Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington, at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. The Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart was a single parent who raised his six children there. Because Dodd’s father was born in June, she encouraged churches in her area to honor fathers that month.
Over the years, the idea spread and people lobbied Congress to establish the holiday. In 1972, President Richard Nixon made Father’s Day a federal holiday and celebrated it on the third Sunday of June.
Now that we know the origins of this particular day, what does being a father mean? More importantly, what does being a dad mean? (More on the difference later.) In my case, being a father and dad is one of the most important aspects of my life. Actually, it is the most crucial aspect of my life.
Fatherhood in of itself answers many, sometimes awkward questions: Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? The propagation of the human species, of course, is likely the primary reason for pursuing fatherhood. Our responsibility as males to the human race is to populate the world with intelligent, well-adjusted, educated people who will continue the tradition of the human experience.
However, being a father is much different than being a dad. It is pretty easy to be a father biologically; you don’t even have to be present to achieve it. Being a dad, however, is a whole other story. A dad actively participates in the lives of his children, a father not necessarily so.
Being a dad doesn’t necessarily require a biological element. Dads can be a foster parent or an adoptive parent and let us not forget the value of a stepdad. It is a known fact that boys who grow up with a dad in the home have fewer behavioral problems and girls have fewer psychological problems. According to absent father statistics, for many of our most obstinate social ills affecting children, father/dad absence is to blame.
Fathers influence who we are and how we have relationships with people as we grow. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how his children relate with other people. As human beings, we grow up by imitating the behavior of those around us; that’s how we learn to function in the world.
In my case, teaching our kids to ride a bike and later driving was quite enjoyable, as well as swimming, fishing, snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, camping, hunting, motorcycle riding and flying.
Introducing our kids to all of these activities helped shape their interests and understanding. With all of that said, being a dad and watching my two kids become independent, responsible adults is the most incredible experience in my lifetime. I would not have had it any other way.
Many dads who watched their kids grow into adulthood may find the following ode I found about 30 years ago to being humorous and uncannily accurate.
4 years: My daddy can do anything.
7 years: My dad knows a whole lot.
8 years: My father doesn’t know quite everything.
12 years: Oh, well, naturally father doesn’t know that either.
14 years: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man is out of date. What did you expect?
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: Maybe we ought to find out what dad thinks.
35 years: A little patience. Let’s get dad’s assessment before we do anything.
50 years: I wonder what dad would have thought about that. He was pretty smart.
60 years: My dad knew absolutely everything!
65 years: I’d give anything if dad were here so I could talk this over with him. I really miss that man.
My message to anyone thinking about starting a family means there’s no greater joy in life, no more significant accomplishment than being a dad and influencing another human being into life’s incredible journey.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
G. Kevin Savord is currently a professional pilot and former small business owner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.