The Importance and History of Father’s Day
Father’s Day is coming up! This Sunday, June 19th is the special day when we celebrate the fathers in our lives. Father’s Day is one of those celebrations that look different in every household. In part, that’s because absent fathers are not uncommon; more than 1 in 4 children in the United States live without a father.
So, Father’s Day is not just about celebrating fathers anymore, it’s also about celebrating step-fathers, brothers, spouses, and even father figures who have been there for us throughout our lives. Life has a way of introducing us to amazing men who support, love us for who we are, and teach us important values.
Though mothers often have a more influential role in our lives, fathers do a lot for us and they deserve to be recognized. However, this wasn’t always the case! The history of Father’s Day is not without controversy — and today we want to explore it a little.
The Origin of Father’s Day
When Father’s Day was first brought forward, it was not immediately embraced. Mother’s Day was accepted first with open hearts. The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1907 and the holiday became official in 1914.
Mother’s Day was all about femininity, and gentleness, and it had a huge sentimental appeal. For this reason, men at the time scoffed at the idea of Father’s Day because it wasn’t based on “manliness.”
The first Father’s Day celebration can be traced to a service that was dedicated in 1908 to the hundreds of men who lost their lives in a horrific mining accident. Grace Golden Clayton had the idea to honor all fathers who were lost. It was an observance, but it wasn’t promoted after that as an annual event.
In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd had a similar idea. She was inspired by Mother’s Day and she wanted to celebrate fathers in the same way. That’s because she had a wonderful father who raised her and her five brothers on his own after her mother died in childbirth.
Sonora, who lived in Spokane, managed to convince the YMCA and the Spokane Ministerial Association to celebrate fathers one of the Sundays of June. She originally proposed that June 5th be Father’s Day, but the ministers settled on the third Sunday in June.
In 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated and it took a few years and the support of several presidents for the holiday to be recognized at a national level. As mentioned earlier, men didn’t immediately support this holiday because they thought of it as effeminate and sentimental, so it took some time to shake the stigma, so to speak. Finally, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation to set the third Sunday of June as Father’s day.
The Significance of Father’s Day
Father’s Day honors fathers and it’s an opportunity to celebrate what fatherhood means, the bonds we have with our fathers, and their influence on our lives and society in general. If they’ve been present in our lives, Father’s Day allows us to make them feel special and show appreciation for what they’ve done for us.
Though mothers have always been recognized for their role, the importance of fathers has taken longer for society to be aware of. That has a lot to do with the way gender roles have evolved through time. At the beginning of the 1900s, fathers didn’t had limited influence on their children.
Up until the 1970s, psychologists who were focused on parenting only studied mothers. Today, recent studies have shown that fathers have an equally important role in making children feel more confident and secure, and be able to create better social connections.
The Importance of Fathers in Our Lives
Active and nurturing fathers can also be associated with higher academic achievement in teenagers, improved verbal skills, and intellectual functioning. Overall, it has been proven that children who have active fathers in their lives are healthier at an emotional, social, and intellectual level.
Children with absent fathers are definitely affected by this missing parenting figure in their lives, which is why they need to have some kind of father figure or a male mentor. Fathers and mothers bring different things to the table, they’re both extremely important figures in everyone’s lives. This is why it’s so important to strive to be a responsible parent.
Mothers have always been recognized as the primary caretakers. They are our first point of contact with the world. They provide for us in so many different ways from the moment we are born. Their nurture and love are key to our development.
Fathers, on the other hand, provide a sense of security and discipline, not to mention they also provide for us. Generally, we turn to our mothers for emotional support and to our fathers when we need protection from something or help finding an answer.
It’s not always the case, though, and it doesn’t mean fathers can’t provide what mothers do and vice versa. The bottom line is that both of these figures provide invaluable things. However, we don’t always have positive relationships with our fathers and that’s an undeniable reality as well. But whatever father figure you have in your life, whatever healthy and positive relationship you have with a male mentor, Father’s Day is the occasion to celebrate it.
How to Celebrate Father’s Day
Father’s Day can be celebrated in many different ways, the sky is the limit! If your father is still with you, you can treat them to a party, get-together, or do something they love, like going to a baseball game. If they have passed away, Father’s Day can be a day of remembrance. You can still get together with family and honor your memory of this important person in your life even if they’re not there.
If you have an absent father, you can celebrate the father figures or male mentors in your life. Additionally, there are other fathers in the family. Brothers, uncles, grandfathers, spouses, etc., they all deserve to be celebrated and doted upon on Father’s Day!
And before I forget, Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
Featured photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels