I was watching Saving Private Ryan the other day. I remember the opening scene vividly because that was exactly what happened the day my grandfather died. My grandfather was jumping out of a carrier to get to the beach exactly like in the movie. The only difference was that my grandfather was at the Solomon Islands. He was gunned down and died on the beach while my father was still in the womb.
President Obama’s father was not a war hero but in the President’s eyes he was standing for a cause. I never realized that until I saw presidential historian Doug Wead talking about Obama’s father in an interview. It was fascinating to hear about the role, or lack thereof, father’s play in the shaping of leaders.
Doug Wead stated that many African nationals went to universities abroad to study with the intent to one day return to Africa and effect change. Obama’s father was one who actually returned albeit at the expense of his family. Doug went on to say that Obama’s father stood as an example to his young son as someone who took action for what he believed in. In fact, Obama’s father showed the future president how to lead.
He went on to say that many of the fathers of US Presidents were either out of the family or not present. Obama’s father made the decision to return to Africa which inspired the president to take a risk and lead. While I may personally disagree with the decision Obama’s father made I can see how that would have an impact on the future president.
Doug Wead went on to say that kids follow the example of the father. Even if a father misses a few ball games to take care of his responsibilities this isn’t totally detrimental because the child sees the father leading. Obama’s father may not have been present but he showed an example of leadership to his son.
My grandfather may have passed away before my father was born but he set an example to risk your life for good. In a similar way, Obama’s father did the same thing.