Washington: Himself a proud father of two teenage daughters, US President Barack Obama on Father`s Day today underscored the crucial role men play in society and asked dads to get more involved in their children`s lives.
"I know how important it is to have a dad in your life, because I grew up without my father around. I felt the weight of his absence. So for Michelle (Obama) and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn`t have when I was young," Obama said in his weekly radio and web address to the nation.
"And every chance I get, I encourage fathers to get more involved in their children`s lives, because what makes you a man isn`t the ability to have a child, it`s the courage to raise one," he said as he highlighted actions he is taking on behalf of hardworking, responsible dads and moms, such as hosting the first-ever White House Working Families Summit later this month.
Obama said in a few weeks, he will hold the first-ever White House Working Families Summit.
"We`ve still got too many workplace policies that belong in the 1950s, and it`s time to bring them up to date for today`s families, where oftentimes, both parents are working," he said.
"Moms and dads deserve affordable child care, and time off to care for a sick parent or child without running into hardship. Women deserve equal pay for equal work ? and at a time when more women are breadwinners for a family, that benefits men, too.
"And because no parent who works full-time should have to raise a family in poverty, it`s time for Congress to follow the lead of state after state, get on the bandwagon, and give America a raise," said the US President.
"Dads work hard. So our country should do what we can to make sure their hard work pays off; to make sure life for them and their families is a little less stressful, and a little more secure, so they can be the dads their kids need them to be.
"Because there`s nothing more precious in life than the time we spend with our children. There`s no better feeling than knowing that we can be there for them, and provide for them, and help give them every shot at success," Obama said.
Over the past couple of years, Obama said, he met with a lot of young people who don`t have a father figure around.
"And while there`s nothing that can replace a parent, any of us can do our part to be a mentor, a sounding board, a role model for a kid who needs one," he said.