We’ve all experienced or heard of TikTok by now. It’s a social media platform where users can post short video clips. While the platform seems to have a sort of reputation for inappropriate dances it’s not all bad, and this dad seems to prove it.
While he actually doesn’t have any children of his own, he calls his TikTok viewers his children. Summer Clayton says he’s a “proud dad” to 2.8 million people on TikTok – and they’re not all kids either!
Consistently, he plops right down into a comfy chair, and has dinner prepared in front of him and…you? There’s an empty plate across from him so that the viewers can feel as though they’re having dinner with him. From there he chit-chats with his “kids.” He looks directly into the camera with compassion and lets them know he’s proud of them.
He teaches them practical life lessons as well such as how to shave or encourages them saying that it’s okay to cry or to feel hurt when life hurts. Some days, he even leads them in prayer.
In a recent video he asked “All right, how was your day?” as he prepared the table with some tacos for his virtual children. “Tell me one good thing that happened and one challenging thing that happened.” When having these types of conversations, he looks directly into the camera, and he waits a few seconds so that viewers have the chance to respond. He followed up saying “Okay…I see you. That’s really cool…I would definitely celebrate that! Okay, what’s one challenge that you had to overcome today?” After giving a few moments of silence like before he ended with: “Well, I’m sorry you had to go through that,” he continues. “But I hope that you keep talking to people about how you feel. I love you, I do. Let’s eat!”
These types of videos are making a huge impact on all sorts of people from all over. It’s not all little kids either, there are full-grown adults, and some even older than he is who enjoy the experience he’s creating for them. Particularly, he’s helping those out who have gone without a father their whole lives, or who are in difficult or abusive situations.
Clayton, a civilian wellness mentor at Columbus Air Force Base in northeastern Mississippi, isn’t actually a life coach or therapist. He likewise doesn’t have any children of his own, being only 26.
To some people, these types of videos may seem odd or silly, but to others, the sympathy and charisma that shine through in his videos have resonated with people from all over who could use a father figure or someone who just needs a person to listen to them so that they feel as though they are heard.
“There’s a lot of great memories that I pull from in my childhood, but there’s also these deficits that I don’t want other people to experience, whether it’s the feeling of sitting alone in the schoolyard when I was younger or just not having that relationship with my dad that I wanted,” Clayton said.
Additionally, he gives his virtual children emotional support, good fundamental abilities, and who could forget – quality time dinner talks. You might be wondering, what does he do with the extra plate of food? Well, I’m glad to report that he doesn’t just toss it. He usually puts it away (in his stomach) after the video ends.