June 18th, 2009
01:44 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama sends message to dads on Father's Day

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/18/art.parade.cnn.jpg caption="‘If I could be anything, I’d be a good father,” says Obama in this week’s Parade."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama has a Father's Day message to dads across America: "Step up."

Obama, whose own father abandoned his family when he was a toddler, writes in an essay in this weekend's edition of Parade magazine that he learned about the importance of fatherhood "through its absence."

"I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill," Obama writes. "We need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one."

Obama praises his two young daughters for showing "poise, humor, and patience" in dealing with their changing, unconventional lives. He said he has been an "imperfect father" and lamented that political life has meant missing out on moments of their lives.

"There were many days out on the campaign trail when I felt like my family was a million miles away, and I knew I was missing moments of my daughters' lives that I'd never get back," Obama writes. "It is a loss I will never fully accept."

The president also recalls a promise he made to his daughter, Malia, the day she was born.

"I think about the pledge I made to her that day: that I would give her what I never had - that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father," he writes.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Sheila

    Say what you like about his poitics, the man sets an amazing example.

    June 18, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Ted van Tol

    Beautiful picture!
    A great daddy and a great President.

    June 18, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. Chai-wallah

    I have two daughters and thanks for the memory, love and great thoughts I have with them over the years.

    Fathers play just as important a role in their children's life as mothers do.

    I am fortunate to be a role model and even though my daughters are adults; I welcome each and every call, even in the dead of night.

    They know whatever question they have or problem; I always have good advise and will walk them through any situation.

    I hope all fathers do the same for their children.

    June 18, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. MEL IN florida

    Thank you for your great example. Happy Father's day Mr. President!!!!! you deserve it.

    June 18, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. DJ

    Good man...you have to respect Obama for what he accomplished, not having his own dad involved in his life.

    June 18, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. pakuna

    neither one of them are raising their kids their granny-in-law is. So Step up and raise your kids obama.

    June 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. phoenix86

    I wonder if he has already told his daughters that they can have an abortion whenever they want, so go out and have fun.

    Obama is the worst type of father I can think of.

    June 18, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Shane in RI

    Perhaps they should re-write the child support laws so I feel like DAD instad of a wallet! All the goverment is concerned about is where 50% of my take home pay goes! Remember gifts and time don't count as child support.

    June 18, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Jefferson Handcock

    I'm an African American father of 2 girls and I've been on the job for 18 years thank you very much: We shouldn't get praise for doing what we ought to do. Is this saying that Bush and clinton weren't good Fathers?

    June 18, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. MEL IN florida

    Fair is Fair, this is for the ones that do not step up, if possible that you and your husband could rely that wonderful example????? after all God loves all, even, us, liberals. For some reason I believe your son is more noble than you.

    June 18, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Jefferson Handcock

    CNN's Love affair with the President is turning me off!!!!

    June 18, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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