Inside the Speaker's Real House: How Mike and Kelly Johnson Keep Family First


Thanks to the mainstream media, the only things most Americans know about Speaker Mike Johnson as a family man are a few contrived controversies.

There’s the one over a purity event he attended with his daughter. Then, there’s his covenant marriage with wife Kelly, and, finally, the “creepy” anti-porn software he installed to protect himself and his boys.

But despite the left’s pathetic attempt to smear the speaker, most people can’t help but admire the Louisiana leader for staying focused on what matters at home — even in their whirlwind new life. Most of the time, people want to know how the kids have stayed so grounded.

Johnson said the secret isn’t that they’re amazing parents. The secret is knowing Who to turn to.

On This Week On The Hill, the speaker sat down with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins days after his oldest daughter got married in Baton Rouge and admitted there were big changes this year in the Johnson household. “We have a lot going on with all of our kids reaching new milestones,” Johnson said.

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Their second child, Abby, “graduated [college and is] on the way to law school, and Jack begins at the Naval Academy in just a couple of weeks.” But the momentous news was Hannah’s wedding in early June, a “beautiful ceremony” at the Old State Capitol.

He and Kelly have known Cody, her new husband, since he was in the sixth grade. “He comes from a great Christian family. They’re equally yoked and that’s a great blessing. At the end of that night, Hannah, our oldest daughter, hugged me around the neck. We both had tears and she said, ‘Dad, this is the best night of my life,’ which is what every father wants to hear on a night like that. So a lot going on.”

It’s been a challenge, he admits, with all of his new responsibilities. Early on, getting used to the Capitol Police presence, the plans and protocols, the long days were difficult. Sitting down for a lengthy interview with The Atlantic in the first few months, Kelly admitted, “We’re not ever really alone.” Her husband looked at her sympathetically, agreeing, “We haven’t been alone since October 25.” Well, except for sleeping at night, she half-joked.

Nine months in, the Johnsons have adjusted as best they can. “… [B]eing speaker of the House, it’s [an] endless schedule and travel and all the rest,” Johnson told Perkins. “And everybody has to sacrifice a little bit. But we’re really blessed, because the kids are all bought in on this. They’re not kids anymore. They’re all growing up. Our youngest is 13, but they feel a part of it.”

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How does he manage it? “I try to incorporate them in as much as I’m doing and allow them to travel with me one at a time when we’re able to do that so that they feel a part of this,” the speaker said. “And they’re sacrificing, too. We all are. It’s an important time for the country, and we’re grateful to be called to it.”

Having a son leave for Annapolis must be difficult, Perkins said, knowing all of the woke policies forced on our military by the Biden administration. As a father, he wanted to know, how did Johnson process that?

The speaker was candid. “Well, you know, you’re double minded about it, right? I mean, Jack actually aspires to be a Navy SEAL, and he’s tough enough to do it. And who knows where God will lead him? But it’s a noble calling that he has. He’s felt it since he was a little guy. … And, you know, you want all your children to follow in the path that God’s chosen for them. Psalm 25 is something that I’m reminded of all the time. But you don’t want to have your children in harm’s way either. So, you know, as a parent, you’re always concerned.”

Johnson put on his political hat, emphasizing the importance of holding this administration accountable when it comes to our national defense. “…What we have to make sure of is that the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military and the military itself is in the best possible place to defend our country and to serve those who serve all of us and to make sure that quality of life is good, that they’re well equipped, well trained, and they’re ready to face any threat. And you want that for your own children,” he said. “You want it for everyone’s children who serve.”

At the end of the day, the dad of four said, “… [W]e’re [taking] this step prayerfully. I’m proud, a little apprehensive, but I’m really honored by his admission to the Naval Academy. He did it blind. He didn’t use his father’s name or anything, and [he] got through the process completely on his own merit. So he gets to walk tall knowing that fact. And we’re really, really blessed by all of it.”

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But when it comes to confronting the woke culture, Perkins pointed out, so much of that “goes back to the parents and preparing the foundation … so that our children can be out there making a difference.” Johnson emphatically agreed. “People ask Kelly and I all the time … ‘How have you done this? Your kids are all really well adjusted and great people.’ Well, there’s no secret to it,” he said.

“We’re not extraordinary parents,” Johnson wanted people to know. “We just follow the rule book — we follow the Bible — and we teach them that [it’s] real. It actually is an instruction manual for life. And when you develop in your children a true biblical worldview and where they understand how it applies and how reliable it is, and that’s the only reliable thing there is, then it takes hold in their heart.”

Scripture lays it out pretty clearly, Johnson explained. “It reminds us that if you teach [children] in that way, then they will not walk away from it. And we’ve just focused on that, kept it really simple, and made faith a real aspect of life that’s woven into all seven days of the week — not just Sunday mornings. … And we’re really blessed that they’re all walking with the Lord.”

He and Kelly think a lot about 3 John 1:4, “’I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking with the Lord.’ And ours do, by God’s grace,” he said gratefully. “We pray that they continue to do that — and I hope they will.”

This article appeared originally on The Washington Stand.

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The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview.