The President of the United States wrote an open letter to American fathers encouraging them to spend time with kids.
This Sunday in the United States was Father’s Day, that annual time of year we feel guilted into calling our dads and wishing them well. Barack Obama is a father of two girls himself, and he made a point this weekend of posting a letter on the White House blog (yes, there is one) about what being a father means to him. The piece is written in Obama’s characteristic style, and signals the start of his administration’s program to help fathers in need spend more time with their children. Called the Year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families, Obama has negotiated cheaper ticket prices and coupons for activities for dads and kids. The gesture came from noble intentions, but there was one line in Obama’s letter that stuck in the craw of gamers across the nation.
“We know that every father has a personal responsibility to do right by their kids – to encourage them to turn off the videogames and pick up a book; to teach them the difference between right and wrong; to show them through our own example the value in treating one another as we wish to be treated. And most of all, to play an active and engaged role in their lives,” Obama wrote, with the emphasis mine.
Now, Obama doesn’t have a history of being an ignorant hater of electronic entertainment, but he has cautioned against videogames and other technology distracting students from education in the past. The tone the President uses, however, when discussing games is far from inflammatory, he just advises fathers to take an active part in their kid’s lives. Whether that comes with the games on, or off, is up to the father in question.
And being a lover of books, I can’t fault Obama for advising kids to pick up a Tolkien or Isaac Asimov or George R. R. Martin novel instead of playing the 57th round of Black Ops or watching the 5000th annoyingly long cutscene.
On second thought, maybe Martin is a little too racy for those under ten. Wait until you’re 13, kid, before you pick up A Game of Thrones. Then it will blow your freaking mind!
Source: White House.gov