Our President’s Letter to his Daughters

Perhaps you’ve already seen this now public letter from our President-Elect to his daughters.

Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you’ve both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to
picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably
shouldn’t have let you have. But I also know that it hasn’t always been easy for you and Mom, and
that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn’t make up for all the time we’ve
been apart. I know how much I’ve missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little
more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me-about how I’d make my way in the
world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world
with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up
my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn’t seem so important anymore. I soon found
that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life
wouldn’t count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness
and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that’s why I ran for President: because of what I want
for you and for every child in this nation.

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential-schools that challenge
them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them
to have the chance to go to college-even if their parents aren’t rich. And I want them to get good
jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time
with their own kids and retire with dignity.

I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you’ll live to see new technologies and
inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our
own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep
us from seeing the best in each other.

Sometimes we have to send our young men and women into war and other dangerous situations to
protect our country-but when we do, I want to make sure that it is only for a very good reason,
that we try our best to settle our differences with others peacefully, and that we do everything
possible to keep our servicemen and women safe. And I want every child to understand that the
blessings these brave Americans fight for are not free-that with the great privilege of being a
citizen of this nation comes great responsibility.

  Sasha (l) and Malia Obama at play in New Hampshire in
2007.
  Bumper cars at the Iowa State Fair in August 2007.

That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I was your age, reading me the
opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and telling me about the men and women who marched
for equality because they believed those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean
something.

She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can
always be made better-and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us.
It’s a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know
America should be.

I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to
give others the chances you’ve had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back
to this country that has given our family so much-although you do have that obligation. But because
you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something
larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.

These are the things I want for you-to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and
no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help
build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and
thrive that you girls have. That’s why I’ve taken our family on this great adventure.

I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every
day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the
White House.

Love, Dad   

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://mysticallimpet.blogspot.com Travis Greene

    That bumper car picture is awesome.

  • Matias

    May this father and all fathers around the world reflect the love of our Father in heaven and may we never forget that children see better than they hear.

  • Charlotte Gonzales

    Dear President and mrs Obama. I can’t tell you enough How very happy and proud I am that you are our president. and ask God everyday to protect and keep you and your family safe. I get so upset when people start to say such hateful things. and I always say give him a chance. . They expect for him to part the water and things will be ok. How can people be so close minded or should I say ignorant. By that I mean that after all of the mess that the past administration left us in. people should keep their mouth shut and if they can’t help then have something nice to say. But I have all the confidence in you and know that sometime they will appolgize. My wishes for you an your family is nothing but the best and want you to know that I love you, Mishell and your beautiful daughters. Thank you a million times over.
    Charlotte Gonzales Las Vegas New Mexico


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