For the last three years, schools in the Oklahoma City district have been participating in the Take Your Child to School Day, organized by TRUE Dads Oklahoma. Fathers, stepfathers, uncles and other men are invited to bring their student to school and have breakfast with them in the cafeteria.
More than 90 extra attendees showed up at F.D. Moon Elementary School on Friday morning. There were men of different ages and walks of life, dressed for work or in casual clothing, but they had one thing in common: All of them are a father, or father figure, to an F.D. Moon student.
For the last three years, schools in the Oklahoma City district have been participating in the Take Your Child to School Day, organized by TRUE Dads Oklahoma. Fathers, stepfathers, uncles and other men are invited to bring their students to school and have breakfast with them in the cafeteria.
The event encourages male role models to be actively involved in the children’s lives and celebrates the positive impact such relationships can have.
Calvin Williams, director of fatherhood services for Public Strategies, the group that created the TRUE Dads program, says that too often all the community hears about fathers is their absence.
“This is just one way to show that these men are here, they’re engaged and they’re important in their kids’ lives,” Williams said. “When these kids walk in with their dads, they’re proud to be with them.”
Gayland James was one of the many fathers to attend. He had work that morning but took time off to take his daughter, Gaybriana, 8, to school.
“When I said I couldn’t go she was a little down, because she said everybody else’s father was going to be here,” James said. “I had to call in to work. I always want to support her in everything she does.”
Gaybriana’s smile as she sat next to her father in the cafeteria told more about the value of that support than words ever could.
Several tables away, Don Thompson and his son, Xavier Jones, 9, enjoyed their meal together, as well. Thompson always has taken a leading role in Xavier’s education, setting aside four or five days a year to visit his son’s school and observe his classroom performance.
“I think it’s something every father should do for their child,” Thompson said.
“Follow their education, help with homework, take a few vacations every year. I want him to be a young man who grows up to value education.”
Lessons for all
Jordan Franklin, 4, might be too young to appreciate any influence on his education, but he was clearly happy to hang out with his step-grandfather, Arthur Washington.
Franklin was even dressed for the occasion in a vest and hat that coordinated with his grandfather’s.
After breakfast, fathers walked their children to their first class of the day.
The kids were bursting with excitement, eager to show their fathers and father figures their classrooms.
When the last child had been escorted into class, the fathers gathered in the school’s music classroom for a quick lesson of their own.
Williams thanked them for their participation and encouraged them to continue their involvement.
“What you do for your children is what you do for the community and the world,” he said.