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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.
In an emotional departure from politics as usual in the weekly address, President Obama this morning discussed parenting, fatherhood, role models and the absence a father can leave in a young person's life—and the importance of the paternal role for children in general and the men who take it on (notably mentioning gay dads in the mix).
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.
Being the president, he didn't completely ignore policy—stronger child support laws were advocated and a hat tip given to organizations that promote "strong parenting and fatherhood."

Still, it was quite a personal message, and one that gave listeners a glimpse into the First Family's life:

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.
He concluded by telling listeners he considered being a source of comfort, encouragement and unconditional love to children to be the true mark of success in life.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
June 15, 2013

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.
 

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unfortunately too many fathers . . . (9+ / 0-)

    are still unemployed almost five years after the economic meltdown and are unable to provide their children with necessities, dance lessons, education at an elite private school like Sidwell, or to save for their college educations.

    "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

    by Illinibeatle on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:09:24 AM PDT

  •  On this weekend (4+ / 0-)

    Let us think of the number of conservative christian lawmakers who abandoned their children just because they wanted to have sex with a younger woman, and the number of conservative christian voters who are ok with that.  I know that not all families have fathers, and I think that is ok. What I think is not ok, and I have seen the damage this has caused close up, it a child realizing that their father cares more about playing the field than caring for the child.  If daddy is a rolling stone, there is no stability, no matter who much ones goes to church or how many graven images of the 10 commandments are made.

  •  When I became a parent... (9+ / 0-)

    I felt I had an unwritten contract with society at large to raise a proper, civilized human being.

    Just about every societal ill we face can be traced back to adults who fail at being parents.

    It is imperative for governments at all levels -- local, state, and federal -- to do everything they can in their powers to strengthen families and give folks the chance to be the parents society needs them to be.

    This is neither a Democratic nor a Republican concern. It's just common sense.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:13:14 AM PDT

    •  and at the very least (5+ / 0-)

      governments should not make it more difficult for parents to raise their children by assisting their employers to avoid taxes while shipping parents' jobs overseas or cutting funds for education, etc.

      "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being in DC."

      by Betty Pinson on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:54:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This (6+ / 0-)
      Just about every societal ill we face can be traced back to adults who fail at being parents.
      As a teacher, I spend much of my classroom time trying to correct this.  Policy makers need to understand that kids are more than test scores and those who do not get the love and encouragement at home will often look to the other adults in their lives.  Teachers are often the next in line.  It takes time to form relationships with ones students but it is time well spent and time that will ultimately create a more successful student than time spent on test prep.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 08:01:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did the President express a position on kittens? (7+ / 0-)

    And babies?  Did he hold them to be cute?  And lovable?

    •  He wanted to but wisely held off (9+ / 0-)

      for fear the GOP would declare a "War on Kittens," particularly Persians, which clearly indicate a tendency toward "radical Islam," as anyone can tell a Persian cat always meows in Farsi.

      (Do I even fricking need a "snark" tag for this? Mrrowrr!)

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:58:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, Obama's carefully calibrated Iran reference (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pale Jenova, Patate

        English:    Meow
        Farsi:     ميوميو کردن‌، صد‌ا‌ى‌ گربه‌  (meaow, miaou, miaow)

        This was clearly a shout out to the reformist Rouhani's apparent victory.  But the Farsi Meow was silent in order not to provoke the Ahmadinejadi crowd into disallowing the election.

        Well played, Obama...how I underestimated thee...

      •  Given the tenor of the times, telling snark from (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pale Jenova, Patate

        non-snark gets fuzzy.  

        BTW, what's your source that Persian kittehs meow in Farsi?  Who financed the study?  Which scholars conducted it at which institutions?  And I really want to know which scientific journal published it.   If you can't buttress your comment with answers to these questions, maybe you should just keep quiet.

        Yes, I'm being snarky.  :)

        We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

        by Observerinvancouver on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 08:35:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lovely comments (6+ / 0-)

    Of course, I'm sure the wingnuts are already reading sinister socialist sentiments into them and we'll be seeing insane critiques on FB.

