As promised last month, it's time to give due diligence to Father's Day. This is a time to celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds (as in step-fathers, uncles, etc.) and the influence of fathers on our lives and society.
A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd was very influential in starting Father's Day. After the death of her mother, her father went on to raise his six children by himself. This was very uncommon at the time, usually widowers placed their children in the care of others, or soon remarried. Sonora was inspired by the work of Anna Jarvis, who had pushed for Mother's Day celebrations. Sonora felt that her father deserved recognition for what he had done. The first time Father's Day was held in June was in 1910. It was officially recognized as a holiday by President Nixon in 1972.
The other day, while driving somewhere, I had the radio playing. The DJ came on and told a story that she dubbed "what were you thinking, stupid". Apparently a 35-year old father from Wisconsin had his 11-year old daughter drive him home. Wondering why? He was too drunk to drive! Needless to say, she wrecked the car. That story got me thinking about the parents out there (and in the Ohio Valley) who take their children along on a drug deal, have their children present at home while conducting a meth lab or have their children waiting in the car while they commit a robbery or shoplift. You've heard the stories. It doesn't even have to be that dramatic. Unkind words spoken in the home, raised voices, physical harm- these acts can teach our children that it's ok to disrespect one another.
Children learn what they live. A good father can be the best influence in their child's life, so lead by example Dad. Pope John XXIII once made the comment "It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father". The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 22:6 to "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." Therefore, the best inheritance a father can leave his children is a good example.
So fathers- think before you speak and think before you do. Your family will certainly appreciate it! Living would be easier if men showed as much patience at home as they do when fishing. (I read this somewhere and never forgot it.) I would like to take this opportunity to wish a "Happy Father's Day" to all fathers and father-figures of the Ohio Valley. It's an awesome responsibility and job, if done correctly, that will pay off in wonderful benefits as you and your children grow older. Be happy whether your children send you a card, buy you a gift or pay you a visit. Time spent with family is never time wasted!
I'd really like to give a shout-out to my wonderful husband, Nick. Many years ago he took on the responsibility of accepting two young teenage boys into his life. When we first started dating I thought he was probably a confirmed bachelor- having been divorced for about 16 years. He had a teenage daughter who lived in Columbus. We dated for 5 years before getting married. My hubby is the best father and stepfather a child could want. And now the best Papou (Grandfather) too! We laugh that we wish we would have met and married earlier and had our family together. Who knows how things would have turned out, though. I'm a firm believer that all things happen for a reason.
Let me leave you men out there with a quote from Colonel Potter of M*A*S*H- "I don't care how poor a man is; if he has a family, he's rich."