Barack Obama: ‘We Need Fathers To Step Up’

obama_parade

via Parade

As the father of two young girls who have shown such poise, humor, and patience in the unconventional life into which they have been thrust, I mark this Father’s Day—our first in the White House—with a deep sense of gratitude. One of the greatest benefits of being President is that I now live right above the office. I see my girls off to school nearly every morning and have dinner with them nearly every night. It is a welcome change after so many years out on the campaign trail and commuting between Chicago and Capitol Hill.

But I observe this Father’s Day not just as a father grateful to be present in my daughters’ lives but also as a son who grew up without a father in my own life. My father left my family when I was 2 years old, and I knew him mainly from the letters he wrote and the stories my family told. And while I was lucky to have two wonderful grandparents who poured everything they had into helping my mother raise my sister and me, I still felt the weight of his absence throughout my childhood.

As an adult, working as a community organizer and later as a legislator, I would often walk through the streets of Chicago’s South Side and see boys marked by that same absence—boys without supervision or direction or anyone to help them as they struggled to grow into men. I identified with their frustration and disengagement—with their sense of having been let down.

In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence—both in my life and in the lives of others. 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. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference.

That is why 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-family-4

As fathers, we need to be involved in our children’s lives not just when it’s convenient or easy, and not just when they’re doing well—but when it’s difficult and thankless, and they’re struggling. That is when they need us most.

And it’s not enough to just be physically present. Too often, especially during tough economic times like these, we are emotionally absent: distracted, consumed by what’s happening in our own lives, worried about keeping our jobs and paying our bills, unsure if we’ll be able to give our kids the same opportunities we had.

Our children can tell. They know when we’re not fully there. And that disengagement sends a clear message—whether we mean it or not—about where among our priorities they fall.

So we need to step out of our own heads and tune in. We need to turn off the television and start talking with our kids, and listening to them, and understanding what’s going on in their lives. Continue reading

Obama Tells “Black” Men Be a Father To Your Child

Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama ventured to Apostolic Church of God on the Southside of Chicago to share a message of responsibility on this Father’s Day. He directed this message of responsibility to Black men who statistics show are less involved in the Black home, leading to more dreadful statistics that say those neglected children are disproportionately headed to prison as opposed to college or equal employment.

Black Men Unite In Baltimore to “Save the Children”

Who\'s Gonna Save the Babies?

In response to some highly publicized incidents involving Baltimore school students, an initiative is being launched on July 15, Father’s Day where the goal will be enlisting 5,000 African-American men vowing to bring “positive change to their communities.” The Baltimore Convention will play host to the event, modeled after a Philadelphia initiative dubbed 10,000 Men In Philly, a call to action in Philly that is considered a model for success. Baltimore is half the size of Philly, so the modest number of 5,000 men is the modest goal.

Community leaders were joined at the Wednesday news conference with a diverse group including Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm and former drug kingpin Melvin “Little Melvin” Williams, the godfather of the Baltimore dope scene and the prototype of Stinger Bell on The Wire.

“A community that is afraid of its children is doomed for failure,” Morris said, referring to a recent outcry by Canton residents who don’t want a new school in their neighborhood. On the other hand, he said, a community that is prepared to “sow a seed” in the lives of its children is “destined for greatness.”

For more info on this initiative CLICK [HERE]