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Father's Love: Celebrate Dad on Father's Day
Why Celebrate Dad on Father's Day?
Since 1966, Father's Day has been celebrated on the third Sunday in June. It was signed into law by President Nixon in 1972. The first Father's Day was recognized in 1910, in Spokane, Washington. It was established by Sonora Dodd to honor her dad who had single-handedly raised 6 children, after his wife died in childbirth. June was selected because it was the month of Ms. Dodd's dad's birthday.
As a little girl, I idolized my own dad. Oh my goodness, he could do no wrong and I think I was just perfect in his eyes too. When I broke my arm for the first time at age 5, he was working. But my mom, my sister and I were all in town with him at the time. I was so scared at the hospital when they x-rayed my elbow. I thought I did something wrong by climbing the jungle gym and hanging down when no one could catch me. My father arrived soon afterwards and comforted me by telling me a story of when he broke his leg as a child. He was climbing over a fence and his pant leg got caught. He fell over the other side, hanging from the top, in agony.
From that point on, I relaxed. It would be OK. And I was proud to wear my cast.
Dad's Role in the Family
Dad's role in the family was different than Mom's. While she stayed at home, he went off to work everyday. We craved his attention when he walked in the door at the end of a long day! I'm sure Mom was a bit jealous at times, but it was so great to jump into his arms and wrap arms around his neck. My father played games with us like "the Alligator." He would lie on the floor and my sisters and I would try to tiptoe by him and escape out of the room without being snagged and tickled to death by the Alligator! I can still recall our shrieks of joy as we leaped back onto the couch, considered the "safe zone."
In addition to being our family's provider, Daddy would tuck us into bed each night and say our prayers. These grew quite lengthy over time as we added and lost pets, in particular. We would still "God Bless" each and every one of them, in addition to as many other people and friends we could think of, to keep him in our room just a bit longer and delay going to sleep.
It probably wasn't easy being a father to a house full of girls and no boys. Dad was blessed with three daughters and we knew he was immensely proud of each of us! Fortunately, he wasn't much of a sports fanatic, so he didn't miss baseball and football. My father was thrilled to attend indoor events, such as ballet recitals, gymnastics meets and piano recitals. Now, as a grandfather, he has more grandsons than granddaughters... and season tickets to the Mariner's games!
Paul Simon: Father and Daughter
My Children's Father
When it came time to get married, I knew I had to find a person that would not only be a wonderful spouse and partner, but also a great dad. It takes patience, discipline, humor and a great deal of caffeine.
When my husband and I got married 13 years ago, we had no idea we would have four children! But it couldn't have happened to a better man. He loves being a dad, doting on his kids and taking the older two to baseball, basketball and soccer practices and games. When the younger two get older, I am sure he will be equally involved in their activities too! Our life is not without struggles at this point (that would be natural with 5 year old twins, and 8 and 10 year old boys). But I can see the love that my children's dad has for each one of them. He clearly adores kids - particularly his own!
Quotes about Fathers
My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys." ~Harmon Killebrew
He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Budington Kelland
A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. ~Author Unknown
Father! - to God himself we cannot give a holier name. ~William Wordsworth
Love and fear. Everything the father of a family says must inspire one or the other. ~Joseph Joubert
One father is more than a hundred Schoolemasters. ~George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640
Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father! ~Lydia M. Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. ~Ruth E. Renkel
A father carries pictures where his money used to be. ~Author Unknown
The father who would taste the essence of his fatherhood must turn back from the plane of his experience, take with him the fruits of his journey and begin again beside his child, marching step by step over the same old road. ~Angelo Patri
It is much easier to become a father than to be one. ~Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man, 1994
The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering-galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity. ~Jean Paul Richter
Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad. ~Author Unknown
The greatest gift I ever had
Came from God; I call him Dad!
I love my father as the stars - he's a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart. ~Adabella Radici
Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~Author Unknown
Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor
There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. ~John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994
There are three stages of a man's life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus. ~Author Unknown
Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. ~Bill Cosby
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. ~Mark Twain, "Old Times on the Mississippi" Atlantic Monthly, 1874
It May Take a Village, but it Also Takes a Dad
Conventional wisdom instructs that "It Takes a Village" to raise a child. It is hard to argue with this observation. The more people that are involved in your child's life as they grow up, the more varied experiences they will have and a richer existence. Of course, there are practical considerations as well. Discipline, carpooling, attending numerous events - it all takes a tremendous amount of time. Spread among trusted family members and friends, the tasks are a little less monumental.
