Exert from Barack Obama’s Last Press Conference
You know, every parent brags on their daughters or their sons. You know, if your mom and dad don’t brag on you, you know you got problems.
But man, my daughters are something and they just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day as they grow up. And, so these days when we talk as parent to child, but also we learn from them. I think it was really interesting to see how Malia and Sasha reacted. They were disappointed.
They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it’s consistent with what we have tried to teach them in our household and what I’ve tried to model as a father with their mom and what we’ve asked them to expect from future boyfriends or spouses. But what we’ve also tried to teach them is resilience and we’ve tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.
And so, you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off and you get back to work. And that tended to be their attitude. I think neither of them intend to pursue a future of politics and in that, too, I think their mother’s influence shows.
But, both of them have grown up in an environment where I think they could not help, but be patriotic to love this country deeply, to see that it’s flawed, but see that they have responsibilities to fix it. And that they need to be active citizens. And they have to be in a position to talk to their friends and their teachers and their future co-workers in ways that try to shed some light as opposed to just generate a lot of sound and fury. And I expect that’s what they’re going to do. They don’t mope.
And what I really am proud of them, but what makes me proudest about them, is that they also don’t get cynical about it. They have not assumed because their side didn’t win or because some of the values that they care about don’t seem as if they were vindicated that automatically America has somehow rejected them or rejected their values. I don’t think they feel that way.
I think they have in part through osmosis, in part through dinner time conversations appreciated the fact that this is a big complicated country and democracy is messy, it doesn’t always work exactly the way you might want. It doesn’t guarantee certain outcomes. But if you’re engaged and you’re involved, then there are a lot more good people than bad in this country and there’s a core decency to this country and that they got to be a part of lifting that up. And I expect they will be.
And in that sense, they are representative of this generation that makes me really optimistic.
This excerpt is a wonderful example of how a family has consciously built resilience and give their children room to develop their own personalities and futures.