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Barbara Bush: Strong Sons and the Even Stronger Mothers Who’ve Gone Before Them

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

Yesterday we received the sad news that America lost one of our favorite First Ladies, Barbara Bush. I have been greatly inspired by Barbara Bush’s life and service to our country and although her family and the country are grieving, we are also celebrating such an amazing woman and icon for our nation.

As the wife of former president George Bush and mother to former president George W. Bush, Barbara Bush was the first woman since Abigail Adams to be both the wife of a president and mother to another president. She was also the mother of the former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush.

Time Magazine called her the “no-nonsense First Lady who ran the family that ran the country.”

In her life, Mrs. Bush did many incredible things:

– She gave birth to six children.

– She suffered the loss of one of those children.

– She lived in China when George Bush was U.S. envoy to China.

– She started the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

– She has probably spent more time in the White House or on the campaign trail than anyone else. She even attended her son Jeb’s campaign events as late as 2016 when she had already taken ill.

This list is impressive, but it doesn’t surprise me. Having such strong men in the house is a sure sign of having a strong woman in the house. I have no doubt that Barbara Bush influenced her sons just as much as their father influenced them.

Mothers of sons, let Barbara Bush’s life be an inspiration to you. Strong mothers raise strong sons.

Sons learn so much from their mothers, but perhaps the biggest lessons are these: wisdom and responsibility. As women, we have an intuition that tells us what is right for our kids. It’s built into us. That’s wisdom. As the stabilizing force in our families—the ones who have given birth to and fed our children from birth—we also have an innate sense of responsibility. Because of this, our sons often learn these two important qualities from us.

In a culture where being successful trumps being wise and improving one’s status matters more than being responsible, we mothers know that we have our work cut out for us when teaching the lessons of wisdom and responsibility to our sons. But we are the perfect ones to do this.

We accomplish this first by modeling good wisdom and responsibility ourselves. We trust our gut and intuition, and we stand firm in doing what we believe is best for our kids as they are growing up. Then when they are older, we can challenge them to follow us in our behavior. We do this by implementing strong boundaries and by speaking up.

If your son is about to make a destructive decision, we tell him. If he has broken a rule, we enforce the consequences. All the while ensuring him we are allies with him, not enemies. Our sons need to know that we have their backs, even if it doesn’t seem this way.

Moms, when you are strong with your sons they will respect the rules you’ve put in place and eventually they will see how much wisdom and responsibility is required for setting boundaries and sticking to them. This will instill the invaluable lessons of wisdom and responsibility in your son.

We can certainly assume this is true in the Bush family. It takes an incredible amount of wisdom and responsibility to lead a community and a country. I cannot help but believe the Bush boys saw these attributes strongly reflected in their no-nonsense mother.

As I celebrate the life of Barbara Bush, I am celebrating mothers of sons everywhere because while I am forever grateful for what this First Lady did for our country, I am even more grateful for what she did for her family first.

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