We as Americans like to celebrate lots of things, but two things come to my mind, summer weather and Father’s Day. At least, you might have been thinking of the first idea and expanding on that (with the first official day of summer being June 21st). My initial thought of Father’s Day is that it’s been around pretty much since existence and it was an official holiday before the Mother’s Day (even though Mother’s Day chronologically comes first). Quite the contrary, after doing some research on this holiday, I found out how it came to be. Sit back and relax as I share some insightful history with you on how Father’s Day came to existence.
While Mother’s Day came to be a commercial holiday in 1908, it wasn’t until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson made it a nationally celebrated holiday. Then it was still another 58 years before Father’s Day was on the same national level of recognition. You see, Father’s Day, didn’t get as strong of a campaign to be a nationally celebrated holiday like Mother’s Day. Men were not as thrilled with the holiday; there were thoughts that the holiday was an attempt to domesticate manliness and it was a commercial gimmick to sell more products (which were more often paid for by the fathers themselvesJ) However, the thought to make Father’s Day a holiday originated from one woman that was one of six children raised by a widower when her mother passed away. It was 1908 after Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a memorial sermon to honor fathers that had died in an explosion when she thought to drum up support for an equivalent of Mother’s Day for fathers. She wanted to show appreciation for her father in raising six children solo. She went to local organizations and was successful! Then slowly but surely, this holiday started to spread. There was even an attempt to connect both Mother’s and Father’s Day calling it Parents’ Day to show that both parents should be respected and loved equally. However, since this was during the Depression, there were efforts against combining the dual holiday and keep each separate. Businesses that struggled during this timeframe made hard efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for fathers. At last, in 1972, did the holiday become officially “official” when President Nixon signed a proclamation making it a federal holiday.
So in this month of June, celebrate your “old man”! Here are some creative ideas from The New York Times articles below:
1. Together, watch the video of two male Barbary macaques playing with a baby, and then watch a family video of your father playing with you when you were an infant. Do you see any similarities?
2. Watch the trailer for the new documentary “The Evolution of Dad” and then make your own short tribute video about your dad’s role in your life.
3. Make an audio recording of your father – holding a conversation, telling (or reading aloud) a story or joke, singing a song, even just laughing. Make a plan to listen to it every year, and each time you do, write down what the recording brings to mind and how it makes you feel.
4. Write a short personal essay, letter or poem about an enduring memory you have of your father – and ask your dad to write one too, perhaps about a key moment or event in your childhood. Then read each other’s pieces. Were you surprised by what each other said, even about shared moments that you both remember?
5. Jot down some of the major lessons your father has taught you and create a handmade book – perhaps in the spirit of a textbook or how-to manual – complete with your own (and/or his) illustrations. Put it on the shelf in the family library.
6. If a video crew filmed your family 24/7, what do you think the film would reveal? Do you get enough time together without distractions? Or do you tend to be using digital media most of the time? Set aside some genuine, unplugged “together time” – and consider making it a regular thing. Of course, you might also watch television or a movie or play a game together.
7. Show your appreciation. Tell your father (or father figure) how you feel about your family and your parents’ involvement in your life. Do you understand and appreciate each other? Do you sometimes feel like there’s a generation gap between you? How does your father view your generation?
8. Use your camera to capture a family moment, or just look through old family photos and talk about the “stories” they tell.
9. Go pie-in-the-sky, and fantasize together about how life would be different if you made a major sacrifice for charity (you might even make a donation) – or if you had your dream house.
10. Spread the pages of the paper all over the dining table or living room rug – or the virtual equivalent – and just read and talk about the news together.