56 Endearing Barbara Bush Quotes About Family, Love, Life and Politics

Barbara Bush (June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018) was the second lady and the first lady. She is one of only two women who distinguish between being married to one president and mother to another (the other woman was Abigail Adams).

Regardless of most people’s politics, they usually have the utmost respect for Barbara Bush. She was a family woman, respected people. One of her life goals (and a project while she was the first lady) was to get more children to learn how to read, especially at a young age. Keep reading to find 56 of her most endearing and relatable quotes.

Barbara Bush – Our Favorite Quotes

1. “If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: ‘Take two aspirin’ and ‘Keep away from children.’” – Barbara Bush

2. “As important as your obligations as a doctor, lawyer or business leader will be, you are a human being first.” – Barbara Bush

3. “Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, … And to the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility.” – Barbara Bush

4. “Believe in something larger than yourself.” – Barbara Bush

5. “Today, America is confronting another disaster that has caused destruction and loss of life, … This time the devastation resulted not from the malice of evil men, but from the fury of water and wind.” – Barbara Bush

6. “Don’t complain and don’t explain.” – Barbara Bush

7. “One of the many things we have learned in all our travels is that it’s the people who count… most people everywhere are interesting, and if you can’t find a friend, then maybe there is something wrong with you.” – Barbara Bush

8. “Libraries have always seemed like the richest places in the world to me, and I’ve done some of my best learning and thinking thanks to them. Libraries and librarians have definitely changed my life, and the lives of countless other Americans.” – Barbara Bush

9. “Did you know that if a child never misses a day of school from first grade to twelfth grade, he or she would have spent only 9 percent of his or her life in the classroom? The other 91 percent is spent in the home or out in the community. We cannot expect teachers and the schools to solve all our children’s problems.” – Barbara Bush

10. “The personal things should be left out of platforms at conventions. You can argue yourself blue in the face, and you’re not going to change each other’s minds. It’s a waste of your time and my time. “ – Barbara Bush

11. “You try to do something every single day that will help an American or maybe someone overseas.” – Barbara Bush

12. “Treat everyone equally, don’t look down on anyone, use your voices for good, read all the great books.” – Barbara Bush

13. “I hate abortions, but just could not make that choice for someone else.” – Barbara Bush

14. “For heaven’s sake, enjoy life. Don’t cry over things that were or things that aren’t.” – Barbara Bush

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15. “Nancy Reagan was a perfectionist, and I am not.” – Barbara Bush

16. “Three publishers came to me at the White House after George lost and said, ‘We would like to publish your book.’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t have a book,’ and they said well it’s a well known fact that you have kept diaries.” – Barbara Bush

17. “The goal is to find the balance between going after your dreams AND finding happiness in what you have.” – Barbara Bush

18. “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” – Comments after visiting refugees from Hurricane Katrina and were being temporarily housed in the Houston Astrodome. – Barbara Bush

19. “Live your life with love as your guiding principle — keep your family and close friends close.” – Barbara Bush

20. “Once, when George and I were visiting after we were married, Mother asked him not to go to the bathroom at night because he woke her up when he flushed the toilet. George, already inventive at 21 years of age, went out the window!” – Barbara Bush

21. “When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.” – Barbara Bush

22. “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.” – Barbara Bush

23. “Describing life out of the public eye to David Letterman, December 6th, 1996 It’s been different. I started driving again. I started cooking again. My driving’s better than my cooking. George has discovered Sam’s Club.” – Barbara Bush

24. “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”

25. “To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” – Barbara Bush

26. “. . . learning never ends, and as we enter the next century, it will be more and more important for all Americans to be lifelong learners. . . . every one of us can contribute in some way to a better-educated America.” – Barbara Bush

27. “I think togetherness is a very important ingredient to family life.” – Barbara Bush

28. “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” – Barbara Bush

29. “As if we don’t have enough volence on television. After her husband accidentally hit two spectators with golf balls during a celebrity golf tournament.” – Barbara Bush

30. “The darn trouble with cleaning the house is it gets dirty the next day anyway, so skip a week if you have to. The children are the most important thing.” – Barbara Bush

