Barbara Bush speaks to grads about family values


MILWAUKEE -- First lady Barbara Bush Sunday stressed family values and volunteerism and even worked in a reference to the recent hit movie 'Wayne's World' in her commencement speech at Marquette University.

'You invited a mother of five and a grandmother of 12 here today, so I'm going to talk to you about family,' Mrs. Bush said. 'Your own, and that of the larger community and society as a whole.'


The first lady said the graduates should be under no illusions about the nature of family life, saying it is not easy.

'Most of you are probably thinking about raising a family right now about as much as those two characters on 'Wayne's World,'' she said, referring to the recent hit movie based on the antics of two teenagers -- played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey -- who first gained popularity in skits on the 'Saturday Night Live' TV show.

Mrs. Bush told the graduates they need to put success at home before any other success in life. She said this valuing of the family is necessary to improve communities.

'There is no such thing as a one-minute parent,' Mrs. Bush said. 'There are no shortcuts. Your children must come first in your lives.'


'In the past, our families taught us how to respect one another, how to love and be loved, which carried over into our communities,' she said. 'Along the way, we lost some of that.'

The first lady said problems such as rape, violence and drugs are now rampant in schools, superseding old problems such as cutting class, not doing homework and tardiness.

She said the graduates should make it their lives' challenge to improve their own country through volunteerism and increased family time.

'My husband says any definition of success in America must include service to others,' she said.

Mrs. Bush asked the graduates to reflect on their future.

'Remember, at the end of your life, you will never regret the project you didn't finish on time for work. You will regret the time you did not spend with your spouse, children and relatives,' she said.

The first lady received an honorary doctor of laws degree from university President Rev. Albert J. DiUlio.

In a speech before the presentation, Educational Opportunity Program Director Sande Robinson said Mrs. Bush is more than just a figurehead to the American people.

'Her commitment extends beyond nominal leadership to the generous contribution of time and resources to support efforts to raise the national level of literacy,' Robinson said. 'She is America's 'first mom.''


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