In "All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings," the 41st president shares some of his famous (and cherished) hand-written letters. Here, his granddaughter reflects on all she's learned from both grandparents.
1. Don't talk too much about yourself
My grandfather's mother, my great-grandma, always said: "Don't brag. There is nothing more boring than someone who only talks about themselves."
And it's true. No one wants to hear how terrific you are. Prove it; show it. My grandfather is an unbelievably humble man. He never talks about his accomplishments; instead, he asks others about their lives. That is part of his charm.
He's taught me a lot about humility and sharing successes.
2. Have lots of loyal friends — and be one
Loyal friendships have always been one of the great treasures of my grandparents' lives. They have numerous friends who have stood by them in hard times, and in joy. Recently, a friend of my grandfather's — who will remain nameless — sneaked vodka into the hospital so he could have an evening martini. Now, that's friendship!
And my grandparents have shown us that family and friends are more important than our careers and political aspirations. President Clinton — who in some ways was a political rival — has become a dear friend. Washington should learn a thing or two from these men.
My grandparents LOVE to laugh. Sitting around a dinner table with them, things can turn pretty quickly from normal conversation to outrageous laughter. I think more than anything, they like to see those they love sitting together, happy.
My grandfather's humor can be disarming. His taste in jokes vary from the tired knock-knocks — to ones that are a bit racy.
They've taught all of us, the importance of having a sense of humor, and never taking yourself too seriously.
When Henry and I were married, we had three couples who we admire choose whatever text they wanted, and read at our wedding.
We, of course, asked my grandparents to read. They have set an amazing example, and shown us what it means to unconditionally love. Even now, when I asked my grandfather who inspires him, he said: "Barbara."
They fell in love when they were only 19 and now at 88, they are not only still married, but adore each other.
When my grandfather was sick for several months this winter, it was my grandmother who encouraged him to live. She rarely left the hospital, read to him daily, and gave him no option but to get better.
5. Write handwritten notes
I could never write as eloquently as my Gampy, but cherishing the letters he's written to me over the years makes me realize the importance of sending letters to those I love.