11: George W. Bush (Part 2) - The Importance of Evolving Relationships With Laughter & Unconditional Love


In this episode we are bringing you part two of our three part interview with President George W. Bush. The conversation between Doro and President Bush took place early in 2018. Mrs. Barbara Bush left her family and all of us on April 17, 2018. You will hear in this conversation how like many of us with aging parents Doro and President Bush are thinking about the future loss of those they love and the impact parents have had on their lives.

We also talk about the special relationship between President George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. The qualities that make a good leader, and the importance of laughter, levity, and making others laugh. President Bush also shares some childhood stories and how his relationship with his mom evolved. We also share how all of the Bush relationships are based on unconditional love.


George W. Bush

Twitter: @TheBushCenter

Instagram: @georgewbush



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Show Notes

  • [01:21] President Bush is the only president who has had living parents after his presidency.

  • [01:58] One of the most meaningful parts of President George W. Bush's and his father's relationship was when his father would call him and say that he was proud of him.

  • [02:06] George H. W. Bush was from that era where men didn't say I love you, but over time he began to say it a lot. It really mattered to George W. Bush.

  • [02:47] It's much harder to be the son or father of a president than it is to be the president.

  • [03:02] You know there is going to be criticism. You accept the criticism. Even though, some of it is incredibly unfair and some of it is valid.

  • [03:05] The American people watch the president very carefully. If the president is upset or full of pity, those aren't good leadership traits.

  • [03:11] Humility is one of the most important leadership traits. Recognize what you don't know and find people who do know and listen to them.

  • [03:26] People want to follow somebody with a vision. This vision has to be informed by principles.

  • [03:41] It's important to have a culture that's not based upon an individual but is based on service to the country.

  • [03:55] Good leaders can laugh, share credit, and take blame.

  • [04:16] Don't misunderestimate the strategery of a dinner between President Bush and Lorne Michaels.

  • [05:30] President Bush explains how we got the idea of writing 41: A Portrait of My Father.

  • [06:19] President Bush is the oldest and he was kind of an experiment. His mom said he turned out the way he did, because she smoked and drank when she was pregnant with him.

  • [06:40] His childhood was disrupted by the death of their sister Robin.

  • [06:56] After Robin died, his mother kind of clung to him. President Bush was similar to his mom and occasionally they would clash.

  • [07:42] President Bush shares a story about how his friend, who he is still friends with today, asked him to come and play, and he responded that he couldn't because he had to play with his mom. This is when Barbara Bush realized that she may have been kind of smothering him.

  • [08:18] President Bush shares a story about how he had to drive his mother to the hospital when he was 14 years old.

  • [10:01] All of the Bush children relate to their parents differently, but it is all based on unconditional love.

  • [10:49] The challenges of dealing with aging parents.

  • [11:14] There is no life without death. There is an inevitability to it.

  • [11:31] Aging joyfully is a wonderful lesson to pass on.

  • [13:40] Doro shares how George told her not to cry when their dad was in the hospital, then he came out of the room crying.

  • [14:34] President Bush was fortunate to be a two term president, and when he left the White House they were ready to start a new chapter in their life. They were also comfortable going back to their ranch in Crawford.

  • [15:40] Waking up with no responsibility was kind of an eerie feeling. President Bush started writing Decision Points the very next day.

  • [16:23] There are fabulous mountain bike trails at the ranch in Crawford. It's quiet and peaceful.

  • [16:43] The Bushes have a tree farm. Laura has restored some of the native grasses in the prairie, and in the spring, the flowers are spectacular.

  • [17:04] They also entertain a lot.

Links and Resources:

My Father, My President

41: A Portrait of My Father

Decision Points

“The most meaningful part of my relationship with my dad was when he would call and say son, I am very proud of you.” George W. Bush

“It's much harder to be the son or father of a president than it is to be the president.” George W. Bush

“The best humor when you are president is being able to make fun of yourself, and I was quite capable of that” George W. Bush