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I know how important it is to have a dad in your life, because I grew up without my father around. I felt the weight of his absence. So for Michelle and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn’t have when I was young. And every chance I get, I encourage fathers to get more involved in their children’s lives, because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.
President Obama marked the occasion of Father's Day a day early, using his weekly address to tell his own personal story of the realization of the importance of fatherhood—both growing up without one and now being a dad—and talking about the role of individuals, families and our society to support strong parental roles.
Taking responsibility for being a great parent or mentor is a choice that we, as individuals, have to make. No government program can ever take the place of a parent’s love. Still, as a country, there are ways we can help support dads and moms who make that choice.
Most importantly, he discussed the conflict that many parents face in the workplace as they struggle to balance their roles as involved parents and with those of breadwinners. Because negotiating that tough balance is pervasive now with parents working more than ever, he told listeners about an upcoming White House Working Families Summit, set to be held in a few weeks, that will focus on pressing issues for millions of Americans:
We’ve still got too many workplace policies that belong in the 1950s, and it’s time to bring them up to date for today’s families, where oftentimes, both parents are working. Moms and dads deserve affordable child care, and time off to care for a sick parent or child without running into hardship. Women deserve equal pay for equal work – and at a time when more women are breadwinners for a family, that benefits men, too. And because no parent who works full-time should have to raise a family in poverty, it’s time for Congress to follow the lead of state after state, get on the bandwagon, and give America a raise.
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
June 14, 2014

Hi, everybody. Sunday is Father’s Day. If you haven’t got Dad a gift yet, there’s still time. Just barely.But the truth is, what we give our fathers can never match what our fathers give us.

I know how important it is to have a dad in your life, because I grew up without my father around. I felt the weight of his absence. So for Michelle and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn’t have when I was young. And every chance I get, I encourage fathers to get more involved in their children’s lives, because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.

Still, over the past couple years, I’ve met with a lot of young people who don’t have a father figure around. And while there’s nothing that can replace a parent, any of us can do our part to be a mentor, a sounding board, a role model for a kid who needs one. Earlier this year, I launched an initiative called My Brother’s Keeper – an all-hands-on-deck effort to help more of our young men reach their full potential. And if you want to be a mentor to a young man in your community, you can find out how at WhiteHouse.gov/MyBrothersKeeper.

Now, when I launched this initiative, I said that government can’t play the primary role in a young person’s life. Taking responsibility for being a great parent or mentor is a choice that we, as individuals, have to make. No government program can ever take the place of a parent’s love. Still, as a country, there are ways we can help support dads and moms who make that choice.

That’s why, earlier this week, we brought working dads from across America to the White House to talk about the challenges they face. And in a few weeks, I’ll hold the first-ever White House Working Families Summit. We’ve still got too many workplace policies that belong in the 1950s, and it’s time to bring them up to date for today’s families, where oftentimes, both parents are working. Moms and dads deserve affordable child care, and time off to care for a sick parent or child without running into hardship. Women deserve equal pay for equal work – and at a time when more women are breadwinners for a family, that benefits men, too. And because no parent who works full-time should have to raise a family in poverty, it’s time for Congress to follow the lead of state after state, get on the bandwagon, and give America a raise.

Dads work hard. So our country should do what we can to make sure their hard work pays off; to make sure life for them and their families is a little less stressful, and a little more secure, so they can be the dads their kids need them to be. Because there’s nothing more precious in life than the time we spend with our children. There’s no better feeling than knowing that we can be there for them, and provide for them, and help give them every shot at success.

Let’s make sure every dad who works hard and takes responsibility has the chance to know that feeling, not just on one Sunday, but every day of the year.

Thanks everybody, happy Father’s Day, and have a great weekend.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Humm, now that (7+ / 0-)

    the president has come out in favor of fathers, how long before republicans try to get rid of all of us fathers across the nation? (Except for the old, fat white ones of course).

    If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

    by RepresentUsPlease on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 07:18:27 AM PDT

  •  Thanks nt (0+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 07:32:49 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this, Susan (4+ / 0-)

    Why is the American workplace still stuck in the 1950s? Civilized countries have admitted to the existence of children, perhaps recognizing that the offspring of educated parents are the consumers of cars, houses, and computers down the road.

    My daughter-in-law, who had a baby two weeks ago, will receive no paid maternity leave at all! After she uses up her few vacation days (she has only held the job for two years), the family will suffer a 50 percent drop in income until she goes back to work after 10 weeks off.

    I'm doing what I can to mitigate the expense side of the ledger. For example, I'm taking care of my 5-year-old granddaughter Mon.-Fri. to save the expense of day care, and when DIL goes back to work I will look after the new baby.

    But a lot of parents don't have Grandma and Grandpa living around the corner from them, as my son's family does. They are really strapped for child care and income. The Rethugs say "work, work, work to support your children," but do absolutely nothing to help. Not everyone wants to marry a millionaire and even if they did, staying home full time with infants and no social support is not exactly the road to paradise--believe me, I know because I tried it.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 07:42:24 AM PDT

  •  hey prez, check it out: (0+ / 0-)

    its:

    "Parents Play a Key Role"

    Happy Fathers Day dude, I always forget Mom and Pop's day. I'll have to see when Fathers Day is and be make I get some nookie.

    "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

    by Seattle Socialist on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 08:31:15 AM PDT

    •  "make sure" (0+ / 0-)

      i meant to say there.

      its early in the AM here. i gotta go, the little ones are awake now. they take up all my time.

      "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

      by Seattle Socialist on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 08:34:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If my memory serves me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seattle Socialist

        seems little ones will also eliminate that nookie thing. ;-)

        If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

        by RepresentUsPlease on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 09:20:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we just do it (0+ / 0-)

          after they go to sleep.

          also, i think that the key to helping working families is to make affordable government backed mortgages available to low income families, and also to raise the minimum wage.

          my dad raised us in the 70's with 1 family income and a high school diploma. but houses were also really cheap back then and your salary also went further.

          "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

          by Seattle Socialist on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 09:29:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My wife is a screamer (0+ / 0-)

            so we really had to be selective. Haha. My dad also raised 5 of us on a single income in the late 60's and early 70's. We were not rich by any means but my dad always found a way to make sure we had what we needed. Things sure have changed.

            If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

            by RepresentUsPlease on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 09:42:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "middle-class" families too (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stewarjt

            i think cheap government mortgages should be available to all families that make under $200,000 a year.

            not just "low-income" families.

            (*i guess from my perspective, most American families are "low-income" now, relative to the 1960's and 1970's)

            "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

            by Seattle Socialist on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 10:00:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Speaking as an "old timer," (0+ / 0-)

            what we had in the 50's, 60's and 70's was the loyalty one had for their employer.  Why?  Because employees who maybe didn't complete college or had a high school diploma knew if they worked hard, were honest, responsible, they would rise up the ladder with pay raises and promotions.

            It was the norm to stay on the job for 30 years or more and come out with a pension and/or social security.  Your employer knew your worth and gave you, in many cases, the  opportunity to further your education while on the job that would enhance your ability to rise in your status, therefore making you more valuable for your employer.  This happened to me in the hospital industry,

            It wasn't just that homes were less expensive, it was that your paycheck dollars were equivalent to a middle class existence.  

             

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