A Few Things Barack Obama Taught Us About Being Good Husbands, Fathers and Men

Politics aside, the man chose his words well

By Evan Bleier

 
A Few Things Barack Obama Taught Us About Being Good Husbands, Fathers and Men
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20 January 2017

We don’t know how it’ll end, but we do know that today begins a new chapter in U.S. history.

With that new chapter in mind, we thought it’d only be fitting to look back at the author of the chapter that came before: Barack Hussein Obama II, husband, father and 44th president.

But instead of looking at his accomplishments both inside and outside of the Oval Office, let's focus on examining President Obama as a man — and what he taught us about being one.

On fulfilling your civic duty …
“We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense." - From Obama's nomination acceptance speech at the 2012 DNC

On fatherhood …
“Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important … Everything else is unfulfilled if we fail at family, if we fail at that responsibility.” - From Obama's remarks at the Morehouse College Commencement ceremony in 2013

On staying persistent ...
"The future rewards those who press on. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain. I'm going to press on." - From Obama's remarks at the 2011 Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner

On what defines America …
“America is the student who defies the odds to become the first in a family to go to college - the citizen who defies the cynics and goes out there and votes - the young person who comes out of the shadows to demand the right to dream. That's what America is about.” - From Obama's remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's awards gala in 2014

On being an entrepreneur ...
"Entrepreneurship means ownership and self-determination, as opposed to simply being dependent on somebody else for your livelihood and your future. Entrepreneurship brings down barriers between communities and cultures and builds bridges that help us take on common challenges together." - From Obama's remarks at the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit

On being a dog owner (sorta') …
“All this change hasn’t been easy. Change never is. So I’ve cut the tension by bringing a new friend to the White House. He’s warm, he’s cuddly, loyal, enthusiastic. You just have to keep him on a tight leash. Every once in awhile he goes charging off in the wrong direction and gets himself into trouble. But enough about Joe Biden.” - From Obama's remarks at the 2009 White House Correspondents Association Dinner

On the importance 0f family (and basketball) …
“My best week, I will tell you, was marrying Michelle. That was a really good week. Malia and Sasha being born, excellent weeks. There was a game where I scored 27 points. That was a pretty good week. I’ve had some pretty good weeks in my life, I will tell you.” - From Obama's remarks during a  joint press conference with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in 2015

On challenging double standards ...
"As a parent, helping your kids to rise above these constraints is a constant learning process. Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard or feel unfairly judged based on their gender or race—or when they notice that happening to someone else. It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men." - From Glamour's "This Is What  a Feminist Looks Like"

On his daughters' suitors ...
“The Jonas Brothers are here. They’re out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But, boys, don’t get any ideas. I have two words for you — predator drones. You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking.” - From Obama's remarks at the 2010 White House Correspondents Association Dinner.

On what’s really important …
I know that when I am on my deathbed someday, I will not be thinking about any particular legislation I passed; I will not be thinking about a policy I promoted; I will not be thinking about the speech I gave, I will not be thinking the Nobel Prize I received.  I will be thinking about that walk I took with my daughters.  I'll be thinking about a lazy afternoon with my wife. I'll be thinking about sitting around the dinner table and seeing them happy and healthy and knowing that they were loved.  And I'll be thinking about whether I did right by all of them.” - From Obama's remarks at the Morehouse College Commencement ceremony in 2013.

Main image courtesy of White House Flickr

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