By Justin Sink - 06/20/14 07:23 AM EDT
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama want their teenage daughters to work minimum wage jobs "to get a taste" of the tough labor involved, they said in an interview published Friday.
“We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair,” the president told Parade magazine. “But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”
The first lady added that “every kid needs to get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work.”
“My last year in high school, I worked at a bindery, side by side with grown-ups who had been there their entire lives. Knowing that I, as a 16-year-old, was getting the same income and doing the same work … it gave me respect for those workers,” the first lady said. “But it also gave me an understanding that more is needed for folks to be able to cobble together a decent life on minimum wage.”
The president said his early jobs included scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins and working as a waiter at an assisted living facility.
“I also worked as a painter. My first four jobs were minimum wage or close to it,” the president said.
The White House as a policy does not disclose details about the Obamas' daughters, but Malia Obama, who will turn 16 next month, has reportedly been working as a production assistant on a Steven Spielberg-produced TV show this summer.
The president said part of the motivation for the working family summit was the Obamas’ own experience juggling parenting and careers. He said early on, caring for the children “creates a strain” for families struggling with multiple careers or debt.
“Look, we had Malia, and then three years later, we have Sasha. At that point, our student loans are still more than our mortgage,” Obama said. “Michelle’s working full time. I have three jobs. There are stretches where I’ll be away for three days at a time. If the babysitter can’t make it, Michelle’s the one who’s got to scramble and figure it out.”