    "This is a center-left country. Democrats can act that way and win. In fact, they must." -- Markos

    by cassandraX on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:16:14 AM PDT

  •  It might be nice if he went in the (8+ / 0-)

    direction of saving the planet. Nothing is more responsible or necessary.

  •  Touching. A+ on Prez's personal life and values! (5+ / 0-)

    Wonderful!

    To have a president who can talk about family relationships and love and the effort it takes to be a good husband and parent, that is a great thing for America.

    Will the media spread this message of his? Highlight the best parts? I sure hope so because all young people should hear this.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:25:39 AM PDT

  •  If only platitudes could heal problems. (8+ / 0-)

    Now, back to the Chained CPI.

    "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

    by Palafox on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:26:14 AM PDT

  •  Also people should chose father carefully (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, SpecialKinFlag, snoopydawg, jaf49

    Many children have wrong kind of fathers in Pakistan/Yemen etc. Hence Obama must kill those fathers. Only if they had responsible fathers.

  •  If Obama is for it... (6+ / 0-)

    Monday morning, tea party Republicans, led by Steve King (R-IA), will be filing a bill declaring fatherhood a 'socialist invention unknown before the 14th amendment'. The bill will go on to call for an end of federal recognition of fatherhood and the return to the 1792 concept of fatherhood, where fathers practice subsistence farming sunup to sundown and only acknowledge their children on Sunday mornings.

    •  He is for it, the hate Obama faction on the Left (6+ / 0-)

      is against it. And one interesting thing about most of the hate Obama folk on the Right and the Left is that they've been hating him since he entered office and haven't let go of that hate till now.... Even a harmless address about fathers can get their hate Obama blood boiling. And if he were to cure cancer tomorrow, they would argue it took him too long. Yes, ladies and gents, this kinda stuff never takes a rest.

      •  The Presidents (4+ / 0-)

        critics on the left are mirror images of the rightys.

        I am on other sites where wingnuts weigh in all the time,and they sound exactly the same.

        If the President says the sun is shining,both sides would hammer him for it.

        They hate him so much that they never let an opportunity to rip on him go by, even a heart-felt statement on fatherhood and parenthood.

        He has thick skin by now,and he needs it.

        •  So true Hawkjt, I've seen that too. They sound (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patate, sewaneepat

          exactly the same! Yesterday I had someone tell me that the criticism that is leveled at the President, some of it by characterizing the President as "evil" and "ruthless" and "a crack head" are only done to win power for the people, not the same as the demonization on the right. Nooooooo :)

          •  I suppose we've been too hard on Barack. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Illinibeatle, niemann

            We'd be better Progressives if we could only look beyond the drones, assassinations, mass spying, secret courts and tapping journalists’ phones. Not to mention the changes he proposed to what remains of our social safety net.

            Good Progressives don't question, don't hold the officials we supported with our shoe leather, votes and (fewer and fewer) dollars accountable for their actions.

            I'm sick as shit of being told I didn't hear what I know I heard.

            "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

            by Palafox on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:10:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You hear whatever you want to hear, and if you (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Patate, v2aggie2, sewaneepat

              believe the President is the worst President in the history of Presidents or maybe one of the worst Presidents in the history of Presidents and "a crack head" to boot, that is your prerogative.

              I'm sick of being told the demonization I hear, and the dog whistles I hear I didn't hear too.

               

              •  I must have missed something. (0+ / 0-)
                if you believe the President is the worst President in the history of Presidents or maybe one of the worst Presidents in the history of Presidents and "a crack head" to boot, that is your prerogative.
                You say this to Palafox, but in the preceding comment I don't see Palafox saying any of this.

                What I saw Palafox do was list a number of actions the President has done of which she or he disapproves and disagrees.

                I don't understand how that must necessarily imply the position that "the President is the worst President in the history of Presidents or maybe one of the worst Presidents in the history of Presidents and 'a crack head' to boot."

