I think he's onto something essential ["White House to Launch National Fatherhood Tour Next Week," usnews.com]. Children need mentors, and fathers are good mentors. When the father can't do the job, another responsible male adult is needed to step in and encourage and foster the child. This is true of boys and of girls. Girls need their fathers for self-esteem even as mom is being a role model for what a woman can and should be. Barack and Michelle Obama are wonderful role models for kids, and anything they can do to encourage others is all for the good.
Comment by Karen Fern of NY
Wow, a president who actually cares about the children in our country, and the American family! It is obvious this man has ideas about how to change our country from the bottom up. As a high school counselor, I see too many young mothers who do not have a father in their lives ... either their own, or their baby's. It is about time we start talking about fathers.
Comment by Jeremy of AR
Sadly, these fatherhood initiatives will fail since policy makers are only ever willing (or allowed) to talk about half the problem—that is, men stepping up to be responsible parents. While this is true and a worthwhile message, it is, unfortunately, only half of the issue. In many cases, perfectly fine dads who actually fight to be good fathers are shut out of their own families by the simple fact that our rights to be equal members of our families, on par with the children's mothers, are just not protected. Ultimately, the level of our involvement in our families and the raising of our children is determined by what is expedient for the mother rather than what is best for everyone involved. We've taken child support collections, etc., as far as they can go. Until men and women are supported as parents in a spirit of equal responsibilities and equal rights, these problems will not go away.
Comment by Patrick of NY
Although I grew up to be a successful productive member of society, I did so by the grace of God and the love and support I got from my single mother. I am single in my 40s, and I used to be insecure, with little self-confidence. I was strong enough to improve my life and address my weakness because I am loved. Yet, I still look at the Obamas and wonder how much more fulfilling my life could have been if my father, who is still alive, would have taken the time to be a responsible adult. Unlike what happened to me, too many young girls without strong father figures end up lost and dependent on the system to support them, etc. Unlike presidents before him, President Obama is trying to provide us with long-term solutions by doing things now that will continue to produce long-term improvements in America. Strong, safe buildings start with a solid foundation, and the same applies to people.
Comment by Thomas of TX