Barack Guests on Michelle Obama's New Podcast, Where They Tease, Trade Stories — and Talk About Their Girls
After the president's playful interruption, the former first lady continued: "One of the reasons I fell in love with you is because you are guided by the principle that we are each other’s brothers and sisters keepers."
Mrs. Obama, 56, gave podcast listeners a glimpse of what it's like to sit at their dinner table in the 40-minute discussion, which sometimes left the couple laughing as they shared personal stories about how they became involved in their communities growing up and how they translated their efforts into civil service.
President Obama, 58, explained that he ended up getting into community organizing after becoming inspired by civil rights activists, such as the freedom riders in the 1960s.
"I thought, you know, that looks like hard work but it never looks like lonely work," he said.
Elsewhere during the first of what Mrs. Obama promised will be a series of candid conversation for her podcast, she shared details about why she decided refocus the energy she was putting into her personal legal career and instead put more time into community efforts around Chicago, where she grew up.
"I had this amazing view of the southeast side of the city from my office," she explained. "I could see the lake and I could see all of the neighborhood that I came from. And I never felt further from that neighborhood than when I was sitting in that office, working on briefs and cases that had nothing to do with anything that helped a broader group of people outside of myself."
Her husband shared similar stories about his debate with himself about how to stay active in his community while balancing his law career as a Harvard graduate in 1991.
"I always say the years I spent organizing, I got more out of it than the people I was supposedly helping," he said.
The Obamas also shared their hopes about the next generation of community organizers in the U.S.
"It is much more hopeful, it is much more gratifying, much more effective to live this life as a ‘we,’ " Mrs. Obama said. "And I think as young people listen to this, as they are starting to shape their paths, I would really strongly encourage them to think about building lives that are self-less."
"It's more fun," President Obama agreed, turning the conversation back to their college-age daughters.
"When you and I think about what's the inheritance that we would like to leave Malia and Sasha, more than anything what it would be is that they are living in a country that respects everybody and looks after everybody [and] celebrates and sees everybody," he said. "Cause we know that if we’re not around, that those girls are in a society like that."
While diving into their own journeys to civil service, the Obamas expressed hope for the coming generations of community leaders in the U.S., citing slow, but progressive change they say they've already seen around the country.
"When it comes to fathers raising their girls," Mrs. Obama said, "I do think that the average father today does believe that their girl can be anything she wants to be and they are delivering those messages around the dinner table."