Obama celebrates early Father's Day with other dads

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama celebrated an early Father’s Day on Wednesday as he visited a barbecue restaurant to have lunch with four dads.

U.S. President Barack Obama jests with U.S. Army 1st Lt. Bill Edwards as they eat at Kenny's BBQ in honor of the upcoming Father's Day weekend in Washington June 13, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Over a plate of beef ribs and steamed vegetables at Kenny’s BBQ on Capitol Hill, Obama chatted with two fathers who are on active duty in the military and two neighborhood barbers about an administration initiative aimed at highlighting the importance of fatherhood.

Launched by the Department of Health and Human Services, the “Fatherhood Buzz” initiative aims to work through barber shops to connect dads with financial literacy help, job training resources and other resources.

“Barbershops are where a lot of men come, and we want to work with barbershops to figure out how we can get better information to fathers about resources that are available to them,” Obama said.

Obama spoke of the importance for fathers of being actively engaged in their children’s lives.

“It makes a huge difference,” he said. “It turns out that with the father being involved, kids are less likely to do drugs, girls are less likely to get pregnant.”

Obama, father to Malia, 13, and Sasha, 11, wrote in his memoir “Dreams of My Father” about growing up fatherless after his father left the family when he was two years old.

During a 2007 campaign stop, he described the lack of a father in his life as one of the experiences that helped shaped his life.

“What that meant was that I had to learn very early on to figure out what was important and what wasn’t, and exercise my own judgment and in some ways to raise myself.”

Obama is expected to spend time with his daughters on Father’s Day, which falls on Sunday, June 17.

Editing by Eric Walsh