Sometimes simply recording videos or images of violence and human rights abuse is all it takes to change things for the better. Or perhaps it's simply documenting one person's story and then showing that to the world. Here are a few of those who put themselves on the line, with a camera in hand, in order to make a difference.
Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.
Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.
The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.
I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.
Clayton’s videos make a huge impact on people. His latest “Dinner With Dad” had 3 million views. Many share being brought to tears, for different reasons.
Happy Sunday❤️. Is school out for you??♬ gymnopédie no.1 - Edits
Some are reminded of what they once had with their own fathers.
“I’m never gonna have something like this again,” wrote one person.
Others lament what they will never get.
“I would die for my parents to say they are proud of me just once,” wrote another.
Most fully embrace Clayton as a stand-in father, sharing their personal triumphs, challenges, and insecurities.
One person shared, “Hi dad, I got into volleyball.”
Another vented, “Dad…I can’t sleep thinking about how scared I am of real life.”
Channeling Rob Kennedy, the creator of the “Dad How Do I?” YouTube series, Clayton also shares practical skills one might ask their father, such as how to tie a tie.
How to tie a tie!♬ original sound - Summer Clayton
Or shave. Although he says you do it the same way for every part of your body … I would double check with mom on that.
With his videos, Clayton exudes unconditional love and support, helping others feel accepted. In the video below, he happily offers his chips to kids who are straight and those who come out. And with both, he jokingly snatches the chip back. If that’s not dad behavior, I don’t know what is.
He’ll even tuck you in after you fall asleep to your favorite show. Pure sweetness.
POV:Dad teaches you to Shave🙂♬ original sound - Summer Clayton
Yep, Clayton gets dad jokes, in the best way. Like the time when he just couldn’t remember what special day it was … oh right, it’s your birthday. Hyuck, hyuck, hyuck. Then he presents three different cakes. It’s cheesy and delightful.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY🎉🎉🥳🥳🥳🎉🎉🎉♬ gymnopédie no.1 - Edits
Clayton might not be a biological father (yet), but he makes for one great dad. It’s lovely to see the power of the internet being harnessed in such a positive and uplifting way. Thanks to TikTok, it’s never too late to have dinner with dad.
Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.
The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.
As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”
It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.
According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.
It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.
She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”
Wilson did everything she could to release Eva from the cat’s grasp. She told The Sacramento Bee that she threw rocks, tried choking it and gouging its eyes. But no luck. It wasn’t until she received help from a passing motorist, Sharon Houston, who had a PVC pipe and some pepper spray that the situation improved. The pair were finally able to get the mountain lion to let go, but not before it dragged poor Eva along the path trying to escape. She was quickly rushed to the vet.
Wilson’s beloved canine companion was in life-threatening trouble. Wilson’s husband, Connor Kenny, told SFGATE that Eva had suffered two skull fractures, a punctured sinus cavity, severe damage to her left eye and experienced seizures. The pup’s situation was dire.
To help cover the medical expenses, Wilson created a GoFundMe account and was soon surprised by the outpouring of love and support the public had for her heroic Malinois. The fundraiser gathered more than $30,000, well exceeding what the family needed.
And luckily, Eva never lost her fighting spirit. As was posted on her own Instagram account, Eva recovered, returning home to her sister Mishka (and to new toys, no less).
She even got a milkshake on the way home. And Wilson shared with The Sacramento Bee that there's going to be more treats where that came from, "stuffies" shall be chewed and steak dinners shall be had.
Eva might technically be a Belgian Malinois, but her true breed is hero. Her fierce determination, loyalty to her loved ones and unbridled courage came out in full force. Because of her, a life was saved. She is, without a doubt, the goodest girl.
Veteran mom for the win.
When a couple has their first child, they start out with the greatest of intentions and expectations. The child will only eat organic food. They will never watch TV or have screen time and will always stay clean.
But soon, reality sets in and if they have more kids, they'll probably be raised with a lot less attention. As a result, first-born kids turn out a bit differently than their younger siblings.
"Rules are a bit more rigid, attention and validation is directed and somewhat excessive," Niro Feliciano, LCSW, a psychotherapist and anxiety specialist, told Parents. "As a result, firstborns tend to be leaders, high achievers, people-pleasing, rule-following and conscientious, several of the qualities that tend to predict success."
However, it’s not just laziness that makes parents change their M.O. As parents gain experience, they learn not to sweat the small stuff and to have a bit more faith in their children.
Tova Leigh is a writer and performer who creates funny sketches on TikTok about parenting and feminism. To point out the differences between new and veteran moms she made a series of funny sketches with fellow mom Riona O Connor.
In the first video, the two mothers deal with fighting children. The new mommy uses a sweet voice and quietly suggests, “Oh honey, no, no fighting, sweetie. Gentle hands” to the brawling kids. When that doesn't work, the veteran mother screams, “We said stop fighting!”
We’re all doing a great job, some of us just do it a little louder (or with a hose) 😂 which one are you?! with @rionaoconnor_ #fyp #funny #parenting #momsoftiktok
The video must have hit a nerve with parents everywhere because it went viral, racking up more than 3 million views. "As a mum of 5… this is 100% accurate," Lora Bora wrote in the comments. Kira agreed saying, "I got 4…. And I felt this in my soul."
While the video was funny, it should also provide some comfort to young mothers who feel overwhelmed by the pressure to be perfect. As blogger Constance Hall points out, the need to be perfect can rob us of precious time with our kids.
"We are only half present for them all of the time due to the constant pressure to have everything perfect,” Hall wrote in a viral Facebook post. “To go to the gym, answer that email, pay that bill, cook that organic kale, blend it, get it into a patty so no one knows it's kale, get to the doctors.... Make the kids lunches cos if you order them again you will be JUDGED!”
In the second video, the two mothers have very different approaches to making a puree.
We’re all doing a great job, some of us just do it with a happy meal 🤪 which one are you? With @rionaoconnor_ #funny #fyp #momlife
In a third video, the two parents express their Christmas spirit in very different ways.
#ad AD We are all doing a great job, some of us just do it with less Christmas spirit 😉 Which one are you?! Did you recognise any of the lines? They are all from our favorite movies available on @SkyTV this Christmas. What's your favorite? With the amazing @rionaoconnor_ TAG A FRIEND #ChristmasOnSky #fyp #funny #momlife #momsontiktok #newmomvsveteranmom #ad
Kids grow up fast and if you blink an eye, you just may miss it. So regardless if you’re a new mom or a veteran mom, take a page out of these mothers’ books, relax a bit and have fun being a parent. Your kids will probably forget your vegan kale puree, but they’ll always remember the time you spent just being present.
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