Thanks to two wars and some questionable foreign policy, America hasn't always been the most effective ambassador for democracy. Leave it to an emerging nation to make democracy fun again.
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.
Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.
Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.
Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.
Alberto started playing in 2020 in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Italy was one of the first countries to experience a serious lockdown, and Alberto's mother used the opportunity to start teaching her son to play piano. Alessia Cingolani and her husband Simone Cartuccia are both music conservatory graduates, and mom Alessia told Italian entertainment website Contrataque that she and her husband recognized Alberto's talent immediately.
She said that although Alberto spends a lot of time at the piano, he also has plenty of time for school and play and television, like a normal kid.
There's genuinely nothing "normal" about this kid's piano playing, though. Watch:
Wow, right? There are countless adults who took years of piano lessons and never got to that level of playing. It's like he's channeling Amadeus himself.
According to Corriere Adriatico, by the time he was 4 1/2 years old, Alberto had participated in seven national and international online competitions and won first place in all of them. His mother told the outlet that he started out practicing for about 10 minutes a day and gradually increased to three hours.
"He has a remarkable flair for the piano," she said. Um, yeah. Clearly.
Some commenters expressed some concern for the boy based on his seriousness and what looks like dark circles under his eyes in the video, but if you check out other videos of Alberto playing at home, he is more relaxed. Most of his playing and competition entries have been done online, so performing for a crowd is probably new for him. And in interviews, his mother has made it clear that they prioritize normal childhood activities.
Some children are just genuine prodigies, and Alberto certainly seems to fit that bill. Can't wait to see what kind of musical future awaits this kid.