How to Raise a President

by kat hobza

Each February, we celebrate the births of great presidents; those founding fathers who helped pave the way for our great nation.  Incredibly, these political pioneers somehow knew and implemented ideals that would transcend time.

That got me thinking.  How exactly does one raise a president?  Is there a handbook?  A list of do’s and don’ts?  Is one environment or childhood more desirable than another when it comes to raising the next man (or perhaps one day, woman) who will lead this country?

So I dove, headfirst, into the childhoods of some of our country’s presidents.  As you might imagine, the upbringing of presidents varies greatly, however I did find a few consistencies.  If you are planning a family, have a preschooler or about to have a baby, take heed.

It helps if your child is born in February or October

If you’re a planner, highlight this one.  Four American presidents were born in February; six in October. Scorpios, born in early October, show strength in the face of adversity, and are brave and cool under pressure (nobody wants a tantrum-throwing president when things don’t go just his way).  They also have a need for power and control, so if you’re annoyed with little Joey shouting, “You’re not the boss of me,” repeatedly, and little Joey was born in early October, you might ease off and let your mind wander to your extravagant room in the east wing of the White House.  Aquariuses, (or is it Aquari?), born in early February, are independent humanitarians who love to debate.  On the downside, they can be tactless.  Here again, learn to take a deep breath the next time your little Aquarius says something toe-curling in public.  Just pat her on the head and tell the offended she’ll be running for office in about 20 years.

Throw in an extra name, that is unusual, but don’t use it.

What’s in a name you say?  Ulysses S. Grant’s first name was Hiram, and we all know Barack’s folks probably didn’t have “president of the United States” on the brain when they gave him his middle name.  While on the topic of names, it’s important to name your son one of the following (I’ve also listed the number of presidents with these names, so you can impress your friends during the next Trivia game) :

George- 3

John- 5

James- 6

William- 4

Don’t be afraid to toss a “Franklin” in the mix for good measure.  Lastly, using or modifying the first or last name of a previous president in your child’s name might also help, as in the case of James “Abram” Garfield, Bill “Jefferson” Clinton and Ronald “Wilson” Reagan.

Have a large family.

For whatever reason, many presidents came from large families. Having a big family seems impractical these days, but do you want to be the parent of a president, or don’t you?  It’s all about sacrifice!  Don’t overdue it with the number of children; a minimum of four, and a maximum of six, is recommended.  If you get carried away here, you’ll be the haggard, barely lucid and widely televised Mom and Dad sitting behind the President on inauguration day.  Kind of defeats your purpose.

(Note:  If you’re worried about how to finance a large family, bear in mind that being reared in wretched poverty is also a childhood trait of a few great presidents, such as Abe Lincoln.)

Plan for Education

Future presidents are big into going to law school.  Don’t have that kind of bank?  Don’t worry; it’s important to start but not necessarily finish law school as in the case of Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.  Many would-be presidents were also home schooled.  George Washington’s education was over in his early teens.  Of course he had wood teeth too (okay, so they weren’t really wood, they were hippopotamus ivories, but still).  My point is, you may not get away with ending your child’s education career in his teens.  Better start saving for Harvard!

So there you have it.  Hope this helps.  If you incorporate these steps and raise a president, I’ll be expecting an open invitation to the Lincoln room.  Conversely, if you end up broke because you had a bunch of kids whose birthdays all land in the same month, with common names, not one of which becomes president, well join the crowd!   SFM

Kat Hobza, a Billings mother, elementary school aide and writer/editor wishes wishes SFM readers all the best in 2010!