Everyday Heroes: Good Dads Make a Difference for Other Kids

Kids are looking for heroes. Are you worthy of the title?

On this third week of honoring everyday heroes for Father’s Day, we recognize WatchDOG dads—men who volunteer at their children’s schools to have fun and be positive role models. We know that a large percentage of dads reading each week’s email have volunteered as WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students).

Topeka Martin Jardine MS sqAll dads are already heroes to their kids—or they could be. But WatchDOG dads take it to another level, and there are amazing stories from all over the country. Numerous WatchDOGS have won awards as fathers and as leaders, and their involvement in the program is often a prominent reason why.

Now, what will a WatchDOG dad do at the school to make him a hero? Leap a tall building? Not quite. But he’ll walk around the school building to make sure everything is okay.

Will that T-shirt make him faster than a speeding bullet? No, but he’ll get to work with students on math problems or reading, and he will help them become faster and more proficient in those important areas.

Will the dad become more powerful than a locomotive? No. But more important than that, he will have a powerful positive influence on kids in the school—especially kids who don’t have a dad. So many kids need someone to talk to, or just need a good word from someone who cares.

Actually, you’re even better than that, and we’re hearing similar testimonies from people involved in the program. One principal wrote this:

The WATCH D.O.G.S. fill the school with a positive spirit that is contagious…. They patrol our hallway, engage students at recess, work with small groups, help with lunch supervision and enrich the lives of everyone. We’ve seen an increase in daily attendance, parent/community involvement and fewer discipline issues. These men are my heroes for seizing this opportunity.

And we get amazing stories from WatchDOG dads. One dad named Keith worked with a boy in first grade who already had a very troubled life. He said, “This kid and many more are the ones we need to be there for. After [talking to] that boy, I went to the school’s office and penciled in a date to be a WatchDOG again.”

As Chuck was helping in his son’s classroom, his son would proudly call him “Daddy” as they interacted. Another boy noticed and asked if that was his name. Apparently he didn’t know what the word meant. Chuck explained it, and then the boy asked if he could call Chuck “Daddy” also. Chuck said, “It broke my heart.”

As Mark walked the halls, helped in the lunch room and playground, dozens of kids ran up to give him a hug and tell him how cool he was for being in the school. Mark says, “I know I am far from cool, but you cannot imagine the amount of kids who have distant dads, no male role model in their lives, or just live in an environment of discouragement. Taking a workday out of the year to pour into these students may just change a life forever.”

That’s the difference you can make for kids at your neighborhood school!
So, for all WatchDOG dads, thank you. You truly are a “hero of the hallways,” as the slogan goes.

All committed dads make a difference for their kids and other children they influence. So even if you aren’t involved in this program, find ways to encourage a child who needs a daddy. Make Father’s Day a time to reach out and show more children what a father is like.

Do you have a similar story to from your day serving as a WatchDOG, or have you reached out to unfathered kids in other ways? Please leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Must-do Action Points:

  • Ask your child, “Who is your hero?” Find out why he admires that person.
  • Are you already a father figure to a fatherless child—as a coach, youth sponsor or neighbor? Write a note of affirmation and encouragement to him.
  • Talk with your family about another child who needs encouragement, and take your whole family to watch and cheer for him or her at a sports event, recital, performance, etc.
  • This Father’s Day, identify a father figure who was instrumental in your growth and make plans to honor him in a special way. (Even if you had a great dad and he’s still around to honor, too.)
  • Your involvement in your children’s education isn’t done when summer starts. Find ways to keep them thinking and growing. Pay them to read books that are good for them; take “field trips” to local points of interest that will expand their horizons; help them hone a skill that will be useful for them in the future. Please share your ideas below or on our Facebook page.


Watch the replay of the Fathering Breakthrough Event

Join Dr. Ken Canfield and a handful of friends and partners as we give an update about our efforts to inspire and equip fathers all over the world.

There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.