                •  Thank you. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  niemann

                  "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

                  by Palafox on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:47:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Follow the entire thread of my comment. Don't just (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  v2aggie2

                  start where you or Palafox entered an existing discussion.

                  •  Okay, I just looked back over ... (0+ / 0-)

                    Palafox's comment history from the last several months, and still don't see she/he -- (sorry, I don't know which) -- ever saying the things you accuse.

                    It might well be you've seen other people say such things here -- I've seen a few myself, and disagree with them too -- but don't presume to read people's minds and assume that everyone must be coming from that kind of extremist position, simply because they express disagreement and disapproval of the President's actions.

                    Or ... if you were just writing in the general sense of "you" -- not specifically referring to Palafox -- please specify that in future comments.

      •  Please support this statement ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Palafox
        And one interesting thing about most of the hate Obama folk on the Right and the Left is that they've been hating him since he entered office and haven't let go of that hate till now
        ... with statistics and sources.  Since you say "most" and define a time period, I'm guessing you have access to such numbers covering the period when he entered office up to now.

        Also, please define "hate Obama folk."  I don't understand what you mean by that.

        How do they differ from people who are simply very disappointed in many of the President's positions, policies, and actions?

        •  If I have to explain why people using terms such (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          v2aggie2, sewaneepat

          as " crack head" or "evil" to describe the President as hate, my definition will be of little value to you.

          And in terms of providing statistics... Are you kidding me??? I'm not here to provide you with statistics. If you want statistics, hire your own researcher.

          It appears you have been part of this community for more than a few months, so if you are representing that you have no idea what I'm talking about, and that my comments are made up out of whole-cloth, enjoy that representation.

          There have been diaries as well as comments in this community written about the language directed against Barack Obama for quite a while.

          As it is often said, I haven't the time nor the inclination to participate in a charade.

           

  •  Nice speech (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova, sewaneepat, Patate

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:49:27 AM PDT

  •  Despite my policy differences (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Observerinvancouver

    (uhh, "Grand Bargain" cough cough cough)

    I must say this president gives the best speeches of any politician I have seen (even Jesse Jackson, no slouch in the speaking department) and probably the best speaker of any president we have had. (Lincoln was a great leader, but public speaking--probably not his forte.)

    And I still love the sound of "President Barack Obama," especially when said out loud around wingnut cretins.

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:54:56 AM PDT

  •  Tomorrow is Father's Day. All day yesterday (6+ / 0-)

    various talking heads were wishing each other a happy Fathr's Day or giving shout outs to their fathers.  It seems to me quite appropriate for the President to take five minutes to talk about the importance of fathers and what it means to him to be a father.  

    Some of the commenters here are criticizing him for not mentioning their issues or for being able to give his daughters tennis lessons and the like.  Can't they just relax and appreciate what he did say instead of what he didn't?  

    Would they be happier if he'd included an apology for what he's able to give his daughters?  Sadly, probably yes.

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 08:56:29 AM PDT

  •  I'm glad Obama said this.... (3+ / 0-)

    I'm glad Obama said this, partly for the reasons that other people have commented on above, and partly because I think that it's important for liberals to talk positively about marriage and family.  I say this not because I think liberals aren't pro-marriage or pro-family (almost all of them are), but because I think it's important not to cede that topic to the conservatives and the religious right.  

    Along the same lines, I'm relieved to see no "Obama is a patriarch/sexist/whatever because he's pro-marriage" comments on this diary, although that doesn't mean there are no unfair anti-Obama comments on the diary.

    "Optimism is better than despair." --Jack Layton, the late Canadian MP, liberal, and Christian.

    by lungfish on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:35:49 AM PDT

  •  As Jackie Kennedy said, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat

    "If you bungle in raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much."

    Of course, in 1960, we ratty little proto-feminists mocked her quote as being fawningly subservient.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

    by anastasia p on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 04:53:45 PM PDT

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