Archive for October, 2007

Driving and Dialing

My son is celebrating his 14th birthday with a gang of boys this weekend. Fortunately, another mother and I will be driving. I say fortunately because the closer it gets, the more I’m dreading his 16th.
Did you see the story in our ten o’clock news about teens and driving? We used to just worry about inexperience, distractions, and alcohol but now we have another culprit that is causing teens to have accidents — and it’s a big one.
Cellphones are becoming a major problem for teen-agers behind the wheel. And if you have a teen-ager you’ll understand exactly what I worry about. Not only do the kids talk to their friends but they TEXT all the time — imagine texting behind the wheel.
We plan to set up a contract with our son when he turns 16 and gets the privelege of driving a car. And he needs to understand it’s a privelege, not a right. Now, in addition to the hours he gets to drive, the number of friends he can carry with him, and the obvious rules about alcohol -I guess we’ll have a clause about using the cellphone while driving.
It’s already making me want one of those little cameras you can install in the car to see exactly what your child is doing.
But you know, that just doesn’t seem quite fair. And I probably don’t really want to know.


Interviewing Jenna

Interviewing Jenna Bush brings back lots of memories for me. I watch her now, a young woman who has written a book about her passion for helping others, and think back to the last time I talked to her.

Jenna must have been about 13. The Bush family was living in Preston Hollow and her father, George W. Bush, had just been elected Governor of Texas. It was around Christmas, there were boxes all over the house as they prepared to move, and the newly elected Governor was helping decorate the Christmas tree. He was stringing the lights and jokingly referred to himself as “the light man”.

At one point during my interview with him, he referred to a boy Jenna must have liked at the time, by name. I could hear Jenna yell from her bedroom, “Dad”! How horrifying to have to go to school the next day and face the boy your father had mentioned in a television interview.

That interview was years ago. The Governor of Texas of course went on to become President of the United States. The twins, Jenna and Barbara, finished high school in Austin, went their separate ways to college, and are now both engaged in challenging careers.

What is fun for me now is to watch Jenna. Having interviewed her mother, First Lady Laura Bush, several times I am struck by how much Jenna’s facial expressions and mannerisms resemble her Mom. And I am also amazed at how poised Jenna is for such a young woman.
She answers reporters’ questions quickly, with a bit of wit, and never gives away more information than she intends to.

She reminds me a lot of one of the most popular First Ladies ever, Laura Bush. She’s done well.

You have probably watched an interview with First Daughter Jenna Bush within the past few days. Jenna is on a tour, promoting her new book “Ana’s Story”. I have been impressed with how poised Jenna is for a relatively young woman. She has been asked some tough questions about her father’s plummeting poll ratings and the war in Iraq, and she has handled them all graciously.

But having interviewed Jenna’s mother, First Lady Laura Bush, several times perhaps I should not be surprised at how well Jenna does in an interview situation. I have always been struck by how well prepared and completely at ease Mrs. Bush is when I interview her. She listens intently, and is forthright in her answers. But it is obvious to any journalist that the First Lady is always prepared for any question. Jenna seems to have gleaned some of that confidence in front of the camera from her mother.

On a lighter note, I am astonished at how much Jenna’s mannerisms, facial expressions, and body language resemble her Mom’s. Jenna Bush is definitely her mother’s daughter — and I can’t think of a nicer compliment.

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