Dear Malia andSasha,

  I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years onthe campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs,eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easyfor you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that newpuppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I knowhow much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tellyou a little more about why I decided to take our family on thisjourney。



  When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about howI'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the thingsI want. But then the two of you came into my world with all yourcuriosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill myheart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans formyself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that thegreatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realizedthat my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able toensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillmentin yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President:because of what I want for you and for every child in thisnation。


  I want all our children to go to schools worthy of theirpotential—schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill inthem a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them tohave the chance to go to college—even if their parents aren't rich.And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give thembenefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with theirown kids and retire with dignity。


  I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll liveto see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives andmake our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our ownhuman boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region,gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in eachother。


  Sometimes we have to send our young men and women into war andother dangerous situations to protect our country—but when we do, Iwant to make sure that it is only for a very good reason, that wetry our best to settle our differences with others peacefully, andthat we do everything possible to keep our servicemen and womensafe. And I want every child to understand that the blessings thesebrave Americans fight for are not free—that with the greatprivilege of being a citizen of this nation comes greatresponsibility。


  That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I wasyour age, reading me the opening lines of the Declaration ofIndependence and telling me about the men and women who marched forequality because they believed those words put to paper twocenturies ago should mean something。


  She helped me understand that America is great not because it isperfect but because it can always be made better—and that theunfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's acharge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each newgeneration to what we know America should be。


  I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs thatyou see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not justbecause you have an obligation to give something back to thiscountry that has given our family so much—although you do have thatobligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Becauseit is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger thanyourself that you will realize your true potential。


  These are the things I want for you—to grow up in a world with nolimits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and togrow to compassionate, committed women who will help build thatworld. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn anddream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I'vetaken our family on this great adventure。


  I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can everknow. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace,and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the WhiteHouse。

  Love, Dad