Most assumed that President Barack Obama would speak on gun violence before students and faculty of Hyde Park Academy, in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. Instead, President Obama spent time advocating for the importance of fathers and both parents to our children and our communities. Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director of Fathers and Families, reports.
After recognizing victims of gun violence, including those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old from Chicago who was killed just days after she performed with her high school band at President Obama’s inauguration festivities, the president took a more personal turn in his speech to the students and faculty.
“As the son of a single mom who gave everything she had to raise me, with the help of my grandparents, I turned out okay,” President Obama said, calling single moms “heroic” and worthy of praise.
But he added, “At the same time, I wish I’d had a father who was around and involved.”
Young boys and young men, in particular, “don’t see an example of fathers or grandfathers, uncles, who are in a position to support families, and be held up and respected,” President Obama continued. Yet the biggest factor in determining a child’s success — and preventing a child from sliding into a life of crime — is having a “loving, supportive family,” he said.
“And by the way, that’s all kinds of parents. That includes foster parents, that includes grandparents, extended families. That includes gay or straight parents,” President Obama added to applause. “Those parents supporting kids, that’s the single most important thing. Unconditional love for your child, that makes a difference.”
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