Laura Bush on Absent Dads

Lost in Washington's chaos last week was first lady Laura Bush's White House Conference on America's Youth -- the culmination of her year-long effort to focus attention on the needs of young men and the responsibilities of fathers.

Laura Bush: Children whose parents show them love and support and stay active in their lives have an enormous advantage growing up. Yet, too many children grow up in homes where one parent is absent, most often their father. Young people who grow up without their dads suffer a profound loss. And as I've traveled, I've been encouraged to meet so many young men who have suffered this loss, and because of it have resolved to be a good father to their own children. Being a good dad doesn't always come naturally. Young men who become fathers need help in learning how to stay involved in their children's lives. Children want us in their lives. They need us in their lives. And I've learned from the remarkable men and women I've met across our country, each one of us has the power to bring hope and opportunity to children's lives.