Fathers play a special role in the lives of children. There is some evidence that Father’s Day has been celebrated for thousands of years before the official Presidential designation of Father’s Day by President Nixon in 1972.
A young Babylonian boy named Elmusu carved a message on a clay tablet wishing his father a peaceful and enjoyable life. While the discovery of the tablet suggests that there may have been thankful expressions expressed to fathers by their children, the creation of an official day honoring fathers was long in the making.
In America, it is thought the first Father’s Day celebration may have occurred in West Virginia in 1908 where a sermon delivered by Dr. Robert Webb extoled the virtues of fatherhood. Sonora Smart Dodd is thought to have been the catalyst behind the creation of Father’s Day. Her mother had died at the birth of her sixth child and Mrs. Dodd’s father, Henry Smart; a decorated Civil War soldier had acted the role of mother and father in her life. Mrs. Dodd felt that he had given so much to his children that he should be honored for that commitment and along so many other deserving fathers.
Some would argue that mothers are the most important parent in the household. After all, mothers get more telephone calls on mother’s day than fathers do on Father’s day. Fathers get more collect calls for Father’s Day than mothers do. As a father I am often called to fix something or look at something or to listen to the strange noise coming out of the car.
Fathers like mothers approach parenting as differently as the stars in the sky. I do believe that there are some fundamental things that men can do to be a good father.
Good fathers love their children’s mother and treat her accordingly. This one thing maybe the thing or the most important thing.
Love your children without qualification. Love them even if they are not the best student, best athlete or best whatever.
As a Dad, you must be grown up yourself; Dads must be adults not pals or friends with their kids while they are younger.
Time, giving the best you can of your time as often as you can will help your children to be happy and well adjusted.
Children need structure and discipline, not yelling screaming or hitting. Discipline is about teaching and learning and relationship building.
Stress learning and education whatever your child decides to do education will help them to succeed. Raise your children to become independent and confident so that they can make their own way in the world and not dependent on you.
Teach them that life is short and terribly valuable. Idling away in front of a television or video game falls drastically short of realizing the brevity of this life.
Finally, fathers tend to be the mistake makers in families. Therefore they are the best teachers of forgiveness and accountability. Teach your children to be accountable for what they do wrong and right.
Imbedded in this learning is the knowledge that we must also forgive ourselves for the mistakes that we make and we all make them.
It has been a great source of satisfaction and joy to be someone’s father and I feel privileged to have had this opportunity. I also know that fathers that are not always our biological fathers.
Sometimes we are fathered by men around us, Uncles, Grandfathers, neighbors, teachers, brothers, and coaches’ employers and yes, even our friends. These men who have helped to shape us and care for us have also been fathers to us.
On this Father’s Day don’t forget the men who have fathered you though they may not always show it, they love you and care for you very much in their own way.
Remember, all kids count.
Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net.