You may have read recently about a New York elementary school canceling their annual Father-Daughter Dance in the name of inclusivity, citing a new city education guideline to “eliminate” any “gender-based” practices unless they have a “clear” educational purpose.
What you probably did not hear about was how one Dallas, Texas school chose to recognize the vital role of fathers in the lives of their children.
In December of last year, Billy Earl Dade Middle School planned to have their first “Breakfast with Dads.” About 150 male students, ages 11 to 13, signed up to attend. Almost all of the students were from low-income families. Concerned that many of the boys would show up without a father, or any male figure, at their side, organizers put out a call for volunteers who could serve as mentors.
Nearly 600 men showed up!
Stephanie Drenka, a Dallas photographer and blogger, chronicled the event and was quoted in a January 6, 2018, Washington Post story (1) as saying:
“I will never forget witnessing the young students surrounded by supportive community members. There were so many volunteers, that at times I saw young men huddled in the center of 4-5 mentors. The look of awe- even disbelief- in students’ eyes as they made their way through the crowd of “Dads” was astonishing.
Jamil “The Tie Man” Tucker led the auditorium in a hands-on icebreaker activity. He spoke of learning how to tie a tie as a rite of passage some young men never experience. Mentors handed out ties to the eager students and helped them perfect their half-Windsor knot.
The sight of a necktie may forever bring a tear to my eye.”
Today 33% of children in the US live without a father in the home. More than triple what it was in 1960. And we wonder why we have the problems we do today.
All of this brings to mind that “anybody can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” So, all you dads out there, you don’t need a school to host a breakfast or a dance to make some never-to-be-forgotten memories with your son or daughter.
And you don’t need a son or daughter to be a mentor to those in need of one.