Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in Blog, Dinosaur Dad, Photo Gallery | 0 comments

Just One Week From Now…….

Just one week from now, we will be celebrating Father’s Day.  Families, in their various forms these days, will gather to shower ol dad with gifts like tools, socks, hats and custom coffee mugs that proclaim him “The World’s Best Dad”.  From what I can tell digging on the internet, Father’s Day started back around 1908 – 1913.  Generally the holiday is credited to Sonora Dodd, who wanted to honor her father on his birthday (in June) by asking her pastor to mention him and other fathers, from the pulpit.  Here is what Wikipedia says about the beginnings of Father’s Day.

Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.   Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there.  After hearing a sermon about Jarvis’ Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them.   Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

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It did not have much success initially. In the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying in the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane.   In the 1930s Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level.   She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers.   Since 1938 she had the help of the Father’s Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion.   Americans resisted the holiday during a few decades, perceiving it as just an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother’s Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes.   But the trade groups did not give up: they kept promoting it and even incorporated the jokes into their adverts, and they eventually succeeded.   By the mid-1980s the Father’s Council wrote that “(…) [Father’s Day] has become a Second Christmas for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.”

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. US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress.   In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “[singling] out just one of our two parents”.  In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.   Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972

 

As shown in the Wiki article, from the start Father’s Day has been synonymous with gifts for dad.  As we often do, we can and have gotten carried away with gift buying and giving.  We tend to tie showing our level of affection with the gift.  *I thought it was interesting from the article above that neckties were an early gift….you don’t see many of them anymore…..that’s a shame.*

The problem with gift buying for Father’s Day is that we can also boil the day down to “what to get dad?”.  While I like a good, cordless drill as much as the next guy, and a personalized coffee mug is always welcome, let’s not just give a nod to dad, hand him his gift and call it good.  Fathers and the notion that dads are important is making a resurgence after a long time of being cast to the side.  For a while now, what it means to be a dad and just what is he called to do for his family has been shifting.  Our culture has looked at the role of dad as just another income to simple sperm donor to control monger who hates his job and brings that attitude home while waiting to go hunting, bowling or just hang out in the garage.

This Father’s Day, let’s understand that dad is a leader, the one who sets the example of the direction his family should take, along with the mother of his children. Leading begins with a dad’s example and discipline.  OOOOOhhhhhhh  I said the “D” word (and I don’t mean DAD).  Discipline is NOT dishing out punishment for bad behavior and yelling like a wild man.  Discipline, the bing dictionary says this: training to ensure proper behavior: the practice or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior …note the use of the word “teaching”.  That is one of a father’s main roles in the family.  A dad teaches by example and words and setting a frame of rules and standards which define how a family conducts itself.  Often these rules are broken by his children because they don’t have the same standards in their minds and that is when a dad needs to move those children in the right direction.  Discipline is a balance of toughness and kindness,  teaching while training, guiding with firmness.  Discipline without love only does more damage and can be abusive and will rip a family apart…I’ve seen it.  Until I started to understand what a father’s role was and how he can affect his kids, I used to get angry at my kids for doing something wrong and if they raised their voice, I would actually say something like, “you don’t want to get in a yelling match because I can yell a LOT louder than you and I will shake these walls!”  Then I would often prove the point by raising my voice to that level as I finished my sentence…..and I was actually proud of the fact that it seemed to get their attention.  However it also made everyone in the house uneasy and crying soon followed and I figured I had made my point.  Thank God I have changed and continue to learn better ways of handling discipline.

Things can go too far the other way.  Today our culture has raised  “self esteem” to a level of being exalted.  We are so scared of hurting a child’s self esteem that we coddle, and hover over their every action and we are intimidated to the point of not wanting to even raise our voice a little or look upset with them if they act inappropriately.  I often say to my children that the reason we have rules at our house and I want them followed and the reason I am disappointed and yes, angry, when they don’t follow those rules is because I love them and want the best for them and I care deeply about them and if I DID’NT love them, I wouldn’t care how they act or what they say.  It’s precisely the fact that I love them that I have a framework for which I want them to operate within and I understand that they will bump[ into that framework from time to time because they are learning and growing and as their level of understanding expands, so does that framework.

So Father’s Day is for honoring dad…not simply for being dad, but for being the guide, mentor, champion, example and king of the castle.  If a dad and if his family can truly grasp that deeper meaning of Fatherhood, that will be the best way to honor dad…..although that cordless drill would REALLY be nice…..just sayin’ (HINT)!

 

Mike Austin is the father of 6 children ranging in ages 12 to 22.  He is the host of “Radio Dad with Mike Austin”, a daily, 90 second radio blurb about all things “dadly”.  Mike also produces a podcast (subscribe here) and this blog.  Contact Mike:  mike@radiodad.com


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