Father’s Day, in some places better known as St. Joseph’s Day, was first thought of in the US by Grace Golden Clayton in December 1907 when she brought the idea up to her pastor. Mother’s Day was already being celebrated and only seemed fair that there should be a day for Father’s as well. Fairmont, West Virginia celebrated the day on July 5th, 1908 with Grace and her church celebrating a “Day for Father”. It didn’t go over too well, it seems it conflicted with the celebration on July 4th, our Country’s birthday.
So Father’s Day disappeared for a while. Sonora Smart Dodd brought the idea up again, placing the date on June 19th, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. It fared a little better but still did not take off until she brought in back in the 1930’s. Maybe it had something to do with the depression and people needing a reason to celebrate, or maybe it was because so many fathers were disappearing because they coud not deal with the pressures of having to take care of a family when they had no way to do it. It made those fathers that stuck it out seem all that much more valuable. Still, Congress refused to allow the holiday as a national celebration.
Then finally, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed Father’s Day as a national holiday to be celebrated by the entire country to honor their fathers.
Now I know fathers can be good, or bad, or even non-existant. I can only speak about my own father. My father has been an inspiration to me. He always seems to know the right thing to do, the right things to say and what is important. He is always there when I need him. Whether I agreed with his opinion or not growing up, I felt the need to respect what he said. I have learned a lot of very valuable things from him.. it wasn’t math or science, reading or writing… it was about showing up, about standing up for people that could not stand up for themselves, and it was about listening.
A father doesn’t always say things but they nearly always do something. He doesn’t have to be a carpenter to build you a tree house. He doesn’t have to be a teacher to educate you. He just has to be there. Here’s to all the fathers that show up. Happy Father’s Day!
How to celebrate: Just spend some time with your dad. Buy him a gift that means something, not that just satisfies your need to give something. Take an interest in what your father does, even if it isn’t something you understand, after all, he’s done that for you all your lifetime.