Father’s Day is a special day to celebrate the lives of our fathers. West Virginia gets the credit for setting aside a special day to honor our Fathers as well as our Mothers. Grafton, WV was the place where Mother’s Day originated in 1907. Father’s Day was first celebrated on July 5th of 1908 in Fairmont, WV. Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton was touched by a disastrous mine accident at Monongah which killed more than 360 men, of which 210 were fathers. Over 340 widows and more than 1,000 children were left grieving for their husbands and fathers. Mrs. Clayton suggested to her pastor that these men should have a special day of remembrance. Mrs. Clayton also wanted to show a tribute to her father, a Methodist minister, so she suggested that the Father’s Day remembrance be the closest Sunday to her father’s birthday. The date set aside for the Father’s Day remembrance was July 5, 1908.
There were several other special days set aside for the July 4th celebration plus a funeral for a special person in the community, so no annual date was set for the Father’s Day in July in Fairmont. However, several folks in other states wanted to celebrate fathers and continued to work for a national day of remembrance for fathers.
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Finally in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a bill to establish a national Father’s Day to be observed annually on the third Sunday of June. The credit for Father’s Day went to Sonora Smart Dodd of Washington and Marry Meek of Chicago. History will show that the first actual Father’s Day Service in the U.S. was held on July 5, 1908, at the Williams Memorial Church in Fairmont, WV. Whoever is responsible for establishing Father’s Day should be saluted as we remember our fathers who have nurtured and guided their children.
We now celebrate the National Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June and our fathers deserve this special remembrance. Fathers are usually the head of the house. They provide the livelihood for their families, participate in many sports or educational events with their children and are available to give their child or children the guidance they need to be ready to be out on their own. Fathers do not have to be the blood father to their children. There are many fathers who do not have biological children who serve as a father figure to children of all ages. These men love the children, and the children love those who give their time, energy and wise council to them. The man who is a good role model, is involved with mentoring and nurturing a child as long as he is wanted and needed and can fill the role of a father figure. A child is never too old to have a good role model and someone to give him or her time and a listening ear. There are children all over the world who need a father figure in their lives. Those of us who have been blessed with loving fathers can attest to the fact that our fathers were one of the most important persons in our lives.
I was blessed to have a wonderful father who was my best friend. My father was a wise man who always discussed issues in a way that gave me the final say in the decisions I made. He always suggested that I sit down, write down a list of why or why not my decision was the best choice for me. As I remember our conversations, my father was always there to help me and the choices I finally made were the right ones for me. My dad never said “NO”. He gave me the guidance I needed, and I shall always be grateful for his time, for the special times of fun and companionship, common sense and loving kindness in helping me to make life decisions. I hope I have instilled some of my Dad’s wisdom in my children as they make decisions in their lives. My memories of my Dad include the attention he gave to my children as well.
My children had a father who instilled his children with wisdom, individuality, perseverance, independence, quirky humor and an attitude of service to others. I know he would be proud of each one of his children and the paths they have taken as adults. I know I am a proud mom. Our children are now teaching their children many of the things that their father and grandfather taught them. That is what parenting is all about. That is what role models and mentoring is all about. Take the good qualities you can give and pass them on to someone who will eventually pass those same bits of wisdom and good qualities on to the next generation. Most fathers will say the time with their children was never wasted and not only did they teach their children, but their children brought new perspective into their lives as well.
Children need to let their fathers and their mothers know how important they are in their lives. It is never too late to say “I Love You” to your father and your mother. Father’s Day is your next chance to tell your father, grandfather, uncle, that special father figure, how important they are in your life. If you are at odds with your father, if at all possible, find a way to mend the relationship. Your relationship is important. Time moves quickly. We never know how long that special person will be with us. Find a day to just hang out with your dad. If you live in another state or country, find the time for a phone call. If you have internet and can send a message, share some of the things you are doing and let your dad know how much you care for him. Dads like cards also. I know my husband saved all the Father’s Day cards from his children and grandchildren. I still have those cards and the memories that go with them.
Families are made up of parents and children who make mistakes but never give up learning from one another and always love each other in spite of the mistakes along the way. The word unconditional love is what a family is all about. If you are estranged from your father, make the effort this Father’s Day to reach out and mend your relationship. Discussion and the agreeing to disagree will help get through many difficulties. This past year has been difficult for all families, and we need to find ways to show our affection, support, appreciation for the entire family. To all the fathers out there, “Happy Father’s Day.” To all the men who are role models for children everywhere, you are special, and you never know how much your time is appreciated by the lives you touch. “Happy Father’s Day.”
I leave you with these thoughts. Every life we touch is a field, everything we do and all the words we speak, are seeds. What will the harvest be? — Henry Rowland
The three C’s of life: Choices, Chances, Changes — You must make the choice, to take a chance, if you want anything in life to change. — Zig Ziegler
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. — Psalm 118:24