‘The Mother Is the Child’s Supreme Parent’

Suzanne Evans is a graduate student in history at UC Berkeley

FADE IN. Sunday morning. A small group of gray-haired men and women is sitting silently on stage in a small, dark auditorium. After a few minutes, a short man wearing suspenders and thick glasses enters and bright light suddenly fills the room.

Host: Hello and welcome to this special Mother’s Day edition of “Sunday Morning Live!” Here today to talk about the importance of mothers and motherhood is a distinguished panel of doctors, philosophers, authors, poets, scientists and world leaders. Let’s begin with a call. Little Rock, are you there?

Little Rock: Yes, how important is a mother to her child’s moral and psychological development?

Napoleon: My opinion is that the future good or bad conduct of a child entirely depends on the mother.


Havelock Ellis: The mother is the child’s supreme parent.

Joseph Campbell: The mother is really a more immediate parent than the father because one is born from the mother, and the first experience of any infant is the mother.

William Ross Walker: [For] the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.

Thomas Edison: What is a home without a mother?


Host: Good question! Whad’ya think, Jim?

James Joyce: Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.

Host: Indeed! Next caller. Denver, are you there?

Denver: Yes, in the wake of the tragic shootings in Littleton, President Clinton has proposed legislation that holds adults criminally liable when guns are used by their children in violent crimes. Do you think parents should be held accountable for the misconduct of their kids?

Herbert Spencer: To parental misconduct is traceable a great part of the domestic disorder commonly ascribed to the perversity of children.

Carl Jung: If there is anything that we wish to change in our children, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.

Anne Frank: Parents can only give advice or put their children on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.

Bob Dylan: Come mothers and fathers throughout the land . . . Your sons and daughters are beyond your command.


Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor: What impresses me most about Americans is the way parents obey children.

Host: Ooh, low blow! Let’s go back to the phones. Indiana, are you there?

Indiana: Yes, it seems that an increasing number of American women are bearing children outside of marriage. Do you think unmarried mothers should be accorded the same rights and reverence by society as are married mothers?

Ben B. Lindsey: Motherhood is so honorable a thing that nothing--no convention--can possibly make it dishonorable; and from the standpoint of the right of the child . . . the unmarried mother should be granted by society the same reverence and regard as the married mother.

Wainwright Evans: Maternity is a cosmic thing, and once it has come to pass our conventions must not be permitted to blaspheme it.

Host: Sounds profound. Last caller! Los Angeles, are you there?

Los Angeles: Yes, if you could give one piece of advice to children everywhere, what would it be?

The 10 Commandments: Honor your father and your mother.