Jenna Bush Hager and her family may have been featured in People’s World’s Most Beautiful issue this year, but Bush Hager's already working on steering her daughters—Poppy Louise, 21 months, and Margaret “Mila” Laura, 4—away from focusing on superficial values, like being "pretty" or "skinny." The Today show correspondent wrote a letter on the show's website as part of their "Love Your Body" series, and throughout the piece, she shared empowering hopes for her girls.
"My hearts, you, too, will look in the mirror and not always like what you see," Bush Hager writes. "You might not feel skinny enough or pretty enough. But if Daddy and I do our jobs, you will look in the mirror and always like who you see. And that, my babes, is far more important."
Addressing these themes of self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-image is important for all parents, but moms of girls know that their children are growing up with very specific challenges. As Bush Hager writes, "My darling girls, that purity and light I see in your eyes could one day be shattered by our world. You will see images on TV and in movies and magazines to which you will inevitably compare yourself. And you will feel that you come up short. I know that I did."
But one thing that the former First Daughter says helped her navigate the bumpy road of body image as an adolescent was the way her parents—George W. Bush and Laura Bush—encouraged her to see herself. "I was lucky because even though your grandparents encouraged me to like what I see, they emphasized that I should like how I think, how I care and how I make those around me feel," she explains in the letter. "They taught me that who I am is more important than how I look. And that if I radiate love, kindness and empathy, I can bring some light to this dark world (and isn't that better than being a size zero?)."
Sure, Mila and Poppy may be toddlers now, but props to Hager for getting this conversation started sooner rather than later. Surely, it will be an ongoing one, which will make her daughters feel stronger and more capable of making their dreams come true. And if that's the case, there's no doubt Jenna and her husband Henry will have much to be proud of.