Before his inauguration, President Barack Obama wrote an open letter to his daughters crediting them for his journey to the White House. Now, President Obama has another message for daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 8, and other dads for Father’s Day in an open letter he wrote in this week’s Parade magazine. In the letter, the President reflects on missing moments with his daughters, his own father’s absence, and encouraging other dads to be more involved in their children’s lives. Here is an excerpt:
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… 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.
The President will host a White House town hall meeting on fatherhood today at 2:45 P.M. EST, where five fathers of diverse backgrouds will share their personal stories and commitment to fatherhood and personal responsibility. Afterwards the President will open a mentoring session with Washington, D.C.-area youth along with other activities on the White House South Lawn.
ESSENCE.com will keep you posted on the upcoming events.—SG