Laura Bush Speaks from the Heart
Today, Barbara is the founder of Global Health Corps, a nonprofit working to improve medical care in the United States and Africa. Like her mom, Jenna became an elementary school teacher—and also serves as an education correspondent for NBC's Today.
Both women say their parents never pressured them to be part of the political scene. "They never asked us to do anything. Everything that we did was because we wanted to," Jenna says. "I think they wanted us to be normal, and they said over and over again: 'This is our decision. We've chosen to serve our country in this way, and we don't want it to impede on your lives,' which it didn't."
Barbara says it's because of Laura that she and Jenna are now pursuing their passions. "Growing up, my mom was very aware of what we were interested in," Barbara says. "When we were in high school and my mom just sort of put these ideas in front of us that she thought we would be interested in, and we totally were and just grabbed it and ran with it."
Laura says she always wanted her girls to find their own paths. "I remember when George was thinking about running for president and Jenna and George had a talk on the little back garden of the governor's mansion and Jenna said, 'You're going to ruin my life,'" she says. "And George said, 'Jenna, your mother and I are living our lives, and we raised you and Barbara to live your lives.' And we really did. And they've done it. They've just been so terrific."