(CNN) – With the nation fighting two wars, the economy in recession, and signs that congressional Democrats will be asserting their institutional independence from the very beginning of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama has still found time to attend to every detail of his transition to power.
In a letter that will appear in Parade magazine this Sunday, Obama explains to his two daughters why he decided to run for president and, in the process, forever change their lives along with his.
“When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me – about how I’d make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want,” Obama says in the letter published on the magazine’s Web site Wednesday. But with the birth of Malia and Sasha, “suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn’t seem so important anymore.”
“I realized that my own life wouldn’t count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours,” he writes. “In the end, girls, that’s why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.”
Obama tells 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha that he wants all American children to attend good schools, have the chance to go to college, and “get good jobs” when they grow up. The incoming president said he also wants his daughters to see the kind of technological innovation that will make “our planet cleaner and safer.”
“I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us form seeing the best in each other,” he writes.
And Obama also calls on his daughters to give back. “America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better,” Obama writes, citing a lesson learned from his own mother.
“I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had.”
Click here to read the entire letter.