The History of Father’s Day

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 80px; color: #000000;”] F [/dropcap]ather’s Day, contrary to popular misconception, was not established as a holiday in order to help greeting card manufacturers sell more cards.

In fact when a “father’s day” was first proposed there were no Father’s Day cards!

Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a “father’s day” in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. William Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd’s mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.

The first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington.

At about the same time in various towns and cities across American other people were beginning to celebrate a “father’s day.”.

In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

Father’s Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure. Stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends are all honored on Father’s Day.

Whether you’re a daddy-to-be or a seasoned granddad, Father’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to bask in the glow of your family’s affection and appreciation. This year, you can also make Father’s Day an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Ask yourself: Are you the father you always wanted to be? Are you the father your children deserve? Here are some thoughts on the subject from history’s greatest writers, thinkers, politicians and even comedians.

 

On Leading By Example

[quote type=”center”]Children have more need of models than critics.[/quote]
– French moralist Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)

Modern parenting experts agree. Role modeling desired behavior is a far better disciplinary tactic than harsh punishments – not to mention more effective one.

 

On Disciplining Our Children

[quote type=”center”]There must always be a struggle between a father and son, while one aims at power and the other at independence.[/quote]
-18th century English lexicographer Samuel Johnson

 

At the root of countless disciplinary issues is a child’s developmentally appropriate – but nonetheless maddening – quest for independence. While children need the freedom to explore and make mistakes in the process, a good father provides clear boundaries and gentle guidance throughout their journey.

 

On Making Decisions

[quote type=”center”]If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.[/quote]
– Bill Cosby

Like our kids, fathers need the opportunity to learn both through our successes – and through our setbacks. Getting it wrong today just means we have another opportunity to get it right tomorrow.

 

On Being There

[quote type=”center”]I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.[/quote]
– Sigmund Freud

According to the US Census Bureau, the percentage of American children living in mother-only families has increased 5-fold since 1950. Children reared in single-parent families are more likely to suffer depression and struggle with learning difficulties. They are twice as likely to drop out of school. As adults, fatherless children experience statistically fewer educational achievements and economic opportunities. They are also more likely to have trouble forming long-lasting, intimate relationships. While these situations cannot always be avoided, the consequences can: Fathers need to be active in their children’s lives, whether or not they live under the same roof.

 

On Being Humbled

[quote type=”center”]A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.[/quote]
– Knights of Pythagoras

Fatherhood is the ultimate lesson in humility – which most of us realize the first time they hear our newborn baby cry. (And if we missed that moment, then we definitely eat some humble pie the first time our little one spits up all over our new suit – just as we are rushing to an important meeting.) Children change not only the particulars of our lives – but our priorities. And once we embrace that change, our lives can become more meaningful than ever before.

 

On Keeping Perspective

[quote type=”center”]When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.[/quote]
– Mark Twain

When it comes to raising teenagers, we may not ever be able to win. If we don’t offend them, we embarrass them. The key to making it out of this stage alive is to keep loving your kids – while you remind yourself daily that they will grow out of this phase.

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