Former President George W. Bush told students and parents at a Texas event Saturday that faith and prayers sustained him while he was in the Oval Office.
To a crowd of more than 1,100 people, Bush said he does not see how he could have been president without prayer.
“The prayers of the people sustained me, comforted me and strengthened me in a way I could have never predicted before becoming president, and for that I am extremely grateful,” Bush said at the Fort Worth Christian School-hosted event, according to The Associated Press.
During the hour-long address, he shared about many aspects of his life as president, including how he dealt with the economic crisis, emotional meetings with military families, faith-based programs, and how he remained optimistic even in the worst of times.
“Even in our country’s toughest moments, I was optimistic that things could be better and more hopeful,” Bush said.
He also answered questions gathered from the school’s elementary students, ranging in age from 6 to 12 years old. Bush joked that he liked the difficulty level of the questions, drawing laughter from the crowd.
In terms of his successor and politics, Bush said people will not find him criticizing President Obama or being in the public eye much.
“There are plenty of critics in America,” Bush said.
The former president also said he is writing a book about his decisions while in office, joking that many people thought he could not read, let alone write a book.
Students at Fort Worth Christian School, which has a student body of 865, gave Bush a check for more than $5,000 that they collected in his honor for Haiti’s earthquake relief effort.
President Obama has asked former President Bill Clinton and Bush to spearhead a fundraising effort for Haiti quake relief. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund has raised $31 million from over 200,000 individuals, according to the latest update.