President Obama came to realize the value of fatherhood through its absence in his own life as a boy, he writes in an essay published in Parade for Father's Day. "The hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill," writes Obama, whose father left the family when Barack was 2 years old. He urges fathers to take responsibility for raising their children.
"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 writes. "On this Father's Day, I think back to the day I drove Michelle and a newborn Malia home from the hospital nearly 11 years ago. 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."