Americans by and large are very proud of their family values which they celebrate through elaborate functions such as the birthdays of their children, Father's Day and Mother's Day every year. This year Father's Day was celebrated as always in the third week of June. Newspapers were full of attractive ads of gifts for Father's Day to attract the children. The most interesting piece was a letter written by Mr Barack Obama to his daughters two days before his inauguration as the President of the United States and which was published this year on Father's Day. Very few US presidents have expressed such sentiments for their children. Only President Kennedy had his young son, John, playing in the Oval office while he was busy in his work. The photograph taken on this occasion was all over American media the next day. John unfortunately died in a plane crash a few years ago when he was piloting it as a young man. So expressing his sentiments for his daughters Mr Obama wrote: "I could be anything in life, I would be a good father." Obama's sentiments for his children reflect his own sense of deprivation as his father left him when he was two years old. Mr Obama further said: "As the father of two young girls who have shown such poise, humour, and patience in the unconventional life into which they have been thrust. I mark this Father's Day our first in the White House, with a deep sense of gratitude. One of the great benefits of being president is that I now live right above my office. I see my girls off to school nearly every morning and have dinner with them nearly every night. "I observe this Father's Day not just as a father grateful to be present in my daughter's lives, but also as a son without a father in my own life. "In many ways I came to understand fatherhood through its absence in my life. I came to understand the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safer streets but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference. That is why we need fathers to step up to realise that their job does not end at conception, that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one. "As fathers we need to be involved in our children's lives not when it's convenient or easy, and not just when they are doing well but when it is difficult and thankless and they are struggling. That is when they need us the most. "Our children can tell when we are not fully there. This disengagement sends a clear message where our priorities fall. So the need is to step out of our own heads and tune in. We need to turn off the television and start talking with our kids and stops listening to them, and understanding what is going on in their lives. We need to realise that we are our children's best teachers. When we are selfish or inconsiderate, when we cut corners or fail to control our temper, our children learn from that when we see those behaviours in the schools or on the streets." He further added: "But it also works the other way around. When we work hard, treat others with respect, spend within our means and contribute to our communities those are the lessons our children learn. They are fulfilling their most fundamental duties as father to show their children by example the kind of people they want them to become. There are plenty of days of struggle and heartache when we fail to live up to our responsibilities. I know I have been an imperfect father, I know I have made mistakes. I have lost count of all the times over the years due to the demands of work when I failed to perform the duties of fatherhood. I have pledged that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father. I know that my own life wouldn't count for much unless my daughters had every opportunity to live their lives fully, and satisfactorily. I know I had an obligation, as we all do, to help create those opportunities for them and for all their children. "On this Father's Day I am recommitting to those duties that all parents share to build a foundation for our children's dreams and to give them love and support they need and to stick with them the whole way through. No matter what doubts we may feel or difficulties we may face. That is my prayer for all of us on this Father's Day and that is my hope for this nation in the months and years ahead" The writer is director news, PTV E-mail: