Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What Daddy Dilemma?

I am not sure what the point of this article is by Melissa Harris-Lacewell. It suggests that President Obama has a dilemma on his hands because he grew up without his father and he became President, yet he talks about the importance of fathers being involved in their children's lives ... Big dilemma!

Wait, why is that a dilemma? The President had a very unusual upbringing (that mostly involved his married grandparents raising him) that almost no children with uninvolved fathers will have.

Ms. Harris-Lacewell also says that the experiences he had as a result of being raised by a single mother (adolescent angst, search for self-identity, etc) were his recipe for success, and that children who grow up with fathers will not have these experiences .... What? Doesn't every teenager have those experiences? How about the 40 or so other Presidents in our nation's history who did grow up with their dads. They obviously had experiences that led them to the Presidency.

Like I said, I don't understand the point of the article ... Do you?


  1. Christopher BrownJune 17, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    I certainly don't understand the article especially in light of the overwhelming edivence that kids are at greater risk for a host of pooor outcomes than when raised in a home with both of their parents.

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  3. This article is a bit odd for a few reasons. First, the writer suggests "that President Obama lacks some imagination when it comes to analyzing the necessary ingredients for childhood success." In my view, he has plenty of "imagination." That's why he wrote "Dreams of My Father." For years, he had to imagine what it would be like to have a father...and it took him 400+ pages to work this out. It's pretty clear that, unlike the writer, he would not assert that he "thrived" because he didn't have a dad--as if we should create father absent homes to give kids a similar "opportunity"--but that he had success in spite of this. And he wants to make sure that his kids, and the nation's, don't have to experience what he did.

    Second, the writer’s premise and argument is self-defeating. If Obama "lacks imagination" in his analysis of the ingredient for childhood success, must not his lack be linked to him growing up without his father as well. You can't have it both ways by attributing his success to father absence without attributing his "shortcomings" to it as well.


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