In my experience, good parenting is a matter of follow-through; making the decision to stay committed in spite of circumstances that can seem insurmountable at times. Being a father is a 24-hour-a-day job that can be as thankless as it can be rewarding. Unfortunately, some brothas don't want to do the job at all. Others lose focus on their children. What can President Obama do? Little, outside of being a good role model for black men in general.
The beauty of Obama’s town hall meeting on fatherhood and responsibility is that he is a figure who doesn’t have to speculate about the pitfalls of fatherlessness. The work for Obama is to go beyond the symbolism of the day and to enact policy that addresses the connection between fatherlessness and unemployment, implementation of programs that can enhance a father's ability of to become a more skilled parent, and to begin a frank discussion about father’s reproductive/parental rights. While there will be limits to what "government" can do, the point is to create the political will in the country to make sure the concerns of parents considered nationwide.
As much as they are born, fathers are also made. Our hope and mission as dads each day has to be to become closer and more connected with our children.
To see Barack Obama pride himself on being the dad that he is, is inspiring. It's not his responsibility to raise our kids, but to see him as the ever vigilant caretaker that he is for his family can motivate African-American dads everywhere.
-Glenn Minnis  is a NYC-based writer
"Black Fatherhood only comes back into the Black America in a forceful and beneficial way when we decide to prioritze it over pride, frustration, anger, fear, and money. The expectation that Black men will not be involved in the lives of their children must be forever changed. The condonation of non-committed Black women not advocating for or blatently interfering with healthy, regular relationships between their children and their children's fathers must be challenged. There needs to be an internal change of heart in our communities before we can hold the courts and government accountable for the continual decay of the Black family."