McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–An open letter to Jenna Bush:
I rarely dole out unsolicited advice. However, given the media frenzy over your recent youthful indiscretions, I thought I might offer insight from my experience. I feel particularly qualified to give this counsel because not only did I come of age in the Austin area, but I also have some knowledge of covert alcohol procurement, which is the politically correct term for a minor purchasing beer.
I really don’t understand all the media attention you’re getting. While you’ve made some mistakes, it’s not like you had illicit sex in the Oval Office or had a baby out of wedlock. Of course if you had, I am sure some liberal leader would have already rushed to your defense asserting it to be a private matter between you, your family and your God.
I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to have your embarrassing teenage peccadilloes flaunted by the media for the world to see. All I ever had to deal with was the rumor mill of a small central Texas town. The only place my transgressions were discussed was the local pool hall. I have no idea what it is like to be the topic of worldwide gossip. Hang in there, this too shall pass.
Telling your parents in person that you got busted trying to buy booze with someone else’s ID is difficult, at best. It has to be particularly tough to have them pre-informed by the Associated Press. I can almost hear one end of the phone conversation, “Yes, Jenna dear, we have seen USA Today. What’s that? Yes, I suppose it is a good picture.”
Jenna, it is not fair what is happening to you. However, you have to realize that your dad is not just any president of the United States. He is a conservative who also has the audacity to talk about his faith in God. More than that, he asserts Jesus Christ has changed his life. What some in the media are attempting to do is hold you to your father’s standard. It might be small consolation, but practically every preacher’s kid in the Bible Belt knows the feeling. I can’t tell you how to deal with these perverse expectations. Only that if you don’t want to spend most of your time feeling sorry for yourself, you just have to learn to deal with it.
Don’t think I take this alcohol thing lightly. Like your dad, I also had a problem with alcohol in my younger days. Neither of us is proud of that fact, but it is a reality we cannot deny. To this day there are evenings, even whole days I can’t recall. I have absolutely no memory of what I did on particular occasions. Let me tell you, this is NOT a good feeling. Don’t let booze taint your life. Learn from your father’s example and just say no.
There is something you have to contend with that few ever will; there are people who want you to fail. They can’t stand your father and they get perverse pleasure when you or your sister blow it. There are some twisted people who relish pain in other people’s lives. Some will even orchestrate it. Like it or not, you cannot be too careful in choosing your “friends.”
I wish you well. The same faith that gives your father strength can also see you through this difficult time in your life.
Boggs is Baptist Press’ featured columnist each Friday. He is pastor of Valley Baptist Church, McMinnville, Ore.