Did it start in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908 or Spokane, Washington in 1910? Was it inspired by Anna Jarvis’ crusade to honor mothers or dedicated to celebrate Civil War vet William Jackson Stuart’s noble efforts to raise his six children as a single parent? You can find those who will suggest other origins. Does it really matter? The third Sunday in June was set aside to recognize the role of fathers. It took a while to catch on and some will say it never has.
In popular culture, it seems that a typical image of dad is the stumbling, bumbling, comic figure who is never quite on top of things. Fathers can be easy targets. Even in the 50’s sit com, Father Knows Best, Robert Young’s father figure need plenty of help solving the family problems in less than 30 minutes each week.
Parenting today is far from easy. With the pace of life, economic pressures, complexities of changing schedules, families have a difficult time finding respite, much less balance. One little boy was asked what he would give his dad for Father’s Day. He responded, “I would give him his very own bike … and the time to ride it.” Or this youngster who said his Father’s Day gift for dad would be a new watch “so he wouldn’t come home so late.”
Being a dad, being a parent is a sacred stewardship. None of us get it right all the time, but there are things we have to remember, priorities we have to live by. On my desk is the picture of a solitary boy standing on the beach, gazing over the water. Underneath the picture are these words: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove … but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”