Today show co-host Jenna Bush Hager, who attended Hockaday and Preston Hollow Elementary, recently talked to Hoda Kotb about the time in 2001 when she was cited for possession of alcohol as a minor and using a fake ID to purchase alcohol as a 19-year-old college student at the University of Texas. Her dad, George W. Bush, was president at the time and she worried about what he would say because it made him look bad. “He apologized to me because what we wanted more than anything was to just be normal college kids,” Jenna said. “So he always would say, ‘No, you can be normal.’ He also wanted to give us what we wanted, some space and to grow, and also I think he wanted to give us the chance to make mistakes, not so publicly.” She said the incident taught her about why it’s a good thing for parents to let their children fail. “I for one had parents that let us fail, let us fall and publicly,” she said. “And I always say to them now, ‘How brave of you,’ because it didn’t reflect great on them.”

In February, Hager recalled when Bush talked to her in her 20’s about alcohol at a family wedding. “He said, ‘I found in my life it got in the way of the things that mattered most, and I want to make sure that you just know that it can and be aware of it,’” Jenna recalled on Today. Bush gave up drinking in his 40’s. “I do think it was such a model to me about how I want to parent, which is to be transparent about either things that have happened in our family’s past, or things that you know that can happen to your kids,” Hager said. “He [also] said, ‘I just want you to know that there was a point in my life where I thought like this is interrupting what’s beautiful…’ I always appreciated it, and I still do.”


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