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Depending on which historical version you believe, the origin of Father’s Day was based on the same premise – since there was a special day to honor mothers, father ought to have a day, also.
Sonora Smart Dodd is the name most associated with the origin of the special day. Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909 when she came up with the idea. Her own father was the inspiration behind the idea. He was a Civil War veteran who raised six children on his own after his wife died.
Another version credits Grace Golden Clayton with the Father’s Day origin in 1908. Clayton wanted to pay tribute to the 210 fathers who lost their lives in mining accident in 1907 in West Virginia.
Either way, a bill establishing Father’s Day was introduced to Congress in 1913. President Woodrow Wilson approved it in 1916 and then President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event in 1924.
But it really doesn’t matter who gets credit for its origin, it’s the purpose of the day – to honor that man who has played such an important role in our lives – that matters.
At one time, the father was the sole parent who worked and provided the financial support for the family. Over the years, a father’s role has changed dramatically. Today, dads are not only working, they are changing diapers, helping with homework, cooking and carting children to all kind of events.
While many families now need both parents working, the father’s role is still the same.
Responsible fathers are providers and protectors. They are teachers and disciplinarians. Fathers are mentors, heroes and role models. A father is often the one who teaches us how to ride a bike, play sports, fish and how to drive. And much, much more.
A father’s daily presence in their children’s lives provides a strong and stable foundation for the family to grow.
The author of the following poem is unknown, but it captures the essence of a father:
God took the strength of a mountain, the majesty of a tree, the warmth of a summer sun, the calm of a quiet sea, the generous soul of nature, the comforting arm of night, the wisdom of the ages, the power of the eagle’s flight, the joy of a morning in spring, the faith of a mustard seed, the patience of eternity, the depth of a family need, then God combined these qualities, when there was nothing more to add, he knew his masterpiece was complete, and so, he called it Dad.
Truthfully, we sometimes take our fathers for granted. We encourage you to take time today and recognize what your father – or the father figure in your life – means to you. Go ahead and celebrate with gifts and cards, but make sure you take the time to acknowledge your father’s role in your life and thank him.
As you prepare for a gentle hug, a phone call or a silent prayer, remember the real reasons for the holiday and honor the man you call dad.