I did some interesting reading this morning about the nationally and internationally recognized celebration of fathers. (That would be today for us in the USA.) I was surprised to learn that although attempts were made, especially by presidents Wilson, Coolidge and Johnson, to declare it a permanent national holiday, it was Richard Nixon that finally signed it into law in 1972.
Not surprisingly, it was back in 1909 that a woman, Sonora Smart Dodd, had the idea of celebrating fathers in the same manner as were mothers. She was sitting in church listening to a Mother’s Day sermon, thinking of her own father whose wife had died in childbirth and left him to raise his six children on his own. So it was in 1909 that the first celebration was held in Spokane, Washington, a celebration in churches where red roses were handed out to be pinned on living fathers and white to commemorate the deceased. At the conclusion of the service, Dodd rode through the city in a horse-drawn carriage with her own infant son, bringing roses and gifts to home-bound fathers. (Wikipedia)
Many people today consider both Mother’s and Father’s Day “Hallmark holidays,” indicating the economic benefit to salespersons. Personally, I have always been happy to celebrate both days dedicated to parents (no material gifts…just love and kisses) because I was blessed with two amazing models of what parents can be. It is always my hope that people who have not been similarly fortunate might have people in their lives who fulfill that role for them, not with material gifts but the gift of love and a willingness to stand as a guide in navigating the path to adulthood.
Perhaps today is a good day for us to look around and find a younger person or two for whom we can fill that role and learn what a privilege it can be. Happy Father’s Day!