George Bush Sr. on Families & Children

President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)


Family creed: Your word is your bond; be good loser & winner

The family philosophy was spelled out in a letter that Dad came across a few years ago. Generations later, it reminds me that the values of our family have remained the same. The letter was written by my great-grandfather George Herbert Walker. It was dated May 22, 1920, and addressed to his 4 youngest children. To me, it clearly spells out our family's creed.

"Always remember, my dear boys, that you are gentlemen and not muckers and that your word is your bond and inviolate. Go on and you will live to become useful men and good citizens. Use your heads. Be good losers and winners, too, play fair, and if in doubt, give the other fellow the benefit of it, and you will also grow to be good sportsmen, than which there is nothing finer. Give me a man who is one, and I will show you a man of high character and principles."

Source: My Father, My President, by Doro Koch Bush, p. 10 , Oct 6, 2006

Bush family motto: Do The Right Thing

Bush's ancestor James was a Presbyterian minister. James served as chaplain on a risky voyage to South America. The story is told in Rev. Bush's paper "The Trip of Monadnock," which he read before the Concord Lyceum in 1886. The episode is worth recounting here because it gave the Bush family their guiding motto.

During the voyage, a fire started near the magazine where the explosives were kept. The captain, Mr. Franklin, leapt into the hold to put the fire out despite the horrible danger of being killed along with all on board. The captain's courage and his success at putting the fire out so inspired Rev. Bush that he challenged the Concord Lyceum, "Is it not by the courage always to do the right thing that the fires of hell shall be put out?" With these words, "Do the Right Thing" became the Bush family motto and has been passed from generation to generation.

Source: The Faith of George W. Bush, by Stephen Mansfield, p. 6-7 , Apr 12, 2004

Get deadbeat dads to pay up, to help single moms

CLINTON: There's been a lot of talk about family values in this campaign. I know a lot about that. I was born to a widowed mother who gave me family values. I think the President owes it to family values to show that he values America's families. Whether they're people on welfare, or working families.

BUSH: The Mayor of Los Angeles, a Democrat, said the decline in urban America stems from the decline in the American family. So I do think we need to strengthen family. I believe that discipline and respect for the law, all of these things, should be taught to children, not in our schools but families have to do that. I'm appalled at the high, outrageous numbers of divorces. In a single-parent family, those mothers need help. One way to do it is to get these deadbeat fathers to pay their obligations to these mothers. That will help strengthen the American family.

Source: The First Clinton-Bush-Perot Presidential Debate , Oct 11, 1992

Best environment for kids is two-parent family

Author's note: On May 19, at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Vice President Dan Quayle gave his famous Murphy Brown speech--also stressing the theme of family values. It set off a political firestorm. Here, the President addresses the issue:

"I believe that children should have the benefit of being born into families where the mother and a father will give them love and care and attention all their lives. I spoke on this family point in Notre Dame the other day. I've talked to Barbara about it a lot, and we both feel strongly that that is the best environment in which to raise kids. It's not always possible, but that's the best environment. I think it results in giving a kid the best shot at the American Dream, incidentally. One of the things that concerns me deeply is the fact that there are an awful lot of broken families."
(The President's news conference with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada, White House South Lawn)

Source: Heartbeat, by Jim McGrath, p.208 , May 20, 1992

Moral sense comes from your family, not Big Brother

"Government cannot solve all the problems. We may be able to make good laws, but it's never been able to make good men. That doesn't come from Big Brother. It comes from your family. It comes from your mother and father. And I'm talking about the moral sense that must guide us all. In the simplest terms, I am talking about knowing what's wrong and doing what's right."
Remarks at a Bush-Quayle fund-raising luncheon at the Duquesne University Union Building, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Source: Heartbeat, by Jim McGrath, p.207 , May 15, 1992

No welfare sponsorship for teen moms out of wedlock

This spring I will send you a comprehensive welfare reform bill that builds on the Family Support Act of 1988 and restores the basic values of work and responsibility. We'll say to teenagers, "If you have a child out of wedlock, we will no longer give you a check to set up a separate household. We want families to stay together"; say to absent parents who aren't paying their child support, "If you're not providing for your children, we'll garnish your wages, suspend your license, track you across State lines, and if necessary, make some of you work off what you owe." People who bring children into this world cannot and must not walk away from them.
Source: Pres. Bush's 1992 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 28, 1992

Family Savings Plan: incentives for more saving

We need to save more. We need to expand the pool of capital for new investments that need more jobs and more growth. And that's the idea behind a new initiative I call the Family Savings Plan, which I will send to Congress tomorrow.

We need to cut the tax on capital gains, encourage risktakers, especially those in our small businesses, to take those steps that translate into economic reward, jobs, and a better life for all of us.

Source: Pres. Bush's 1990 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 31, 1990

Our anchor has always been faith and family

The anchor in our world today is freedom, holding us steady in times of change, a symbol of hope to all the world. And freedom is at the very heart of the idea that is America. Giving life to that idea depends on every one of us. Our anchor has always been faith and family.

Tonight I'm going to ask something of every one of you. Now, let me start with my generation, with the grandparents out there. You are our living link to the past. Tell your grandchildren the story of struggles waged at home and abroad, of sacrifices freely made for freedom's sake.

And, parents, your children look to you for direction and guidance. Tell them of faith and family. Tell them we are one nation under God. Teach them that of all the many gifts they can receive liberty is their most precious legacy, and of all the gifts they can give the greatest is helping others.

And to the children and young people out there tonight: With you rests our hope. Fix your vision on a new century.

Source: Pres. Bush's 1990 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 31, 1990

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Other past presidents on Families & Children: George Bush Sr. on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022