Senator Barack Obama spoke today at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago for Father’s Day. During his speech, he stated “…there are still certain lessons we must strive to live and learn as fathers – whether we are black or white; rich or poor; from the South Side or the wealthiest suburb.” He encouraged fathers everywhere to strive to learn to and live to:
- Set an example of excellence and high expectations for our children, one that overcomes the negative stereotypes the media produces and that our young people sometimes ingest ad nauseam
- Pass along the ability to be empathetic; the ability to “stand in somebody else’s shoes” and to teach our children that showing kindness and compassion to others are symbols of strength, not weakness
- Tap into the hope that is inside of us all, that hope that says that as long as we believe in something and are willing to work hard for it, we can do our part to make this world better for our children
He ended his exhortation with the following:
…what I’ve realized is that life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children – all of our children – a better world. Even if it’s difficult. Even if the work seems great. Even if we don’t get very far in our lifetime.
“That is our ultimate responsibility as fathers and parents. We try. We hope. We do what we can to build our house upon the sturdiest rock. And when the winds come, and the rains fall, and they beat upon that house, we keep faith that our Father will be there to guide us, and watch over us, and protect us, and lead His children through the darkest of storms into light of a better day. That is my prayer for all of us on this Father’s Day, and that is my hope for this country in the years ahead. May God Bless you and your children. Thank you.”
I’d say that while this was a great Father’s Day speech, it applies to parents everywhere, not just fathers. It applies to teachers. It applies to mentors. It applies to us all. Let us ensure that we are all setting that example, no matter how imperfect it may be, so that the next generation will inherit a world in which we all seek the good in children of God everywhere.