The Most Important Job


Obama and daughtersPresident Obama talked yestereday to teens and others about how important it is to be a good father. He appears to be a good one himself, even though his was absent, someone who was “a myth to me, both more and less than a man.”

I loved my father. But I have spent much of my life dealing with pain about him–that he seemed to love his other son, the one who was born and died before I ever appeared, more than me.

It is only lately, long after my father died, that I have come to realize that despite his shortcomings, he not only cared for me but also he passed on many good things to me.

I am a father, too. I believe my daughters know, despite my shortcomings, how much I love them.

Having a difficult childhood, or other obstacle, may explain some of our challenges as parents, but none of it is a reason to fail as parents.

Being a parent–father or mother or grandparent or aunt or uncle or family friend or older sibling or foster parent or any of the other ways we parent–is the most important job in the world.

Even President of the United States.