Last year on Father's Day, as we inched toward the presidential election, then-Sen. Obama used his platform to speak sternly to men everywhere. Too many fathers are "missing from too many lives and too many homes," he said. "They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men."
Echoing those sentiments this year, President Obama writes in Parade magazine about what fatherhood means to him. Though grateful to be close to his own daughters, he remembers learning about the importance of fatherhood "through its absence -- both in my life and in the lives of others":
I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference.
That is why we need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one.