Watch: President Obama’s Father’s Day Message

The president said he felt his father’s absence keenly while growing up, and he encouraged men to be more involved in their children’s lives.

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama White House Screenshot

In a Father’s Day message released Saturday, President Barack Obama encouraged men to become more involved in their children’s lives, saying he missed the support of a father while he was growing up.

“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,” he said in the message delivered as his weekly address the day before the observance of Father’s Day. “So, for Michelle and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn’t have when I was young.  And 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.”

He said the My Brother’s Keeper mentoring initiative launched this year aims to provide adult guidance to help young men follow better paths.

“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 said. “Earlier this year, I launched an initiative called My Brother’s Keeper—an all-hands-on-deck effort to help more of our young men reach their full potential.”

Watch the video here: