In his weekly Internet and radio address on Saturday, President Barack Obama talked candidly about his own father, and how his absence impacted the way he and Michelle raise their girls.

“I never really knew my father,” the president said. “I was raised by two wonderful grandparents. But I still wish that I had a dad who was not only around, but involved, another role model.

“That’s why I try to be, for Michelle and my girls, what my father was not for my mother and me.”

Barack Obama Sr., an economist who came to the U.S. from Kenya in 1960, divorced the president’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham in 1964, three years after the younger Obama was born. He last saw his son in 1971, and died in a car accident in 1982. Obama wrote a best-selling book, Dreams from My Father, which detailed his sense of loss at not having his father around.

Obama in his weekly address said being a good dad isn’t easy, and mentioned the many types of families who work to raise healthy children: gay and straight parents, and also grandparents and foster parents.