He's spent the week debating the legality of the United States participation in Libya, and meeting with top officials to alter the United States' role in Afghanistan, but in his latest speech, President Barack Obama focused on what he called his most important role: fatherhood.

In his weekly address Saturday, President Obama celebrated fathers, placing particular emphasis on having a father figure present.

I grew up without my father around. He left when I was two years old, and even though my sister and I were lucky enough to have a wonderful mother and caring grandparents to raise use, I felt his absence. And I wonder what my life would have been like had he been a greater presence.

Understanding that life is tough for a lot of Americans today, Obama said, and knowing that more and more kids grow up without a father figure is why the president and his administration have placed a special effort to support men who want to be good fathers.

The president pointed to fatherhood.gov, his fatherhood and mentoring initiative, which aims to focus on fatherlessness as a growing crisis in America.

When dads aren't around, young people are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs, be involved in the criminal system, and become young parents themselves, the fatherhood.gov website said.

Obama's fatherhood initiative mirrors one New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg started last year, called NYC DADS, which celebrated its one-year anniversary Friday. NYC DADS, too, is designed to strengthen families, particularly those in New York, by helping fathers be more active in their children's lives.

We know that dads matter in the lives of children, said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs. The NYC DADS initiative is helping fathers be there for their kids, both financially and emotionally. The City's ongoing cross-agency commitment to considering - and supporting - the specific concerns of fathers sends the important, empowering message that the City believes they are crucial components in the strengthening of our families and the nurturing and development of our children, she said.

Obama also talked about what his own daughters, Malia and Sasha, have taught him children need from their fathers: time and love.

More important than the quantity of hours we spend with them is the quality of those hours. Maybe it's just asking about their day, or taking a walk together, but the smallest moments can have the biggest impact, Obama said. And above all, children need our unconditional love - whether they succeed or make mistakes; when life is easy and when life is tough.