It seems that Dwyane Wade and Allan Wade Houston share more than a common name. Both NBA players are among the millions of men in the United States that are labeled "father" and affectionately referred to as "Dad". It is for this cause that the talented Shooting Guard for the reigning NBA Championship team, the Miami Heat, and the extremely disciplined Assistant General Manager to the New York Knicks united on the same stage during the NBA's All-Star Weekend 2013 in Houston, TX.
One day after Houstonians celebrated St.Valentine's Day and began preparing for All-Star Weekend, Pastor Joel Osteen, Dwyane Wade and Allan Houston united to discuss a different kind of love - a love for one's children.
The Fatherhood and Family Panel Discussion, held at Osteen's Lakewood Church, aimed to shed light on fatherlessness and the plight of single mothers in America. The discussion was moderated by none other than CNN's top-notch correspondent, Soledad O'Brien. Author and NBA veteran, Etan Thomas, joined the panel with former NBA star, Michael Redd, to discuss the impact of a fatherless household in urban neighborhoods. Pastor Carl Lentz of New York made a special musical appearance at the end of the program.
Statistics reveal that fatherlessness is a huge problem in America. When compared to children reared by both parents, fatherless children were more likely to experience drugs, alcohol, penal institutions, and parenthood at an early age.
Philanthropy was at the heart of the discussion. Both, Wade and Houston, founded decade-old charities that focus on nurturing and empowering children.
"Children learn by doing. [He] could tell [his children] to give back to their community, but it is better that [he] show them the way to do so."
Surely, Wade and Houston are practicing what they preach. The Wade's World Foundation and Allan Houston Legacy Foundation are well-known for their basketball camps, which encourage positive relationships between mentors and students. Students learn life skills while playing on the court.
Though the words spoken came from different people with different backgrounds, the message was clearly formed and cohesive among the lot. All echoed Allan Houston's sentiment that: "Fatherhood is a God-given responsibility that must be taken seriously."
Charity definitely starts at home. Luckily, the home of All-Star Weekend just happened to be Houston in 2013.