Jenna Bush Hager On Debates With Grandparents: "Into their 90s, they changed their views on things"

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Playing Jenna Bush Hager Recalls Heartwarming Story of Barbara Bush at 92: "Your lunch changed my mind"
Jenna Bush Hager Recalls Heartwarming Story of Barbara Bush at 92: "Your lunch changed my mind" Aired September 24, 2020

Jenna Bush Hager's new book, Everything Beautiful In Its Time, includes impactful stories and sweet memories of her late grandparents, George H.W. and Barbara Bush. Here, Jenna opens up about missing them now more than ever and reminisces about the open political conversations they used to have as a family.

"A lot of people have longed for those that are gone recently. I have just longed to sit at a table—I can imagine it—with my grandfather on one side and my grandmother on the other, and debate and talk," Jenna says. "And people have asked me a lot through this book tour, 'How did your family have political conversations?' And we had them, but they were always based in love. We had them openly. We weren't scared to talk about things, because we knew at the root of our relationship, was love."

"I believe our leaders need to lead with that same love, with that respect, with that dignity and kindness," she continues, "and I long to sit with them and hear what they have to say and debate, because they loved debating. They loved hearing other people. That's the other key — is when we listen."

George H.W. and Barbara were public figures, of course, but Jenna reveals something she says people might not realize about her grandparents. "One of the things that I am so proud of them for, that I don't know if people would know, is that both of them, even into their 90s, changed their views on things," she says.

Jenna shares a story about a lunch Barbara had with the writer and presidential biographer, Jon Meacham, and Timothy Naftali, a historian and professor at New York University. 

"Tim was talking to my grandmother about coming out as gay. And then the conversation went to transgender rights. And my grandmother was 92, so she told him her opinion, he told her his. He told me he left the meeting, the lunch, and he was like, 'Oh my gosh, why did I push that old woman? She's 90 years old, and I just pushed my views on her.' And she listened, of course. And then a few weeks later, he received a letter that said, 'Your lunch changed my mind.' And I just thought, if a 92-year-old can listen enough and open their hearts to have those types of conversations, can't we all do better?"

We couldn't agree more! ❤️

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