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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 17, 2000


As the father of four wonderful children and a new grandfather, I congratulate all fathers on this special day. I know that the humbling and richly rewarding task of fatherhood is one of the greatest joys that a man can know. Holding a new baby, reading to a child at bedtime,listening to a young person's hopes and dreams; all the times of turmoil and triumph in a child's life present a great challenge and enormous satisfaction. I was very lucky to have had the strong and unwavering hand of a father in my life. His counsel and wisdom shaped my earliest years and my understanding of many of life's most important lessons, including the example of a loving marriage.

The presence of a loving and supportive father, and a strong partnership between two parents, can give a child the security that is needed for emotional stability, confidence and competence in school, and success in life. Sadly, there are many children in our country today who will never know this kind of happiness and security. There are fathers who are unwilling, or unable, to support their children financially, and who have left their mothers to shoulder a heavy burden alone. There are also financially successful fathers who have not made time for real involvement and have left their children emotionally bankrupt. The President and I have worked hard in the last eight years to increase the numbers of fathers providing financial support to their children and to support efforts at the community, state and federal level to involve fathers more meaningfully in their children's lives. We have also provided support and new tools for parental involvement in schools, especially the involvement of fathers.

I hope that all fathers will resolve to be a more supportive presence in their children's and grandchildren's lives today and every day. Only our example can teach them the real meaning of fatherhood, and that lesson will be reflected for generations to come.