In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence — both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference.
That is why we need fathers to step up, to realize 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.
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Chief Lehnen is a devoted husband and father of four special needs children, and with over 10 years of service, he has shown extraordinary dedication to his family and country. That dedication has been honored with multiple awards including the Sailor of the Quarter and Navy-Corps Achievement and Commendation Medals and the 2009 Military Fatherhood Award from National Fatherhood Initiative. Chief Lehnen also cares deeply about his fellow sailors and their families, encouraging sailors to participate in the United Through Reading
campaign and family readiness groups.
the President's full remarks and conversation at that White House event.