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Barack Obama on lessons from your father

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 15-10-2008

In an interview with Men’s Health editor Dave Zinczenko, Obama talked about coming to terms with his relationship with his father. ”I would like to think that most of the issues related to my father have been resolved,” he said. “That’s part of what writing Dreams from My Father was about: understanding him, his own personal tragedy. He wasn’t a presence in my life, he was an idea that I had to wrestle with for a long time.

In this interview, on his 47th birthday, he said, “Somebody once said that every man is either trying to live up to his dad’s expectations or make up for his dad’s mistakes. And I’m sure I was doing a little bit of both,” Obama said said. “But I feel that somewhere in my late 20s or early 30s I sort of figured out what his absence had meant.

“It is part of what I think has made me a pretty good dad. … There’s no doubt that it has contributed to my drive. I might not be here had it not been for that absent father prodding me early in life.”

Contrast that with the preceding story on Gérard Depardieu’s son. One child rebels all his life, the other, quite possible the next president of the United States, overcomes all odds to make history. One could make the case, I guess, that every individual make his or her own choices, or that genetic predisposition sets everything in motion at the time of conception and and that dads and moms are just unwitting witnesses to the entire passion play. As a dad, however, I have to believe that what we do does matter. Study after study seems to indicate that Obama is the exception, Depardieu the rule.