President Barack Obama is sharing how growing up without a father inspired him to be the best dad that he could be.
Growing up without a father leaves many young Black men without adequate male role models and often requires young women to raise babies on their own. While the president could have followed in his absentee father’s footsteps, he decided to correct the situation with his own family.
Just in time for Father’s Day, President Obama penned an essay for People magazine describing how he broke the unfortunate cycle of single-parent homes.
"I grew up without a father around," Barack wrote, bluntly stating the harsh reality of this childhood. "I have certain memories of him taking me to my first jazz concert and giving me my first basketball as a Christmas present. But he left when I was two years old."
As we know, Barack and his sister were raised by their mother and grandparents, but he noted that nothing could replace having his father as a consistent part of his life.
"I always felt his absence and wondered what it would have been like if he had been a greater presence in my life. I still do," the president admitted. "It is perhaps for this reason that fatherhood is so important to me, and why I’ve tried so hard to be there for my own children."
The president acknowledges that he hasn’t always been able to spend as much time with his daughters Malia and Sasha as he would have liked.
"Work kept me away from home more than it should have," he wrote, adding that sometimes the responsibility of raising the girls fell too heavily on Michelle. "During the campaign, not a day went by that I didn’t wish I could spend more time with the family I love more than anything else in the world."
He adds, "Through my own experiences and my continued efforts to be a better father, I have learned something over the years about what children need most from their parents."
To find out what lessons the president will share, pick up this week’s issue of People magazine.
— Sonya Eskridge