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Friday, September 07, 2012

Michelle Obama Struck Gold on Being a Family

FSU Girl - Kathleen Parker

Harry Note - Kathleen Parker writes a relatively conservative column for the Washington Post. But like Charlie Crist (former Florida governor) - it seems like more and more the Republican Party has left her. She does not tow the party line as much - very similar to George Will. I love how she writes - I love that she is an FSU girl - and to me bright women are very sexy. She looks like the thousands of women walking around Florida State's campus - including Lulu.

There’s no point trying to find something wrong with Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention. It was perfection.

From her stage presence to her delivery — from the punctuating smile to the stra­tegic
 repeti­tion of the words “you see” — it was brilliant. The first lady ruled the first night of the conven­tion, and that’s saying some­thing given the lineup of ora­torical stars she followed, notably the Castro twins, Julian and Joaquin, respec­tively mayor of San Antonio and Texas congressional can­didate.

No matter what one’s poli­tics, only the mingy-minded could fail to be proud of America’s first lady Tuesday night. In this spirit, I submit my favorite lines of the speech, which have received scant attention. It was per­haps the most important statement of any thus far uttered in either convention and has been sorely lacking from the American conversa­tion.

Herewith: “He was so proud to be sending his kids to college, and he made sure we never missed a regis­tration deadline because his check was late. You see, for my dad, that’s what it meant to be a man. … That was the measure of his success in life — being able to earn a decent living that allowed him to support his family.”

She was talking about her father, of course, and his struggles to make sure his children got an education.

One could extrapolate her meaning to include the prob­lem of unemployment, which, she asserted, would be solved under Barack Obama’s watch. But the larger mes­sage was not political. It was that being a man means tak­ing care of your family. It means showing up and being

It means that children
 need a father.

To this point, Michelle commented during a film montage immediately pre­ceding her speech that her girls would not be who and what they are without a man who loves them. Their father.

The photo accompanying this statement showed President Obama nuzzling their young­est child.

This profound and simple message shouldn’t need elab­oration, but we seem to have forgotten it. During the past several decades, women have been encouraged by a culture dismissive of traditional fam­ily structure to feel free to go it alone and ignore the contri­butions that fathers make in the nurturing of children.

One needn’t diminish the heroic efforts of single moms, many of whom are single by necessity or cir­cumstances beyond their control, to understand that fathering is just as important as mothering. From their fathers, boys learn to be men, and girls learn how to man­age them. The Obama girls
 are indeed blessed. They’ll know how to relate to men in healthy ways and how to navigate a sexually aggres­sive culture in which some boys won’t have had a decent man to guide them.

Yes, women can teach girls these things, too, but a fa­ther’s love for his daughter teaches without preaching. A girl knows what a healthy man’s love looks and feels like. She sees how he treats her mother. She learns by experiencing what should be.

The importance of father­hood to the health of children and therefore to the nation can’t be exaggerated. Studies have shown for decades that social pathologies afflicting the young tend to cluster among children without fa­thers. We also know from experience and the testimony of some of Tuesday night’s speakers that single mothers can and do raise exceptional children. Again, see the Cas­tro twins.

But these young men
 are exceptional, which is why we are so riveted by their biogra­phies.More often, young males (and females) without fathers wind up in trouble.

Boys join gangs in search of male fraternity missing at home. Young females seek male attention, mistaken for love, through sexual adven­turism.

The Obamas seem to be a model family, as do, by the way, the Romneys. I also loved Ann Romney’s speech in which she said she doesn’t have a perfect marriage. She has a “real” one. Those who have spent time in the marital trenches understand what she meant — that marriage is hard work and that parenting is the hardest of all.

That Michelle Obama chose to underscore those struggles and to set an ex­ample for women and, through her daughters, for little girls was a gift to the nation. That she chose to highlight her father’s mean­ing to her life — and that of her husband to her daughters — was a gift to the future.


Contact Kathleen Parker at .

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