Sep 10

#MillionFatherMarch movement #AllKidsMatter

Dads on Duty welcoming school kids first dayOn Sept. 1st,  I ran across a FB picture in my newsfeed from a page called Dads On Duty. The comment read, “AWESOMENESS: Nearly 100 of the school dads greeted children at an elementary school in Hartford, CT on their first day back to school Tuesday. They cheered on the kids, gave them high fives, and offered encouragement as they walked in to start a new school year.”  This is part of a bigger movement called #MillionFatherMarch, which started in a church basement in Chicago 12 years ago, of which several pics from the Chicago area are posted below. This was my first hearing of it.

Dads on Duty welcoming school kids first day4

Dads on Duty welcoming school kids first day3

Dads on Duty welcoming school kids first day2I was so impressed by this action by a group of what appeared to be primarily African-American men that I shared the photo and posted, “Black (and I hope other ethnicities as well) dads and local businessmen take time out of their day to welcome students back on their first day of school. LOVE THIS!! Can we get this going in Washington? I live in Tacoma…would love to do something like this for the kids. Do you know how they’d feel? How they’d respond? How they’d DO as students (and ultimately adults) if parents and adults were to cheer them on as they entered their schools?

P1010261Well, on Sept. 2nd, I got a FB message from a friend, Fralisa McFall, who asked me if I’d be interested in greeting her students that were starting the school year at her school, Imagination School, in Spanaway, WA.  Fralisa had also seen the picture a couple of weeks prior and thought, “Hmmm”, and when I posted the picture and comment, she took the proverbial ball and ran with it.

I said, “Sure! I’d love to do that.” The first day of her school was today, September 9th, starting at 8 am. I jumped out of bed, dressed, and eagerly drove up the street to the school. I was the first one there. Not unusual, as when I went to school, I was usually the first one there. Some things never change.

Fralisa did it a bit differently. She invited both male and female, from ALL races and ethnicities, to show up and greet a small number of students who attend her private school. My understanding was that 10-12 adults were scheduled to show during the day, and in the morning, we had 7 adults show up.

Right at 8 am students and parents started arriving. Parents were not aware we were doing this, so it was as much a shock to them as it was to the children. The first child, a little boy, stood at the end of the sidewalk for a few seconds contemplating his move, as his path to the door was blocked by these 7 big people. With a little encouragement from mom, he walked through us, high-fiving everyone along the way. The second to arrive was the cutest twin girls you could imagine. They too stopped, looked at us, looked at their mom, looked at each other, and finally started walking through. We high-fived them as best we could, but one of the girls just wasn’t feelin’ us.

The third to appear was a young boy who literally EXPLODED through the line, high-fiving everyone and having a great time. He missed one hand, and when his mom told him, he ran back and slapped it HARD! Future politician, I’m sure.

The next child was a pre-schooler. She was adorable! Unfortunately she wouldn’t release mom’s leg as she walked in, so we let her pass unscathed. The next two were brought by both mom AND dad. One child took the left side and the other took the right side. Down the yellow brick road they walked, striking the hands of only those on their side.  This continued until all the students were in the classroom, about 15 total. We were allowed to go inside to cheer them on and Fralisa and parents allowed us to take pictures with them.

P1010270I have a bodybuilding team and clothing line, and to each team member I give wristbands, and whenever I mail out a shirt I enclose a band. Well, I decided to give the bands to each of the students. They had 3 colors to choose from, all glow-in-the-dark, which I’m sure they’ll LOVE tonight. Two colors, white and pink, said, “Do Better…Become Better”, and the blue color said, “Tell me you will…tell me you won’t…don’t tell me you can’t.” Most of the children couldn’t read yet, but three of the older children read theirs.  The twins were so cute. They both started reaching for a different color, stopped, looked at each other, and then reached in at the same time for the pink one. No verbal communication. I was like, “How’d they do that?”

Once I gave all the kids a band, I asked the parents if they’d like one. Every parent wanted at least two, and a couple wanted all three for their other children. And several parents wanted one (or two) for themselves.

In all, I was there about 50 minutes. I can honestly say it was a great experience, hopefully something that the children will remember, and I look forward to doing it again next year and at other schools. The old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” is never more true today. Our societal change will have its most impactful shift with our youth. Train and educate our youth correctly, and society will be better in just one generation. It starts with the kids. We have the #blacklivesmatter movement and the #alllivesmatter counter-movement. I’m all for a new slogan – #kidslivesmatter. Who’s with me?

P1010264P1010263P1010262P1010265P1010266P1010267Fralisa McFall-Imagination School visit

UPDATE!! In a FB tag earlier this afternoon I learned that the #MillionfatherMarch had made its way across the country and was at Jason Lee Middle School here in Tacoma, WA. Great news!! But as I told Fralisa, we shouldn’t just make this a once a year thing, but a once a MONTH thing! We have to get the kids to understand that THEY MATTER!



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