It’s Not Easy Being Dad
by Debra Kozikowski
“I know I have been an imperfect father. I know I have made mistakes,” wrote President Barack Obama in an essay on fatherhood published in today’s Parade magazine.
In it, the president talks about growing up without his father being present and notes the “weight” of what that meant for him, and what it means each and everyday for the children of absentee dads. From comedian Bill Cosby to family therapists the issue of fatherlessnes, especially in the African-American community, has been addressed many times. Obama has talked about it before and makes no bones about it, it’s personal — part of the fabric of his life and a circumstance he decries.
Today President Obama went a step further, right to the heart of it for those who may be physically present but so caught up in everyday struggles that they are not engaged in their children’s lives.
“Too often, especially during tough economic times like these, we are emotionally absent: distracted, consumed by what’s happening in our own lives, worried about keeping our jobs and paying our bills, unsure if we’ll be able to give our kids the same opportunities we had. Our children can tell. They know when we’re not fully there. And that disengagement sends a clear message — whether we mean it or not — about where among our priorities they fall. So we need to step out of our own heads and tune in. We need to turn off the television and start talking with our kids, and listening to them, and understanding what’s going on in their lives.”
Perfection isn’t a requirement for being a good father. But for all the dads who care enough to try, Happy Father’s Day.