Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
June 9, 2024 ·  5 min read

Hundreds of Men Show Up for Dallas School’s ‘Breakfast with Dads’ Event

With so much darkness in the world, it’s important to remind ourselves that light can still be found. A middle school in Dallas got an amazing reminder of this still-existent light. The school was hosting a ‘breakfast with dads’ event. It became apparent that many kids may not have active father figures in their lives. As a result, the school turned to social media for help.

600 Volunteer Dads

The school realized that around 50 of 150 participating students, ages 11-13, didn’t have present dads. One of the event organizers, Kristina Dove, came up with the idea. She told ABC News then, “It’s a way to engage the students’ family during the school day and it’s especially important for middle school students.” She decided to reach out to the community on Facebook. Her initial goal was for 50 “dads” to show up. However, amazingly, Dove’s Facebook post blew up almost overnight, and a total of 400 men volunteered to come to the event. Ultimately, a total of 600 “dads” showed up to Billy Earl Dade Middle School.

The event included breakfast and a variety of ‘ice-breaker’ activities. One of the volunteers, Jamil Tucker, showed up with a tie for each young man. Additionally, he taught the kids how to tie them. Stephanie Drenka was the photographer for the event and was touched by the beauty of this event’s outcome.

She told ABC News, “I started crying behind my camera. The back of my camera was fogging up.” She continued to explain, “You’ll never forget as a young man the first time you tie a tie. So many of our young men they never experience that rite of passage.” As for Dove, she has high hopes for the future. She hopes these wonderful volunteers will continue to work with her. Furthermore, she hopes they might mentor other young men in the years to come.

Dads have Differing Roles

Roles and needs change over time; eventually, children learn more and grow, evolving into adults. As a result, it becomes apparent whether or not someone got what they needed from their moms and dads. Parents do the best they can. However, the unfortunate reality is they aren’t always given the most effective tools from their parents. Because of this, many people go to therapy to work through some unhealthy patterns learned growing up.

Subsequently, moms and dads play integral roles in the healthy development of children. In a more traditional sense, moms nurture and provide care, while dads are more playful partners, however its not that simple anymore. Additionally, dads play a crucial role in emotional development, learning to interact with peers and how to do simple tasks like shaving or tying a tie.

Although most of us don’t know the full extent of these necessary influences, we do know strong adult examples are important for healthy growth and development. Most people don’t have a well-rounded understanding of how to do simple everyday tasks, without seeing what it takes to be adults, extending those skills into becoming moms and dads. So, to what degree is it necessary for dads to play active roles in their children’s lives?

Read: Your Kids Don’t Need a Perfect Mom, They Just Need a Happy One

The Importance of Fathers & Expert Opinions

Statistically speaking, fathers play an important role. According to A Father’s Place, research shows that when fathers are involved, their children are:

  • Two times more likely to go to college
  • 80% less likely to spend time in jail
  • 75% less likely to experience teen pregnancy

Children in father-absent homes account for:

  • 71% of all high school dropouts
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children
  • 63% of youth suicides

The importance of fathers was further highlighted in an older but still relevant 2006 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The report describes a father’s role in a child’s life as exceptionally important, stating that “Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.

Not only do dads have an impact on emotional development but also social development. When dads spend time one on one with their infants and preschoolers, engaged in stimulating and playful activities, children learn how to better regulate their behavior.

More recently, in 2021, Southern Illinois University also conducted a study to weigh the benefits of children having active dads in their lives. In the study, Riley Marshall and colleagues found that because dads tend to do more playing and less caregiving than moms and the results were similar. “Fathers’ affection can meaningfully impact their children’s attitudes about their self-worth.” Children whose dads play an active role, and play with them, often have higher levels of confidence in themselves and the world around them.

Different Ways to Play

Physical play is equally as important as imaginative play, as it gives children stimulation and, subsequently, awareness of different body parts and autonomy over their bodies. One of the most important things dads can do for their children is to be present, to actively engage them in play and conversation, and to teach them how to treat others with kindness, respect, and compassion.

Additionally, this story is a beautiful reminder that there is still kindness to be found in the world. Moreover, we all can do our part to cultivate that kindness. This simple act of kindness, by hundreds of men, or acting dads, in the Dallas area has the potential to help hundreds if not thousands of young men discover their strengths, find their worth, and lead them to become strong, happy, and mentally healthy individuals. We need more events like this one.

Keep Reading:  It’s science: Reading Aloud to Your Kids Makes Them Smarter and Kinder

Sources

  1. How a father’s love helps kids thrive in life.” Greater Good. Maryam Abdullah. June 17, 2021.
  2. Father-child play: A systematic review of its frequency, characteristics and potential impact on children’s development.” Science Direct. AnnabelAmodia-Bidakowska,et al. September 2020.
  3. The importance of a father in a child’s life. Pediatric Associates of Franklin. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  4. “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect. 2006
  5. Hundreds of men show up for Dallas school’s ‘Breakfast with Dads’ event.” ABC News. Joi-Marie McKenzie. January 8, 2018.