When I heard their stories, I found it to be a fascinating insight into how one country is coming together to acknowledge, discuss, and solve a serious problem it faces.
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.
Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.
The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.
The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.
Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.
Other countries have guns, but the United States has a lot more and it's not even close. The U.S. is the only country in the world that has more guns than people (a whopping 120 guns for every 100 people). The next highest country for gun ownership (the Falkland Islands) has half the per capita gun numbers we have.
Not only do we have far more guns than anywhere else, but we have relatively few federal laws regulating those guns. We have state laws, but they vary widely and that makes a difference—so much so that research shows some states are negatively impacted by neighboring states' lax gun laws.
(And yes, there is a correlation between gun death rates and gun laws—states with stricter laws have lower gun death rates and vice versa. These stats are easy to look up and they're also gathered in this article and in this article.)
However, I know from writing about this topic for years that facts and stats don't seem to matter. Nothing seems to matter—that was clear after first graders were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary and Congress did nothing. We see shooting after shooting and nothing changes.
It's exhausting and baffling, which is the energy Senator Chris Murphy brought to the Senate floor shortly after the news of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting broke. Murphy represented the district where the Sandy Hook shooting took place in 2012 and has advocated for Congress to take up gun legislation for years. In this speech to his Senate colleagues, he channeled the emotions of millions of Americans who are begging for lawmakers to do something.
The "code word" that the kids who survived Sandy Hook had to use to help them get through the memories and trauma of what they experienced is just too much.
"Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority if your answer is that, as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing? What are we doing? Why are you here, if not to solve a problem as existential as this?"
Murphy asked the questions so many of us want to scream at Congress after each mass shooting. The majority of Americans support commonsense gun legislation. Certain gun laws, such as universal background checks, have the support of 83% of Americans.
Murphy's plea to "find a path forward here" may be fruitless, but it's right. Congress needs to act. State laws are not effective when an issue affects the whole country and state borders are just imaginary lines on a map.
Lawmakers in Texas, which tops all states for gun ownership, recently relaxed the state's already loose gun laws to allow anyone 21 and older to carry a gun without a permit and without any training. Texas leadership has bragged about its gun culture and taken pride in "protecting the Second Amendment," despite there being nothing in that amendment that prohibits the regulation of firearms.
When some states want to live in the Wild West, with a firearm free-for-all and baseless claims that a "good guy with a gun" will solve our gun violence problem, we need sensible people to at least attempt to protect America from its worst instincts. It is entirely possible to have the right to gun ownership and also have sensible gun laws and anyone who says otherwise is full of it. We have plenty of examples of it in countries around the world, as well as in states within our own country.
What we can't continue to do is nothing, because it's obviously not working.
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.