Sugar Hill resident Drue Warner is a Longhorn Dad — once a month, he and other fathers who are part of the Lanier High School dads group have breakfast with their children at school. Over breakfast, the dads introduce their children and share something specific they are proud of before participating in a facilitated discussion on character-related topics, such as courage, kindness and grit.
Longhorn Dads is a chapter of All Pro Dad, an organization that is part of Family First that seeks to encourage fathers to become more involved at their children’s schools. The Lanier chapter was started in 2019 when school principal Dr. Christopher Martin approached Warner about starting a chapter.
“I wasn’t sure how high school kids would respond to having breakfast with their dads at school — at 6:15 a.m. in the morning,” Warner says, “but it has surprisingly been a great success!”
Warner and his wife of 20 years, Laura, have two children, Grace, who graduated with honors in May from Lanier High School and will attend Berry College this fall, and Micah, who completed seventh grade at Lanier Middle as a merit honors student.
“I don’t think we, as dads, have any real clue how significant our presence is in the lives of our kids and in our communities,” Warner says. “Several years ago, the television show ‘60 Minutes’ did a story on juvenile male elephants that had been wreaking havoc in African villages. There were no adult males in the elephant tribe because they had been poached off and killed for their ivory tusks. The solution was to find adult male elephants in other regions of Africa, hit them with tranquilizers, airlift, and drop them in among these juvenile males. The results were immediate and staggering. Within a matter of days, the juvenile male elephants had completely ceased their destructive behaviors on the African villages, and the reason was all because of the simple presence of the adult male elephants. If that’s true for elephants, how much more for us!”
Warner shares the following encouragement.
“For dads and men, my encouragement is to be present and to be engaged, not only in the lives of our own kids, but in mentoring relationships with boys without dads at home, and in leadership opportunities in our schools and communities,” he says. “Moms are already engaged. Dads and men are needed, too.
“I think the key responsibilities of being a father raising children are love and truth,” Warner continues. “As a dad, we can mess up a lot of things, but if we provide an environment such that our kids truly feel loved, that love will trump just about all of our mess ups.”