Father’s Day will soon be here. A new book by Joshua Kendall “First Dads: Parenting and Politics From George Washington to Barack Obama” might be a good read or even a good present for dads interesting in the parenting skills of our presidents.
From George Washington to Barack Obama, Kendall discusses all 43 presidents. All were fathers–38 had children biologically and 5 by adoption. Rather than discuss them chronologically, he divides his book into six categories. For example FDR is categorized as “Preoccupied.” One of his children reports that he had to make an appointment to speak to his father and even then FDR didn’t listen.
The book is packed with anecdotes that the author feels offer insights into why certain presidents governed as they did. Many presidents–James Monroe, Zachary Taylor, William McKinley, lost children at very young ages. Kendall believes losing children often caused some of these presidents to be distracted, but in the case of William McKinley, who lost two daughters before they were 4, those loses caused him to work harder as president in order to escape the pain of their deaths.
Being a powerful world leader doesn’t mean that these men made great fathers.
In fact these powerful and influential men seemed to “flounder and fail even more than the rest of us.”