Honouring fathers

It’s a mystery why Father’s Day simply doesn’t stir up the attention that Mother’s Day does. Every year, flowers are sent, phone calls are made, jewellery is purchased and dinner reservations are made in sweeping amounts and numbers to celebrate our mothers – and rightly so.

Come Father’s Day, there aren’t as many ads in the paper for brunches. And there isn’t as much hoopla surrounding the day in general. That’s a shame, as good fathers deserve to be recognized just as much. The day itself was launched early in the 20th century to complement Mother’s Day.

According to Wikipedia, after the success obtained by Anna Jarvis with the promotion of Mother’s Day in the U.S., some wanted to create a similar holiday for other family members and Father’s Day was the choice most likely to succeed.

It was founded in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane and its first celebration was on June 19, 1910.

Her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who reared his six children in Spokane. After hearing a sermon about Jarvis’ Mother’s Day in 1909, Dodd told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honouring them.

Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors hadn’t enough time to prepare their sermons and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

It did not have much success initially. A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.

President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation.

In 1957, Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honouring mothers, thus “(singling) out just one of our two parents.”

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson finally issued the first presidential proclamation honouring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

Six years later, the day was made a national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

It was about time. Fathers play a key role in the raising and development of children, and their role is often not recognized as much as it should be.

Of course, not all fathers are exemplary examples, but many are. This Sunday, take the time to show your dad you care and appreciate the contributions he has made to your life.

After all, none of us would be here if it weren’t for our fathers.

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