Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Presence

President Barack Obama writes an endearing essay 'Being the Father I never Had' for People magazine.

"And even though my sister and I were lucky enough to be raised by a wonderful mother and caring grandparents, I always felt his absence and wondered what it would have been like if he had been a greater presence in my life. I still do. It is perhaps for this reason that fatherhood is so important to me, and why I've tried so hard to be there for my own children...

They need our time, measured not only in the number of hours we spend with them each day, but what we do with those hours. I've learned that children don't just need us physically present, but emotionally available – willing to listen and pay attention and participate in their daily lives. Children need structure, which includes learning the values of self-discipline and responsibility."

My father was always there in my life. As a farmer his presence around the fields, barns, and greenhouses meant that there were always ways to participate in the daily process of work and recreation. Much of the time was simply enjoying the knowledge that he was there while I rode my bike around the farm yard or played catch with my siblings up against the giant barn door, or took walks with our dog to the pond and fields.

Obama's essay encourages one to think about how we can offer quality time for our children and others in the community. As well as being President, Obama volunteered as an assistant elementary basketball coach.