By Calvin Harris
With all this talk of the New Male and gender equality, one of the most unlooked at places to find this has been going on under our noses for a long time now, and maybe taken for granted: This is in the area of family. This is where the regular working man drops the macho posturing when it comes to his children. Men have been known to cry, to put on a dress or at least a hat for his little girl’s tea party. Then again hug and even kiss his son in public to show support for some effort the son has done. It seems these out of character acts have been going on for some time now and they have not gone completely unnoticed. As the story goes, on June 19, 1910, a Father's Day celebration was held at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington by Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father, the civil war veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children alone.
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It seemed she may have been inspired by The “Mother’s Day” celebration originated by Ann Reeves Jarvis who after the Civil War, in the 1860s, brought together the mothers of Confederate and Union soldiers, to unify a divided West Virginia town with the celebration of “Mother’s Work Days” and then in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution that made the second Sunday in May a holiday in honor of “that tender, gentle army, the mothers of America.”
It was the love of Sonora Smart Dodd for her nurturing father that somehow morphed into Washington State celebrating the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. Slowly the movement grew until in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe a celebration for the nation’s fathers.
FATHER’S DAY: More than Controversy and Hype
Yet many scoffing men will tell you with disdain that father’s day is an attempt to domesticate manliness with bribes of gift-giving, or that it's just a commercial gimmick and what’s worse a chance for retailers to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself. Needless to say this has spurred movements to scrap Father’s Day altogether.
Paradoxically, it seemed to have caught and held on to the nations unconscious, for purchases from neckties and shirts, to socks, to pipes and booze, and sporting goods gear to electronics has grown as a way to show respect and love. But no other dominates like the greeting card: given as a way to honor and pay tribute to Dad.
On this Father’s Day let’s pay tribute to those men of diverse backgrounds that took it upon themselves to take on the challenge, to not just be better fathers and grandfathers but better defenders of the fatherless. Those men who adopted Children, or became Big Brothers, or decided on their own to have and raise a child, many times alone.
Reed Markham once said: “The thrill of being a great father is not seeing your children go on to become successful adults. The thrill of a great father is the journey, experiencing your child’s successes along the pathway to their greatness.”