Obama: Absent Dad Taught Me Value of Fatherhood

President's Father's Day essay urges father to 'step up' and take responsibility
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2009 6:18 AM CDT
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia walk from the White House as they take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – 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."