Greetings and Happy Father's Day!
On behalf of the Administration for Children and Families and my office, the Office of Family Assistance, congratulations to all you dads on being an engaged, responsible and concerned father. I know you wouldn’t be visiting this blog if you didn’t care about your role as a father, dad and friend to your children.
Father's Day is a special day for me because it gives me a chance to reflect back on my past and think of my future with my four-year-old son. Unfortunately, I lost my father just after my wedding, 18 years ago. As a result he never had the opportunity to meet his grandchild, Owen, and vice versa. Yet, in the years before his death he took me on a life journey that set the stage for me — however late in life — to follow in his footsteps and be an engaged and committed father and husband. My dad’s efforts to be a good father were based on his love, devotion and goal for me to be a civil and respectful person. All of his work set the stage for me to have a vision of what it means to be a good father, dad and husband.
As you all know, parenting comes with its challenges. We plod along in this role, trying not to lose focus or sight of our purpose because we know deep down inside of us it is the right thing to do. It can be difficult. The beauty of fatherhood can come quickly and/or instantaneously. For example, when after a long day in the trenches, a screaming, wide eyed, gapped toothed smiling, whirling dervish of a child scampers around the corner as you open the door, and jumps in your arms yelling "Daddy!" Then, just as quickly and enthusiastically, jumps out of your arms and races back to watch, for the 100th time, the final scene of Star Wars, at that moment you know that the force is with them. Because, for that moment all seems right.
So on this Father’s Day I hope that you all have the opportunity to feel and direct the force of your child or children in a positive way. It is a special privilege to be a father and I hope you all have the ability to revel in the moment when you look into their eyes as you open their cards wishing you Happy Father’s Day, because it is at that moment when you know the force is with you.
Earl Johnson is director of the Office of Family Assistance. Prior to joining the Administration for Children and Families, Johnson was senior Policy Advisor to Oakland, California Mayor Ron Dellums, where he was responsible for helping set policy and program goals for the city in the areas of workforce, health and urban affairs. He also worked with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships on fatherhood initiatives.