President Barack Obama marked Father’s Day by reflecting on his own dad’s absence from his life, and declaring that no political accomplishment will ever matter as much to him as his own family.
Calling being a dad “the most important job many of us will ever have,” Obama said there’s no substitute for being present in a child’s life.
“I never really knew my own father,” Obama said in his weekly address. “I was raised by a single mom and two wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me…but I still wish I had a dad who was not only around, but involved.
He added, “That’s why I try every day to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me. And I’ve met plenty of other people – dads and uncles and men without a family connection – who are trying to break the cycle and give more of our young people a strong male role model.”
Obama said it’s not easy to be a good parent, “whether you’re gay or straight, a foster parent or a grandparent.”
“To this day, I’m still figuring out how to be a better husband to my wife and a better father to my kids,” he said.
Obama said he wants to do what he can as president to encourage marriage and strong families, including reforming child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their kids.
He noted, “All our personal successes shine a little less brightly if we fail at family.”
“When I look back on my life, I won’t be thinking about any particular legislation I passed or policy I promoted,” Obama said. “I’ll be thinking about Michelle, and the journey we’ve been on together. I’ll be thinking about Sasha’s dance recitals and Malia’s tennis matches – about the conversations we’ve had and the quiet moments we’ve shared. I’ll be thinking about whether I did right by them, and whether they knew, every day, just how much they were loved.”