Celebrating Father’s Day, U.S. President Barack Obama said he wished his own father had been more involved in his life. The President backed reform of child support laws to get more men “working and engaged” with their children.
“Today we’re blessed to live in a world where technology allows us to connect instantly with just about anyone on the planet. But no matter how advanced we get, there will never be a substitute for the love and support and, most importantly, the presence of a parent in a child’s life. And in many ways, that’s uniquely true for fathers,” he said in his weekly address.
Mr. Obama’s parents divorced when he was a young child, and he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents.
“I never really knew my own father. I was raised by a single mom and two wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me,” the President said.
Mr. Obama spoke ahead of Father’s Day, celebrated on Sunday across the world, and used the occasion to rekindle the national conversation on fatherhood he launched in 2009.
“And there are single parents all across the country who do a heroic job raising terrific kids. But I still wish I had a dad who was not only around, but involved; another role model to teach me what my mom did her best to instil — values like hard work and integrity; responsibility and delayed gratification — all the things that give a child the foundation to envision a brighter future for themselves,” he said.
“That’s why I try every day to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me,” he said.
“Being a good parent — whether you’re gay or straight; a foster parent or a grandparent — isn’t easy. It demands your constant attention, frequent sacrifice, and a healthy dose of patience. And nobody’s perfect. To this day, I’m still figuring out how to be a better husband to my wife and father to my kids,” he said.
Mr. Obama, father of two girls, Sasha and Malia, has frequently promoted fatherhood and marriage.
During a speech in Chicago earlier this year on gun violence, he called for reform of child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children.
The 51-year-old said he would do what he could as President to encourage marriage and strong families.
“We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children,” Mr. Obama said.