OK, dads, it’s your turn Sunday — whether there’s social distancing in the way or not.
It’s no big secret that every year, Mother’s Day in May tends to outshine the day in June set aside just for Dad. The gifts tend to cost a bit more, the day’s activities tend to be more involved and more “all about Mom.” And this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re not even seeing the usual church-sponsored Father’s Day breakfasts or brunches.
While fathers seldom complain about this common knowledge that Father’s Day just isn’t as exciting a holiday, the apparent way we view the two different days says a lot about how we view our male and female parents — so maybe dads deserve more credit than we give them.
According to the History Channel, in 1909 a woman in Spokane, Wash., named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful the next year. But it was slow to take hold beyond the Pacific Northwest until President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments in 1924 to observe Father’s Day. Not all did, and it was still unofficial. Eventually, President Richard Nixon proclaimed it a national holiday in 1972, officially kicking in an event that economists estimate annually generates just over $1 billion spent on gifts.
And while Father’s Day is always the third Sunday of June in the United States, in most of Latin America the holiday is marked on March 19. That is the feast day of St. Joseph, celebrated by Christians as the foster father of Jesus.
If you’re among the many lucky sons and daughters of the world who had a father who put in the effort, from the day you were born to the day you moved out to forge your own path, you’ve got an old man out there worth celebrating this Sunday.
Maybe make this the year you get Dad more than the staple fallback necktie or the humorous Hallmark card with the dad joke you couldn’t have said better yourself. This Father’s Day, put that extra bit of effort into showing your appreciation for the dad, stepdad, grandfather, foster dad or other devoted male guardian who put in the time to help mold you into the person you are today.
Maybe you had one of those dads who worked a lot while you were growing up — so pay him a visit or call him up and tell him you’re grateful for instilling in you that same kind of work ethic.
Or maybe there’s some other lesson or value your pop passed down. As writer Umberto Eco once stated, “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by the little scraps of wisdom.”
Always found it kind of hard to open up and talk to Dad? You’ve probably got at least one fond memory of an activity you once did together — fishing trips, ballgames, going out for a movie and ice cream.
To all those new fathers-to-be who are busily and anxiously readying a nursery, we thank you for the hard work you’re already putting into the development of a child. To all you single dads and stay-at-home dads who are tearing down stereotypes as you master a nontraditional parenting role, we thank you. To the more traditional working father who still makes time in the evening to talk with his kids or throw a ball around, we thank you.
And for those whose fathers who have passed on, and whose legacies live on only in the beautiful memories they bestowed upon their children, we give the gift of happy thoughts or prayers.
So please, reward Dad’s efforts this Sunday by putting in some greater effort of your own.
He’s worth that much, and then some.