The United State of Women Summit allowed women of all ages to be inspired and share stories of success. But while women were the focus of the one-day event presented by the White House, it was also a valuable experience for men.
There were a few hundred men who were in the room with first lady Michelle Obama, Oprah and 5,000 women during the keynote address at the Washington Convention Center. Michelle Obama and Oprah shared how they overcame obstacles. But they also made a point to give advice to the men in the room. Obama shared her thoughts.
On being better fathers:
“Be better. Be better at everything. Be better fathers. Good lord, just being good fathers who love your daughters and are providing a solid example of what it means to be a good man in the world, showing them what it feels like to be loved. That is the greatest gift that the men in my life gave to me.”
On being better in relationships:
“I never experienced abuse at the hands of any man in my life. And that’s sad to say that that’s a rare reality. So men can be better at that.”
On being better husbands:
“Men can be better husbands, which is — be a part of your family’s life. Do the dishes. Don’t babysit your children. You don’t babysit your own children. Be engaged. Don’t just think going to work and coming home makes you a man. Being a father, being engaged, all that stuff is important.”
On being better employers:
“Be a better employer. When you are sitting at a seat of power at a table of any kind and you look around you [and] just see you, it’s just you and a bunch of men around a table, on a golf course, making deals, and you allow that to happen, and you’re OK with that, be better.”
The first lady’s words forced every man in the room to look within himself. At times, we all can get so caught up in our own desires and goals that we fail to love those who love us the most. It’s important for men to take a step back and understand how to better love, support and inspire the women and children in our lives.