President Barack Obama: The Father-in-Chief
By Lauren Fluker
President Barack Obama is a man of many titles. He’s known as President of the United States, Chief of State, Chief Executive, and Commander-In-Chief among many others. But perhaps the most important title to President Obama is not one that pertains to his occupation, but his role at home as dad with daughters Malia, 13 and Sasha, 11.
We know all too well President Obama’s history of growing up without a dad. In fact, the inspiration behind Obama’s favorite sport is his father. During Obama’s formative years — particularly his twenties – he was given his first basketball from his dad. While his memories of his father are few, Obama insists the ball was one signal his father had given him. Becoming an adult without a strong fatherly influence can prove to be detrimental to young girls and boys alike, which is why fatherhood is of paramount importance to President Obama. We’ve seen him very hands on with his girls – from closely monitoring their social life to coaching the girls in basketball, in addition to staying current on the latest teen idols. And he continues trying to help other dads do their best with The White House Fatherhood Initiative.
Since its creation nearly two years ago, The White House Fatherhood Initiative goal is to give American fathers access to useful tools, resources and information that will make them better parents. Through this governmental initiative, men have access to almost whatever is needed to combat the increasing crisis of fatherlessness in America and all the challenges that lie beneath the issue.
The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse is an Office of Family Assistance (OFA), which serves as a subsidiary of The White House Fatherhood Initiative. Directed by Kenneth Braswell, the purpose of the organization is to support strong fathers and families. Braswell is leading an eight-city tour for this “fatherhood buzz” that will be hosted by metropolitan area barbershops throughout the U.S. The tour will focus on paternal topics like honoring fathers on Father’s Day and how to inspire commitment to responsible fatherhood.
The initiative has also created a sense of support for other constituents of active fatherhood, like Eric Payne, founder of Makes Me Wanna Holler and father of two. His blog focuses on life, love, and fatherhood. Payne was born to a relatively established father, but still understands the disparity of involved African-American fathers within the community and believes, “the focus doesn’t have to be on the negative to affect change.”
Lauren Fluker is a senior at Clark Atlanta University majoring in Mass Media Arts with a television emphasis. As a student at Clark Atlanta University her biggest accomplishment was studying business and international journalism in Istanbul, Turkey.