By Remus Gaylord
Every year in June we celebrate Father’s Day. Though not glamorous and universally acknowledged as Mother’s Day, the day as gotten more recognition in recent times. For many people, Father’s Day is considered extremely important as it helps acknowledge the contribution of fathers to individual families and to the larger society. To my mind, the observance of Father’s Day provides children with an opportunity to express love and respect for their fathers. The sentiment goes a long way in strengthening father-child relationship and consequently in the emotional development of a child.
It is a fact that historically father is seen more as a provider and guide for children but this scenario has changed significantly in the nuclear family culture of today. With most husband and wife working, fathers in modern times are as involved in the child-rearing job as the mothers are. Today, most fathers do not shy away from changing diapers or doing the difficult task of putting the baby to sleep. This cultural shift also helps in strengthening father-child relationships and consequently in the emotional development of a child and building of stronger family bonds.
So, Father’s Day creates the opportunity to express thanks to our Daddy for all his unconditional love and affection. Observance of Father’s Day makes fathers feel that their contributions are important, acknowledged and relevant. Besides by celebrating Father’s Day, children come closer to their fathers. For, most often children take love of their parents for granted. Celebration of Father’s Day makes children ponder for a while on the important role their fathers play in their lives. This helps them appreciate the selfless care and protection provided by their fathers and hence they come emotionally closer to their dads.
Children should therefore take the opportunity the day presents and express their gratitude for fathers – from their hearts. The best way to do so is to do small things that your Dad appreciates. American fatherhood has been redefined in the years since Father’s Day took shape, but the idea behind the holiday stays the same.
Father’s Day was proposed around the same time as Mother’s Day, in the early 20th century, when a woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise six children after his wife died during childbirth. According to the National Father’s Day Committee, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Dodd’s town of Spokane, Wash., in 1910. The holiday’s June date is tied to Smart’s birthday of June 5.
That was just two years after the first Mother’s Day, which had been proposed by Anna M. Jarvis, took place in 1908. But, while “Mother’s Day took off like a rocket, Father’s Day took off slowly. For example, just six years after its first celebration, Mother’s Day was acknowledged by President Woodrow Wilson, who signed a proclamation on May 9, 1914, declaring the second Sunday of May “a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” Father’s Day hardly got the same treatment: in 1916, Wilson simply pressed a button in the Oval Office that rolled out a flag in Washington at a Father’s Day celebration. Similarly, President Calvin Coolidge wouldn’t sign a proclamation in 1924, even though he suggested the holiday be observed nationwide.
But as the role of fathers transformed across America, the Father’s Day holiday eventually earned its place alongside Mother’s Day. In 1972, Father’s Day was given the recognition of a proclamation from Richard Nixon.
Happy Fathers Day to all Caribbean Times News Fathers!