It all comes back to mothers, doesn’t it? In a poem published twenty years before the birth of Hannah Milhous Nixon, poet William Ross Wallace wrote these words, “For the hand that rocks the cradle Is the hand that rules the world.” Yet, he might well have been talking of President Richard Nixon’s mother.
I have been watching a series online called Against All Odds: Israel Survives. While I find the premise of the series a bit silly—a reporter who is searching to find out whether miracles are real—each twenty-seven-minute episode highlights a fascinating piece of Israel’s history. The segment featuring the Yom Kippur War of 1973 included an amazing snippet. In 1973, Israel was unprepared when Egypt and Syria both launched massive attacks. 1400 Syrian tanks faced 189 Israeli tanks in the North and similar imbalances loomed on the southern Egyptian front. Looking at it rationally, the country’s chance for survival seemed hopeless.
In desperation, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir phoned President Nixon’s private line in the middle of the night. She made an anguished plea for American support in the form of armaments. Acceding to this plea would mean ignoring the recommendation of the Cabinet and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. On the episode I was watching, a documentary producer recalls President Nixon saying:
“I could almost hear my mother’s voice. She would tell me stories and read to me from the Old Testament, the heroes of the Bible. And one afternoon, she said, ‘Richard, someday you’re going to be in a position where you can help save the Jewish people. And when that day comes, you must do everything in your power.’”
On that day, President Nixon, via his mother’s training decades earlier, became God’s angel.
Remember this story. When the culture urges you to do “something important” rather than spending quantity time with your children transmitting your values and beliefs, remember this story.