Obama's Weekly Address

WEEKLY ADDRESS: The President Wishes America's Dads a Happy Father's Day


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


Hi, everybody. Sunday is Fathers Day. If you havent got Dad a gift yet, theres 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 didnt have when I was young. And every chance I get, I encourage fathers to get more involved in their childrens lives, because what makes you a man isnt the ability to have a child C its the courage to raise one.

Still, over the past couple years, Ive met with a lot of young people who dont have a father figure around. And while theres 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 Brothers Keeper C 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 cant play the primary role in a young persons 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 parents love. Still, as a country, there are ways we can help support dads and moms who make that choice.

Thats 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, Ill hold the first-ever White House Working Families Summit. Weve still got too many workplace policies that belong in the 1950s, and its time to bring them up to date for todays 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 C 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, its 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 theres nothing more precious in life than the time we spend with our children. Theres no better feeling than knowing that we can be there for them, and provide for them, and help give them every shot at success.

Lets 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 Fathers Day, and have a great weekend.