Life

Bush Sisters To Obama Sisters: ‘Enjoy College… Make Mistakes’

Barbara and Jenna Bush's open letter to Malia and Sasha Obama offers wise, funny advice.

Doesn’t it feel as though our country is more divided than ever before? Battle lines have been drawn between Republicans and Democrats, and it seems like nobody can get along.

It will probably be a while before the post-election animosity dies down, but there is hope on the horizon. Gestures of unity and togetherness are being made around the country, and one such gesture just came from the Bush sisters.

Jenna and Barbara Bush recently published an open letter to Malia and Sasha Obama on TIME’s website, chock-full of warm, womanly advice about college, growing up and making mistakes.

Here are some of the sweet excerpts. First, they recount meeting the Obamas and the day the girls (then just 10 years old and 7 years old) moved into the White House. Though First Daughters, they still had plenty of childhood playfulness:

Jenna and Barbara recall the spirit of adventure Malia and Sasha shared:

“The four of us wandered the majestic halls of the house you had no choice but to move in to. When you slid down the banister of the solarium, just as we had done as 8-year-olds and again as 20-year-olds chasing our youth, your joy and laughter were contagious.”

They compliment the girls on how they have grown with grace and wisdom, and they encourage them to show gratitude and remembrance to the White House team who have supported them and protected them for so many years:

“Never forget the wonderful people who work at the White House…We stay in touch with our Secret Service. They were part of growing up for us: there for first dates, first days and even an engagement and a honeymoon. We know it wasn’t always easy—the two of you and the two of us were teenagers trailed by men in backpacks—but they put their lives on hold for us.”

On the road. #OpportunityForAll

A photo posted by Barack Obama (@barackobama) on

The Bush sisters also offer advice for the coming years of college ahead.

“Enjoy college… Explore your passions. Learn who you are. Make mistakes—you are allowed to. Continue to surround yourself with loyal friends who know you, adore you and will fiercely protect you.”

They end the note by telling the Obama sisters that they will be rooting for them. What a kind note and a warm gesture of unity and friendliness. We can all learn from their willingness to reach across the aisle. Here’s to four amazing, intelligent women and their public service.