine Washington. Two years later a son George was born, the first of six children, the last one of which died in infancy. Shortly after that loss, she was widowed when Augustine also died.
Mary Washington, now 37 with five small children to raise, the oldest being George age 11, was left to manage her land inheritance until such time as each child was old enough to inherit their own plantation left them in Mary's care by their deceased father..
At age 13 George was called to be a midshipman and would have gone except for his mother's opposition. Like George, all Mary's children achieved success in their own sphere thanks to the same efforts of their mother who displayed exceptional ability to instill sound Christian principles together with the conduct and habits for which George became famed.
Mary died in August of 1789 of breast cancer.
Characteristic of her great faith, Mary on hearing of George's crossing of the Delaware on December 7,1776 and his victory there, had said simply that she had joy that the prospects of the country were brightening.
On being told of George's defeat of Lord Cornwallis, she had replied "Thank God! War will now be ended, and peace, independence and happiness bless our country!"
When told of the honors bestowed on George, she replied that "George appeared to have deserved well of his country for such signal services. But, my good sirs, here is too much flattery!.....Still, George will not forget the lessons I have taught him.....he will not forget himself, though he is the subject of so much praise."
When Lafayette came to her home to pay his respects to her before returning to France, Mary acknowledged his praise of her son and replied simply that "I am not surprised at what George has done, for he was always a good boy."
When President Jackson spoke at the dedication of a monument to Mary on May 7, 1833, he remarked in his speech that Mary's conduct and her principles "were closely interwoven with the destiny of her son" among which he named "unerring judgement, great probity of purpose, high moral principles, perfect self-possession, untiring application, an inquiring mind seeking information from every quarter, and arriving at its conclusion with a full knowledge of the subject.... ." President Jackson added "The power of greatness was there; but had it not been guided and directed by maternal solicitude and judgment, its possessor, instead of presenting to the world examples of virtue, patriotism and wisdom, which will be precious in all succeeding ages, might have been [far less.]"
George Washington went on to preside over the framing of our Constitution and serving two terms as America's first elected president, declining to serve a third term while cautioning Americans about dangers the United States of America still face today. (A link to his cautions is provided at the end of this article.)
What of "political dynasties" today?
In today's America it takes millions of dollars to be elected to Congress in some parts of America. It takes many millions of dollars to be elected to the presidency. Political parties have typically held the mechanisms for raising so much money, but today rich private donors and corporations can even rival the parties in contributing to political campaigns.
One key to raising such enormous funds is "name recognition." If a candidate is a Kennedy, a Bush, or a Clinton, they come with a certain cachet, and often with their own list of donors from previous election cycles.
In 2016 we are likely, as things stand now, to see a third Bush running against a second Clinton with both those candidates having been in the political limelight for many, many years. What would a Mary Washington, or a George Washington, have had to say about that?
"The spirit of party" Washington warns is "A fire not to be quenched; it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into flame, lest, instead of warming it should consume."
As Americans looked at the new 114th Congress in 2015, many expressed a desire to have term limits placed on how long any senator or representative could serve in office without having to return to normal life for a period of time to live under the very laws they themselves enacted.
For that to happen, the very legislators who would be affected would have to put the term limits into law, or allow a constitutional convention to be convened to do so. They are not likely to take either step.
Until they do, much of America's future will depend on how modern parents raise their children to uphold, obey, and defend the Constitution "against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
We owe Mary Washington and righteous parents across America, living and dead, a considerable debt for their dedication, example, and parenting.
History is a journey into the past, to people, places, and events.
§ Rose Kennedy (1890-1995) is quoted thus:
"I look on child rearing not only as a work of love and duty, but as a profession that was as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world, and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it."
© 2015 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
Washington's Farewell Address: A Caution
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This is the continuation of Part I of this story of a Laotian girl becoming a young woman raised in the royal palace of her grandfather and in a time of wars and change.
Once again I am 2,300 miles away (sometimes it has been much more than that) from my only sibling, my sister Mary, on her birthday. In younger years I was there cheering her on. Now we are older.