As this week progresses we fathers will begin to be inundated with “Happy Father’s Day” ads, cards, and greetings. I figured I might as well jump on the pile and talk about Father’s Day as well—after all this is a blog rooted in fatherhood.
Today’s History Lesson
I’ve long believed that holidays like this were created by greeting card companies and similar businesses to simply make money, but it turns out I was wrong in this instance. Father’s Day was created in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane, Washington. Dodd felt that there should be a day honoring fathers just like the recently recognized Mother’s Day (1910). Dodd’s father was a Civil War vet that raised six children on his own, so it’s no wonder she felt the need to find a way to give father’s a day of honor. Father’s Day became officially recognized in the United States much later (1966), but Dodd definitely got things started.
It took over half a century to get Father’s Day on even ground with Mother’s Day in an official capacity. Each time someone wanted to move toward making it official there was resistance, but that didn’t stop the movement. Fathers needed to be fought for then, and fathers need to be fought for now. Mass media has often done fathers a disservice in decades past by portraying many fathers as aloof, inconsiderate, or simply absent. These ideas have remained within the recesses of many minds, so now it is our job, as fathers, to prove our ability to be a positive influence in our children’s lives.
An Idea for the Future
One of the early purposes of Father’s Day was to celebrate the influence of fathers in society, and I think we need to get back to this idea. I think we fathers could help turn Father’s Day into a day that’s not just about us individually, but also about celebrating and improving the general influence of fathers in our society.
We can come together to share ideas about how to improve fatherhood, we can share stories about our greatest moments as fathers, and we can remove the stigma associated with wanting to be an engaged father. This idea is still in the brainstorming phase, so I’d love your input. I’m thinking we could do Twitter parties, rallies, town hall meetings, op/ed pieces, and who knows what else. We take at least one day a year to promote fatherhood while those around us celebrate us and our influence. How great would that be?
Many fathers will receive gifts this weekend, and some are likely to say something along the lines of, “World’s Greatest Dad.” Though this phrase may not be true for us we should constantly strive to make it true. We need to try our best to be a positive influence for our children and the other young people in our lives.
Receiving this type of gift is an honor, whether you agree with what it says or not. It is your job, as a father, to be the best dad you can be for your children. That’s all they ask for. That’s all they need. Be present, try your best, and, to them, you truly will be the world’s greatest dad.