Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus
thinner_close_xCreated with Sketch.
Parenting

11 Quotes From Barack Obama That All Dads Should Hear

“Every father bears a fundamental obligation to do right by their children,” the former president said.

Barack Obama is fatherhood goals.

He wrote about his relationship with his own father, Barack Obama Sr., in his book “Dreams From My Father.” Early in his presidency, Obama hosted a town hall meeting on the trials of fatherhood during his Young Men’s Barbeque in 2009. He always seemed happiest when he was kicking it with the kids at the White House Easter Egg Roll or visiting schools around the world.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks with his daughters Sasha (left) and Malia (right) during the annual turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2015.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks with his daughters Sasha (left) and Malia (right) during the annual turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2015.

And of course, the former president consistently expressed support for his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, during their years in the White House and as they have grown into young adults.

Many dads could learn a thing or two about leading a family from the former leader of the country. This Father’s Day, we look back at times when the former president offered some tough, yet loving, advice to fathers on what it takes to raise smart, powerful, compassionate children who may make the world a better place.

Obama presents a pen to Jacob Miller after signing legislation.
Obama presents a pen to Jacob Miller after signing legislation.

On Being A Man

“What makes you a man is not the ability to have a child — it’s the courage to raise one.” ― Father’s Day speech, Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, 2008

On Being A Father

“As fathers, we need to be involved in our children’s lives not just when it’s convenient or easy, and not just when they’re doing well — but when it’s difficult and thankless, and they’re struggling. That is when they need us most.” ― Op-ed in Parade magazine, 2009

Obama shakes hands with Palestinian children during his visit to Al Bera Youth Center in the West Bank in March 2013.
Obama shakes hands with Palestinian children during his visit to Al Bera Youth Center in the West Bank in March 2013.

On Teaching Empathy

“We need to show our kids that you’re not strong by putting other people down — you’re strong by lifting them up. That’s our responsibility as fathers.”Father’s Day speech, Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, 2008

On Raising Daughters

“It’s up to us to say to our daughters, don’t ever let images on TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and reach for those goals.” ― Father’s Day speech, Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, 2008

Obama talks with Akira Cooper during a visit to a classroom at the Community Children's Center in Lawrence, Kansas, in January 2015.
Obama talks with Akira Cooper during a visit to a classroom at the Community Children's Center in Lawrence, Kansas, in January 2015.

On Raising Sons

“It’s up to us to tell our sons, those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in my house we give glory to achievement, self-respect and hard work. It’s up to us to set these high expectations. And that means meeting those expectations ourselves. That means setting examples of excellence in our own lives.” ― Father’s Day speech, Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, 2008

On Education

“Michelle and I know that our first job, our first responsibility, is instilling a sense of learning, a sense of a love of learning in our kids. And so there are no shortcuts there; we have to do that job. And we can’t just blame teachers and schools if we’re not instilling that commitment, that dedication to learning, in our kids.” ― Remarks on No Child Left Behind flexibility, 2011

Obama plays a learning game while visiting children at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, Georgia, in February 2012.
Obama plays a learning game while visiting children at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, Georgia, in February 2012.

On Making Mistakes

“I’m still practicing, I’m still learning, still getting corrected in terms of how to be a fine husband and a good father. But I will tell you this: Everything else is unfulfilled if we fail at family, if we fail at that responsibility.” ― Morehouse College Commencement speech, 2013

On A Father’s Strength

“Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, they teach us through the encouragement they give, the questions they answer, the limits they set, and the strength they show in the face of difficulty and hardship.” ― Father’s Day proclamation , 2012

Obama and a young boy sort toys and gifts for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., in December 2014.
Obama and a young boy sort toys and gifts for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., in December 2014.

On A Father’s Duty

“Every father bears a fundamental obligation to do right by their children.” ― Father’s Day proclamation, 2012

On Precious Moments

“In the end, that’s what being a parent is all about — those precious moments with our children that fill us with pride and excitement for their future, the chances we have to set an example or offer a piece of advice, the opportunities to just be there and show them that we love them.” ― Father’s Day address, 2011

On Unconditional Love

“Above all, children need our unconditional love — whether they succeed or make mistakes; when life is easy and when life is tough.” ― Father’s Day address , 2011

Obama plays with a baby at the 138th Annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House in March 2016.
Obama plays with a baby at the 138th Annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House in March 2016.