Mental Health Wellness

Learning to Fly

Adapted from an article originally written by Alicia Lorio, Interview by Luke Gober

The importance fathers play in building the future.

Fathers Building Futures is a program at Clayton Early Learning that strives to empower males in early childhood and provides resources for fathers and father-figures. While currently inactive, Fathers Building Futures has has lasting impacts on fathers in the Denver community. 

“Being a father is one of the most humbling and honorable life experiences I have ever gone through,” Fathers Building Futures Co-Chair, George Davis, reflected, “It’s life’s highest of roles and still at the same time, the most humbling of roles.” George is the father of two to Julian and Gianna Davis. Through the committee George has been able to connect with other men and journey through fatherhood together. However, through his children George has been able to learn and grow in ways he never thought he could.

“A while back, my daughter came home and was telling me about a baby bird she saw at school. She was describing how the baby bird couldn’t fly. When I asked her ‘why didn’t the baby bird fly away?’ she responded, ‘because the daddy bird didn’t teach her yet.’ I don’t think I have ever heard a child refer to the daddy bird like that—it is always the momma bird who they reference (which is a great testament to mothers). It wasn’t until it sunk in later what this meant for me as her dad. She is my daughter, and I as her daddy bird, have a role of teaching her—of giving her wings to be independent… She set a benchmark I will always shoot for. I will make a point to teach her because anything she doesn’t learn will fall on me. She drove home the meaning of what it meant to be a father and put things into perspective of the physical and emotional connection between us.” 

The men are committed to empowering men and families in building their children’s futures. This father-daughter interaction has served as a catalyst to drive the fathers’ work and signifies what the committee—and being a dad/male role model—is all about. The presence, connection, and relationships fathers and father-figures provide are what truly matter. 

“It’s about being there,” George said, “It’s about empowering fathers in their journey. They might not have the highest education, the best job, or the most money—but they still add to their child’s life in some way. We want them to recognize their gifts and pass it along to their child versus focus on what they couldn’t pass on. It’s about giving men the confidence in themselves—to boost themselves up and recognize they can make a difference in their child’s lives.” 

Daddy birds matter.