We hope that you enjoy this book, which we feel is particularly relevant since it is about a son following his father into politics just as we have followed you into law.
Lots of love and Merry Christmas!
Jonathan and Mike
There is no current better example of a son following his father in the U.S. than George W. following his father in becoming President of the United States.
George W. did not seem destined for a political career. He had followed his father’s footsteps in entering the oil industry in Texas after he graduated from university. He even returned to Midland where he had spent his pre-teen years.
In the book George W. speaks of the enjoyment he had in working on his father’s early political campaigns in the mid-1960’s. He continued to be engaged in George’s political career.
In 1977 George W. decided to run for Congress. He says:
Dad was surprised when I told him that I was considering running for Congress. He suggested I visit his friend former Governor Allan Shivers to ask for his advice on the race …… [Shivers] looked me straight in the eye and told me that I couldn’t win …. It was not Dad’s style to try to dictate the course of my life. On a decision of this magnitude, he wanted me to make up my own mind. In hindsight, I suspect that the Shivers referral was his way of warning me that the race would be difficult and that I should prepare for disappointment.
George W.’s loss in that campaign was to be the only electoral loss he has experienced.
In 1993 George W. decided to run for Governor of Texas. When he called his parents:
Dad was quiet. I was not surprised that Dad did not have much to say. Throughout my life, he never tried to steer me in one direction or another. His approach to parenting was to instill values, set an example, and support us in whatever we chose to do ….. Through his words and his life, he had taught all of his children the value of public service.
I discussed the practice of law with my sons as they were growing up. They heard from me about the highs and lows of litigation and the enjoyment in helping someone in a land transaction or probating an estate. They knew I thought it was a good profession and that I was glad I had chosen to be a lawyer.
My sons certainly thought about law while they were in school. Generally they considered being a lawyer too hard a job. I kept telling them if they could find an easy job they should take it. I told them that I hoped they would decide upon a profession they believed they would like for it is too difficult working in a job you dislike getting up for each morning.
I did try hard not to direct them in a career choice. I had appreciated my parents giving me the opportunity of a university education with the encouragement to study what I thought best for me. It was a challenge not to promote legal careers for them. I thought both of them were well suited to being lawyers. They are analytical, skilled with words and enjoy dealing with people.
After their earlier comments I was as surprised to hear they were going to become lawyers as George hearing from George W. that his son planned to run for political office. Each of my sons had been at university for 3 years when they called to advise Sharon and I they wanted to go to law schools. Those calls, three years apart, were two of the happiest calls I have received from Jon and Mike.