Richard Nixon on Families & Children

President of the U.S., 1968-1974

Don't make life too easy for children

My father's life-long ambition was that his 5 sons would have what he was unable to get: a college education. He never went into the dreary routine that we had life so much better than he had it, since he had to quit school when he was 11 to go to work full time to help the family make ends meet. He did not know it, but he gave us something we could never learn in college--the knowledge that life is not easy and that the time to develop the strength to meet its challenges is during your younger years, I do not mean to suggest that it is good to make life hard for your children. But if you make it too easy, their inevitable realization as adults that life is a continuing struggle may find them unprepared for it.
Source: In The Arena, by Richard Nixon, p.114-115 , Jul 2, 1990

We believe in the family as the keystone of the community

The secret of mastering change in today's world is to reach back to old and proven principles, and to adapt them with imagination and intelligence to the new realities of a new age. As we look back at those old principles, we find them as timely as they are timeless:
  • We believe in independence, and self-reliance, and the creative value of the competitive spirit.
  • We believe in the family as the keystone of the community, and in the community as the keystone of the Nation.
  • We believe that a person should get what he works for--and that those who can, should work for what they get.
  • We believe in the capacity of people to make their own decisions in their own lives, in their own communities--and we believe in their right to make those decisions.In applying these principles, we have done so with the full understanding that what we seek in the seventies, what our quest is, is not merely for more, but for better for a better quality of life for all Americans.
    Source: Pres. Nixon's 1972 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 20, 1972

    Smart girls don't swear; it reduces their femininity

    During a discussion with aides Bob Haldeman and Henry Kissinger about an annual youth conference, the subject soon turned to swearing in public:

    Nixon: I mean, you've got to stop at a certain point. Why is it that the girls don't swear? Because a man, when he swears, people can't tolerate a girl who is a--

    Haldeman: Girls do swear.

    Nixon: Huh?

    Haldeman: They do now.

    Nixon: Oh, they do now? But, nevertheless, it removes something from them. They don't even realize it. A man drunk, and a man who swears, people will tolerate and say that's a sign of masculinity or some other damn thing. We all do it. We all swear. But you show me a girl that swears and I'll show you an awful unattractive person. I mean, all femininity is gone. And none of the smart girls do swear, incidentally.

    Source: The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972, by Douglas Brinkley, p.107 , Apr 28, 1971

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    Page last updated: May 01, 2015