Michelle Obama was raised on Chicago’s South Side with modest means. Her father, Fraser, was a blue-collar worker, her mother, Marian, a stay-at-home mom. She gives full credit to her loving parents and the stable home they provided as the foundations of the lessons that emboldened her.
On stage, Obama spoke about her father’s deep commitment to her and her brother, Craig. She called on the fathers in the audience to be mindful of how they treat their daughters, never as possessions or delicate beings that need protection but as equal and capable members of the family.
She recalled that her father always taught her the same skills that he would teach her older brother. When he learned to catch baseballs, so did she. She also writes with pride and love about her father’s twenty-year tenure tending boilers for the city of Chicago.
“Even as his multiple sclerosis made it increasingly difficult for him to walk, he never missed a day of work,” she writes.
From her mother, it seems, Obama learned a deep understanding of personal responsibility. She and her brother were raised to become adults, not babies, according to Obama. All the important lessons of leadership — tenacity, dignity, resilience, commitment and worth ethic — Obama learned at home.