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31. “Believe in something larger than yourself … to get involved in some of the big ideas of our time. “ – Barbara Bush

32. “Why be afraid of what people will say? Those who care about you will say, Good luck! and those who care only about themselves will never say anything worth listening to anyway.” – Barbara Bush

33. “Where will our country find leaders with integrity, courage, strength-all the family values-in ten, twenty, or thirty years? The answer is that you are teaching them, loving them, and raising them right now.” – Barbara Bush

34. “Whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there’s somebody who has got something to say to the president, that’s part of the job, … And I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.” – Barbara Bush

35. “I’m a liberal when it comes to human rights, the poor; so’s George Bush. . . . But Liberal and Conservative don’t mean much to me anymore. Does that mean we care about people and are interested and want to help? And if that makes you a Liberal, so be it.” – Barbara Bush

36. “Never ask anyone over 70 how they feel. They’ll tell you.” – Barbara Bush

37. “You get nothing done if you don’t listen to each other.” – Barbara Bush

38. “I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell this to my children, they just about throw up.” – Barbara Bush

39. “The pearls are to cover the wrinkles, which they no longer do. You can’t wear pearls all over your face.” – Barbara Bush

40. “Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood. But everyone has something to give.” – Barbara Bush

41. “Future of his nation does not depend on what happens at the White House, but what happens at your house” – Barbara Bush

42. “You just don’t luck into things as much as you’d like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it’s friendships or opportunities.” – Barbara Bush

43. “I have had great medical care and more operations than you would believe. I’m not sure God will recognize me; I have so many new body parts!” – Barbara Bush

44. “Why be afraid of what people will say? Those who care about you will say, Good luck! and those who care only about themselves will never say anything worth listening to anyway.” – Barbara Bush

45. “I can’t say it, but it rhymes with ‘rich.'” – Barbara Bush

46. “We all make our contributions to the world and I suppose mine will not be to the literary treasures of the western civilization, … But I do hope to contribute in my own way, and one of those ways is to bring closer the day when every child and every American learns to read.” – Barbara Bush

47. “One of the reasons I made the most important decision of my life… to marry George Bush… is because he made me laugh. It’s true, sometimes we’ve laughed through our tears… but that shared laughter has been one of our strongest bonds.” – Barbara Bush

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48. “The home is the child’s first school, the parent is the child’s first teacher, and reading is the child’s first subject.” – Barbara Bush

49. “I hate the fact that people think compromise is a dirty word.” – Barbara Bush

50. “Your success as a family… our success as a nation… depends not on what happens inside the White House, but on what happens inside your house.” – Barbara Bush

51. “If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” – Barbara Bush

52. “I don’t think that’s healthy for the country when anyone thinks their morals are better than anyone else’s.” – Barbara Bush

53. “People who worry about their hair all the time, frankly, are boring.” – Barbara Bush

54. “Bias has to be taught. If you hear your parents downgrading women or people of different backgrounds, why, you are going to do that.” – Barbara Bush

55. “And who knows? Somewhere out there in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse. I wish him well!” – Barbara Bush

56. “Well, look at what people are doing for returned veterans now. The wounded warriors. They’re working hard to make the wounded veterans feel that they are loved and welcomed home, unlike Vietnam. It was not a very kind, gentle world then. I think we are kinder and gentler. “ – Barbara Bush

Related quotes from other strong powerful female political figures: Hillary Clinton Quotes,  Caroline Kennedy Quotes and Nancy Pelosi Quotes

Video: A Look Back at Some of Barbara Bush’s Most Memorable Moments

Barbara Bush passed away in 2018  at age 92, leaving behind a lasting legacy. She also became an extended member of the TODAY family when granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager joined the show in 2009. Savannah Guthrie remembers the former first lady’s most notable moments on the broadcast over the years.

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As you can see, Barbara Bush had a lot to say over the years. Her notable quotes covered many different subjects, but one theme in everything she said was how important she regarded love, friendship, and compassion towards others.

Many people could learn a lot from Barbara Bush, even now after she is gone.

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