Laura Bush Offers Advice to Parents at Home With Kids Amid COVID-19: 'Love Them, Hug Them'
"When your children look back on the impact COVID-19 had on their lives, they won’t remember having frozen pizza three nights in a row, or that the laundry piled up for a week," Bush, 73, writes. "They’ll remember that you helped with homework and read to them; that you sat with them for dinner and listened to their concerns; that you had popcorn for movie night, drew with chalk on the sidewalk, or went for a family walk."
The former two-term first lady's letter was published in the latest edition of the Bush Institute’s digital magazine, The Catalyst, published Tuesday.
Bush writes that doctors, nurses, and other frontline service members are acting in heroic fashion during the pandemic, but there's also heroes working every day in ways we might not see on the surface.
"We found that heroes can also be teachers, store managers sewing masks to fit children, principals who organize community car parades to show students they are still loved, or even a neighbor who picks up groceries so a mom can stay healthy at home with her newborn baby," she says. "Now is a great time to teach our children that everyone can be a hero."
Bush gave some examples of how everyday Americans are acting heroically during the pandemic: a teacher in Maine who posts videos of herself reading children's books on Facebook in order to give parents a needed break; a teacher in North Carolina who helped acquire internet access for her students so they can continue learning at home, and another in Los Angeles who called her Spanish-speaking grandmother to help communicate with Spanish-speaking parents of students who are adjusting to the new normal at home.
But the former First Lady, whose two terms in the White House lasted from 2001-2009, suggests there's a bit of that heroism in everyone.
"Despite the challenging circumstances, and the dire headlines we read, there is still reason for hope in our country," Bush writes.
"America is full of helpers," she continues. "And during times of crisis, the desire to help others is strongest."
Bush and her husband, President George W. Bush, are parents to fraternal twins Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, 38. The former first couple also has three grandchildren through Bush Hager, a co-host on the Today show, who gave birth to her son Hal last August and has two daughters (Mila, 7, and Poppy, 4).
"My mama taught me how to be a mom," Bush Hager wrote on Mother's Day in an Instagram post, sharing images of her mom and grandmother Barbara Bush, the matriarch of the Bush Family who passed away last April.
More than 90,000 people across the U.S. have died from the COVID-19 pandemic and there have been more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to a New York Times tracker.
Shutdowns designed to help slow the spread of the virus also caused schools to close across the country in mid-March, forcing students, teachers and parents alike to adapt to e-learning and new schedules with children staying at home all day.
But Bush says she doesn't think the challenges of this period will be what children remember years later. Instead, she believes kids will remember the time they spent with their parents the most.
"Love them, hug them," Bush writes. "Spend time with them, keep them safe, and tell them that sunny days will return again."
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