Kris and I appreciated these words, and I wonder what you are thinking.
(CNN) – The President has a message for young minority men who grew up like he did.
“No excuses. Government, and private sector, and philanthropy, and all the faith communities, we all have a responsibility to help provide you the tools you need. We’ve got to help you knock down some of the barriers that you experience,” he said.
“But you’ve got responsibilities too. And I know you can meet the challenge, many of you already are, if you make the effort.”
“I didn’t have a dad in the house, and I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short,” the President said.
He compared himself to young men now who are growing up like he did.
“The only difference is that I grew up in an environment that was a little bit more forgiving. So when I made a mistake, the consequences were not as severe,” the President said.“I had people who encouraged me, not just my mom and grandparents, but wonderful teachers and community leaders. And they pushed me to work hard, and study hard, and make the most of myself. And if I didn’t listen, they said it again. And if I didn’t listen, they said it a third time – and they would give me second chances and third chances.
“They never gave up on me, and so I didn’t give up on myself.”
Every child deserves the same chances he had, Obama said.
“This is an issue of national importance. It’s as important as any issue that I work on. It’s an issue that goes to the very heart of why I ran for President, because if America stands for anything, it stands for the idea of opportunity for everybody.
“The notion that no matter who you are, or where you came from, or the circumstances into which you are born, if you work hard, if you take responsibility, then you can make it in this country,” the President said.