Barack Obama wants US to be Better Fathers

clay eagle pictureIn case some of you dads missed it (I know I did), President Obama said the following at a White House Town Hall on Fatherhood:

“If we want our children to succeed in life, we need fathers to step up.  We need fathers to understand that their work doesn’t end with conception — that what truly makes a man a father is the ability to raise a child and invest in that child.

We need fathers to be involved in their kids’ lives not just when it’s easy — not just during the afternoons in the park or at the zoo, when it’s all fun and games — but when it’s hard, when young people are struggling, and there aren’t any quick fixes or easy answers, and that’s when young people need compassion and patience, as well as a little bit of tough love. 

Now, this is a challenge even in good times.  And it can be especially tough during times like these, when parents have a lot on their minds — they’re worrying about keeping their jobs, or keeping their homes or their health care, paying their bills, trying to give their children the same opportunities that they had.  And so it’s understandable that parents get concerned, some fathers who feel they can’t support their families, get distracted.  And even those who are more fortunate may be physically present, but emotionally absent.   

I know that some of the young men who are here today might have their own concerns one day about being a dad.  Some of you might be worried that if you didn’t have a father, then you don’t know how to be one when your turn comes.  Some of you might even use that as an excuse, and say, “Well, if my dad wasn’t around, why should I be?”

Let’s be clear:  Just because your own father wasn’t there for you, that’s not an excuse for you to be absent also — it’s all the more reason for you to be present.  There’s no rule that says that you have to repeat your father’s mistakes.  Just the opposite — you have an obligation to break the cycle and to learn from those mistakes, and to rise up where your own fathers fell short and to do better than they did with your own children.

That’s what I’ve tried to do in my life.  When my daughters were born, I made a pledge to them, and to myself, that I would do everything I could to give them some things I didn’t have.  And I decided that if I could be one thing in life, it would be to be a good father.”

So, to any dads who may be reading this, let’s talk, let’s support each other to heal our shame, to overcome the wounds we carry from our own fathers, and to re-orient ourselves to succeed and have more fun through stepping up, hanging in and effectively caring about all our collective children.

Namaste, Bruce

p.s.  http://tiny.cc/Sr4YP

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