Jenna & Barbara Bush Give Advice to Sasha & Malia

"Enjoy your childhood in such a magical place," the former first daughters write

Photo: Rick Wilking/Landov; Jim Young/Landov

In keeping with tradition, President Bush left President Barack Obama a note in the White House – and now his daughters have offered their own advice, in the form of an open letter, to Sasha, 7, and Malia Obama, 10.

Published in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, Barbara and Jenna Bush reflect on their formative experiences in the White House – beginning as granddaughters to President George H.W. Bush.

“We also first saw the White House through the innocent, optimistic eyes of children,” they write, acknowledging their then-7-year-old-perspective.

From that point of view, the women offer the new first daughters tips what to expect as they prepare for their new lives in Washington, D.C. Here is some of their advice:

• “Surround yourself with loyal friends. They’ll protect and calm you and join in on some of the fun, and appreciate the history.”

• “Slide down the banister of the solarium, go to T-ball games, have swimming parties, and play Sardines on the White House lawn. Have fun and enjoy your childhood in such a magical place to live and play.”

• “Go to anything and everything you possibly can: the Kennedy Center for theater, State Dinners, Christmas parties (the White House staff party is our favorite!), museum openings, arrival ceremonies, and walks around the monuments. Just go. Four years goes by so fast, so absorb it all, enjoy it all!”

Of course, the Bush daughters returned to Washington, D.C. at age 18 – this time as first daughters, when their father, George W. Bush, was elected president in 2000.

“As older girls, we were constantly inspired by the amazing people we met, politicians and great philosophers like Vaclav Havel,” they write. “We dined with royalty, heads of states, authors, and activists.”

But despite the global perspective they gained, the Bush twins say their most important piece of advice involves their immediate family.

“Here is our most important piece of advice,” they write. “Remember who your dad really is.”

Read the entire letter – including the Bush daughter’s thoughts about pets and where to go when they need a hug – here.

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