Honoring Barbara Bush

Earlier this evening, Barbara Bush passed away at the age of ninety-two. An extraordinary woman of great faith and strength, she served as the 37th First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

She was one of only two First Ladies who was also the mother of a president, a distinction she shared with John Adams’ wife Abigail, the mother of John Quincy Adams.

Mrs. Bush devoted her life—during and beyond the White House years—to the cause of universal literacy. She authored two children’s books, C. Fred’s Story and the best-selling Millie’s Book, both of which have benefited literacy through proceeds from sales.

My Favorite Quotations from Barbara Bush…

Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.

You have to love your children unselfishly. That is hard. But it is the only way.

You just don’t luck into things as much as you’d like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it’s friendships or opportunities.

Believe in something larger than yourself… get involved in the big ideas of your time.

Your success as a family… our success as a nation… depends not on what happens inside the White House, but on what happens inside your house.

Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood. But everyone has something to give.

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.

When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.

Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.

And who knows? Somewhere out there in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse. I wish him well!

I have enjoyed reading her books and listening to her interviews. An inspiring and entertaining speaker, Mrs. Bush delivered the Wellesley commencement address in 1990. It was listed as #45 in American Rhetoric’s Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century.


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