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President Obama spoke as a father, and as a son who grew up without one, in his weekly radio and Internet address. In celebration of Father’s Day, the POTUS reflected on the impact a dad can have on the lives of their children.

“For Michelle and my girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn’t have when I was young,” he said. “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 the absence.”

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Mr. Obama went to on to say it takes courage to be a father. “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.”

“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,” he added, sharing the importance of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. “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.”

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He concluded, “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.”


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