As we celebrate Father’s Day today, and before I pay honor to my dad, let’s talk about the history of the day. You see , it is important to know the reasons why we celebrate what we celebrate and not just going along for the sake of going along. With that said, in my research I found that Father’s Day was created and inaugurated in the U.S. back in the 20th century to of course complement Mother’s Day. After the success of promoting Mother’s Day, people decided that they wanted to create a similar holiday for other family members and it was Father’s Day that was chosen as the one most likely to succeed. Credit for the modern day holiday can be given to Sonora Smart Dodd, whom after hearing a sermon honoring Mother’s Day, told her pastor that fathers should have a similar day. After all, her father William Jackson Smart, was not only a Civil War veteran, but also a single parent who raised (6) children on his own after his wife died during childbirth, and it is because of this that she felt he should be honored. Well, fast forward to 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. However, the day was not made a permanent national holiday until 1972, when Richard Nixon signed it into law.
Ok, so now that we are familiar with why we are celebrating Father’s Day, I want to take a moment to share with you a little bit about my relationship with my dad, whom my children lovingly refer to as “Papa.” If I am honest with myself and with you, I haven’t always understood my dad or how to relate to him. You see growing up my dad was not an overly social or emotional person which sometimes made it difficult for my brother, sister and I (not to mention my mother) to connect with him. Don’t get me wrong, my dad always provided for his family and took his responsibility in doing so very seriously, for which I am truly grateful! Because even though he wasn’t as “warm and fuzzy” as we would have liked for him to be, the way that he provided for his family showed me love and a sense of family on another level.
It wasn’t until I was older (and even more now) that I started to realize and understand why my dad is the way that he is. Simply put, “He is doing the best with what he has.” Let me explain further. What I have come to realize, is that my dad came from a long line of men in his family that lacked “warm and fuzzy” attributes. So in essence, how could we expect him to exude characteristics that he was never shown or taught himself growing up? This is an example of how “generational strongholds” get passed down and perpetuated throughout our families while nobody takes the time to get to the root cause and subsequently break free! So now that I understand some of the reasons why our household may not have resembled the “Leave it to Beaver” image of a family, I am able to accept and appreciate my father more for the mere fact that even though he may not have possessed the “warm and fuzzy” attributes that we longed for, he never used it as an excuse and faced his responsibilities of taking care of a family head on!
Another gift that God enabled me to see and appreciate about my father is how much he loved my mother. By no means was their marriage perfect and just like any couple, they had their share of ups and downs. But that’s what marriage sometimes brings, a series of hills and valley’s that takes work. I didn’t really know the depth of their love for each other until my mother was stricken with lung cancer. It was my father who was determined to make her dream of going to Hawaii come true before she lost the battle to her disease. I will never forget the smile on her face when she learned about the trip. Thankfully she was well enough to travel and came back home with the same loving smile. He stood by her side to the very end and I take comfort in knowing that when it was time for her to go home to be with the Lord, that she knew how much she was loved.
As we all know, life is too short and so because of this I choose to spend this time honoring and appreciating my father for who he is instead of wasting time talking about what he is was not. I choose to make sure that my children have a loving relationship with their “Papa” and not pass my not so “warm and fuzzy” moments on to them. But most of all I choose to make sure that my father feels the same love that my mother felt when God called her home. Most of all, the biggest lesson that I have learned in all of this is that “warm and fuzzy” on the surface can sometimes be overrated, I’ll take unconditional love underneath it all any day!