The connection between a child and his or her father is unique from other relationships. A male presence in their life may provide another perspective with respect to a number of issues that kids face growing up. Males and females tend to approach conflict differently, as well. It may be helpful to have two different viewpoints with respect to resolution of differences. Whether or not the parents' marriage is in tact, an involved father figure is foundational to a healthy childhood and mental development.
I had three special dads in my life. My own biological father, but also both of my grandfathers. Well, to be honest, I also had doting uncles, great-uncles and even a great-grandfather who lived until I was 17 years old. I realize how lucky I was to have strong laps to sit on, and cute nicknames to which to answer. Grandpa Frank and I had a super connection. From as early as I could talk, I was his Sweet-pea. A true Texan at heart, despite his decades in Washington State, he would call out to me when I walked in the room: sweeeeee (and I would then say "pea"). Grandpa Eldon and I had a little bench in the forest (I thought it was deep in the woods, but as I grew up, I noticed that it was visible from the deck of their home). We would walk down there and sit together, talking about the birds, the flowers, and life. It was our special place to connect. And I had my own special name from Grandpa Eldon, too. "Steph-er-nim-er-nie."
Grandpa Frank, in particular, was a great sounding board for me while I was in my teenage years. Dad worked a lot then, and was not as available as I might have wished. Somehow, I could entrust my grandfather with my secrets, as well as issues I was experiencing with my mom (his daughter). No one knew her better than him, so I had a great resource.
Even if you or your children does not have a biological father in the picture, there are a number of ways in which you can obtain male perspectives and direction, if you desire. Uncles and granddads may be good resources. Perhaps you have a male friend or colleague that loves kids but does not have any of his own. Invite them over for dinner or to a special event for your child (if he or she is open to the idea). Big Brothers/Big Sisters is another organization with many volunteers just looking to spend time with kids that need extra attention and guidance.
Involvement in cub scouts or Boy Scouts is another consideration. There will be plenty of opportunities for camping, hiking, working with pocket knives and rope to give your son these experiences.
Participating in sports teams and/or music ensembles (band or orchestra) can also help. Many coaches and directors are men. Oftentimes children will say that a charismatic coach had a profound effect on their growing up. Of course, this also helps them stay engaged in appropriate activities and out of the types of trouble that may occur when boredom sets in.
In a perfect world, children would grow up with two loving parents. With the reality of divorce, abuse and other issues, this is not always the case (nor should it be in extreme situations). If you sense that your child is suffering as a result of lifetime family disruptions, ask your pediatrician if counseling or other therapy would be helpful.
Say "I Love You Dad"
How can you tell your parent that you love them? With a dad, he will enjoy a handwritten note, a phone call, or a visit! As he ages, time together will be extremely important. When you are younger, stay in touch. Call, email or text. Whatever works for your relationship, your father will appreciate knowing what you are doing. When you get married and have children of your own, dads usually want to be a part of that experience. Send photos, have your kids call or write, and try to get together as you can. Consider your dad's interests. Did he play sports? Chess? A musical instrument? Build on these with appropriate gifts. Perhaps tickets to a game, a nice book, or an evening together at a concert or a symphony.
When your dad reaches an older age, things may become more difficult. He could be confused about dates and details. A consistent presence is helpful to keep things on an even keel for him. Meet and help get him out in the world. If he is in a wheelchair or otherwise impaired, patiently help your father, as he once helped you as a child. Some of the best times spent with a parent at this time are simply driving excursions.
Keeping your father engaged and involved will help him feel needed and worthy. In the long run, it could help life expectancy!
Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) Father and Son
Gifts for Dad
Celebrate Father's Day
Even though Father's Day has been around many decades less than Mother's Day, it may only be because of the delay in recognizing the important role that the opposite sex has in raising kids. Dads, Moms, uncles, and grandparents (and more) are very significant in bringing up children in the current age, in large part because many are involved in trying to balance parenthood and careers.
No matter how you mark the holiday, I hope it's a special one for you, your children and/or your relatives! To all the special dads and father figures in my life, I love you so much! Happy Father's Day!