In the summer of 2013, James Savannah became a full-time single parent almost overnight.
The change came after his ex-wife hit a rough patch and their kids moved in with him. He went from seeing his kids only during school breaks to being their full-time caregiver.
With three children to care for alone, the transition was rough, to say the least — and was made even more difficult by the fact that he was in between jobs and didn't know where his next paycheck was coming from.
"I cried hard because they deserve more than what I was giving them at the time," says Savannah.
All images via Minute Maid.
But this hardship only made him more determined to succeed at one thing: being a great dad. "I just had to step my game up," he says.
The news kept feeding him the story that there aren't enough "good father figures" anymore, which bothered him a lot.
“That’s not true,” Savanah says. “There are so many fathers that inspire me on a daily basis.”
Feeling both personally concerned and universally motivated to create a sense of community among the great fathers of the world, he decided to do something about it.
Check out Savannah's full story:
He was living paycheck-to-paycheck trying to provide for his kids, and he decided it was time to step up his game.Posted by Upworthy on Monday, July 17, 2017
Savannah created a hashtag, #ProudDads, and started tagging his own photos and tweets as well as photos of others dads doing an amazing job.
I don't care what anyone says. Being a dad is the coolest thing ever!!!....#prouddads— James T Savannah (@James T Savannah) 1445663666
The goal was simple. "Let's just show what good fathers really are," he said.
Savannah also launched an event called Fathers First to help equip, uplift, and inspire other fathers to be great dads and offer them a support system.
"I hope ProudDads [is] a place where they can go to receive the help that they need, wherever they are in the process," Savannah explains.
Savannah's kids wanted to do something to thank him — and to show their "proud dad" that the feeling's mutual.
They wanted him to know how proud they are of him — and how grateful they are for everything he does for them — so they decided to present him with a special care package.
In it, they gave him a framed hand-drawn family portrait titled "Proud Kids" and a heartfelt letter.
"I hope you know that you have some very proud kids to match your proud dad," they wrote.
Savannah's story reminds us that there are so many dads who are involved in their kids' lives — even though sometimes it isn't depicted that way in popular culture or the media.
Fathers that are very involved in day-to-day parenting are often considered "exceptional." Too many people assume that they must take a less-active role. But there are lots of great dads out there, and Savannah wanted to raise their profile with #ProudDads.
And Savannah couldn't be more proud of the role he plays in his kids' lives.
"The good of parenthood far outweighs any challenges that you have," Savannah says. "Just your kids being happy with no cares in the world, this is what you live for."