Hi, everybody. Sunday is Father's Day. If you haven't got Dad a gift yet, there's still time. Just barely. But the truth is, what we give our fathers can never match what our fathers give us.
I know how important it is to have a dad in your life, because I grew up without my father around. I felt the weight of his absence. So for Michelle and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn't have when I was young. And every chance I get, I encourage fathers to get more involved in their children's lives, because what makes you a man isn't the ability to have a child – it's the courage to raise one.
Still, over the past couple years, I’ve met with a lot of young people who don't have a father figure around. And while there's nothing that can replace a parent, any of us can do our part to be a mentor, a sounding board, a role model for a kid who needs one. Earlier this year, I launched an initiative called My Brother's Keeper – an all-hands-on-deck effort to help more of our young men reach their full potential. And if you want to be a mentor to a young man in your community, you can find out how at WhiteHouse.gov/MyBrothersKeeper.
Now, when I launched this initiative, I said that government can’t play the primary role in a young person’s life. Taking responsibility for being a great parent or mentor is a choice that we, as individuals, have to make. No government program can ever take the place of a parent's love. Still, as a country, there are ways we can help support dads and moms who make that choice.
That's why, earlier this week, we brought working dads from across America to the White House to talk about the challenges they face. And in a few weeks, I'll hold the first-ever White House Working Families Summit. We've still got too many workplace policies that belong in the 1950s, and it's time to bring them up to date for today's families, where oftentimes, both parents are working. Moms and dads deserve affordable child care, and time off to care for a sick parent or child without running into hardship. Women deserve equal pay for equal work – and at a time when more women are breadwinners for a family, that benefits men, too. And because no parent who works full-time should have to raise a family in poverty, it's time for Congress to follow the lead of state after state, get on the bandwagon, and give America a raise.
Dads work hard. So our country should do what we can to make sure their hard work pays off; to make sure life for them and their families is a little less stressful, and a little more secure, so they can be the dads their kids need them to be. Because there's nothing more precious in life than the time we spend with our children. There's no better feeling than knowing that we can be there for them, and provide for them, and help give them every shot at success.
Let's make sure every dad who works hard and takes responsibility has the chance to know that feeling, not just on one Sunday, but every day of the year.
Thanks everybody, happy Father's Day, and have a great weekend.
Hi, everybody. This Sunday is Father's Day, and so I wanted to take a moment to talk about the most important job many of us will ever have and that's being a dad.
Today we're blessed to live in a world where technology allows us to connect instantly with just about anyone on the planet. But no matter how advanced we get, there will never be a substitute for the love and support and, most importantly, the presence of a parent in a child's life. And in many ways, that's uniquely true for fathers.
I never really knew my own father. I was raised by a single mom and two wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me. And there are single parents all across the country who do a heroic job raising terrific kids. But I still wish I had a dad who was not only around, but involved; another role model to teach me what my mom did her best to instill – values like hard work and integrity; responsibility and delayed gratification – all the things that give a child the foundation to envision a brighter future for themselves.
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.
Being a good parent – whether you’re gay or straight; a foster parent or a grandparent – isn't easy. It demands your constant attention, frequent sacrifice, and a healthy dose of patience. And nobody's perfect. To this day, I'm still figuring out how to be a better husband to my wife and father to my kids.
And I want to do what I can as President to encourage marriage and strong families. We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children. And my Administration will continue to work with the faith and other community organizations, as well as businesses, on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood.
Because if there's one thing I’ve learned along the way, it's that all our personal successes shine a little less brightly if we fail at family. That’s what matters most. When I look back on my life, I won't be thinking about any particular legislation I passed or policy I promoted. 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.
That's what I think being a father is all about. And if we can do our best to be a source of comfort and encouragement to our kids; if we can show them unconditional love and help them grow into the people they were meant to be; then we will have succeeded.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, and have a great weekend.