Local dads are heroes to their families
Last month TulsaKids editors asked for nominations for Super Moms. This month, in honor of Father’s Day, we invited readers to nominate Hero Dads. The nominations were all amazing, and we had a hard time choosing because every dad was a hero in the eyes of family members who nominated them. Thank you for sharing your stories with us, and we wish all you dads out there an awesome Father’s Day!
We chose Bryan because it isn’t often that your ex will nominate you for anything, much less being a great dad. We appreciate that this couple obviously puts their child first in their partnership as parents. Beyond the nomination, we asked Bryan to write about what fatherhood means to him. Here is what he wrote:
Fatherhood means quite a lot to me. I never truly knew what it would mean to me before I had Sydney in my life. I have been truly blessed by my Lord and Savior and thank him every day for this blessing.
Sydney brought new purpose and meaning into my life. I seem to have sought the path of least resistance before her, but I now seek a path that will bring her guidance and love.
One of the main things I am trying to pass on to Sydney is a sense of love and self-respect in today’s world while encouraging her to excel in everyday activities. I feel it is truly important for a young girl to realize that her self-worth and importance comes from within.
As a parent, it is my job to help her find her potential. I guess it’s probably every parent’s goal that their child goes a little further than them in life. It’s just the different vehicles we use to unlock this potential.
My hope would be that someday she will look back and see how I truly see her through my eyes.
Baby Layla was born seven weeks early on February 3, 2019. Her dad, John, has been by our side every step of the way from mom being on weeks of hospital bed rest to when our little one came home on her actual due date of March 25, 2019. We want to nominate him as our family’s HERO. You may think you know what love is, but then life threw us a curveball of crazy challenges. Seeing John’s support for mom and baby through a combined stay of 70+ plus days at St. John Hospital and now the transition at home has shown our family an entire new understanding of love. He is not just our husband and dad, but he is for sure our strength and our hero.
No matter what is thrown our way, my husband stands strong for us. When we lost our son last December, he was our rock and made sure that we were okay – without a thought to himself. Any time our daughters need something, he is there, whether to chaperone a school trip, help with homework or just to go outside and play. He is the best cheer and ballet dad I know, always going the extra mile. Working multiple jobs and wearing multiple hats, he is our family’s glue and we don’t know what we would do without him. Please help us celebrate everything he is and will be.
Ryan encourages our daughter to do things my female brain wouldn’t think of. He reads to her at night after studying the value of his voice to her learning experience. He helps her think bigger, laugh bigger and grow bigger than I could do on my own. I’m always baffled at his approach to things—truly a man’s heart; it brings such a depth of meaning to our daughter’s life. He is on the floor playing with Barbies, teaching her to care for her pup-a-dup (Chewy, her mini labradoodle), or buying her reading flashcards that he saw on Amazon. He just surprises me and reminds me of the value to us all of different perspectives than our own. His perspective enriches our daughter’s life (our lives!). Plus, he leads her in Christ to not just be talkers—but doers helping in the community. She will always climb mountains with the encouragement of such a loving father.
Tulsa-area preschoolers, kindergarteners and first-graders know this guy as “Mr. Benji,” the children’s musician that periodically appears in their classrooms or the local library for a fun-filled interactive show. Mr. Benji is also my husband, and, in our house, he’s just Daddy — but that “just” is defined as our stay-at-home dad extraordinaire who reads daily (character voices included), coaches the boys’ sports, leads our local Tiger Cub den, and SO much more!
At first glance, you may not consider Benji a “stay-at-home dad” because he uses so much of his time spreading his gift of music back into the community. But after getting to know him, you realize how important being home for meals, bedtimes, sick kids, hockey practices, t-ball practices and more is to him. He is involved in this community in such a wonderful way that, while he doesn’t always “stay home,” when he does, he has game night and steps on Legos like the rest of us!
What truly stands out about this guy is that most of what he does for the community is on a volunteer basis. Music in Jenks, music for the children’s library downtown, music for Eliot Elementary and Channing Day School — all volunteer work because he believes these kids need music in their lives — for free. Benji Latham is a true dad hero to his family and to the children of Tulsa. He has earned and deserves this title!