Father’s Day, contrary to popular misconception, was not established as a holiday in order to help greeting card manufacturers sell more cards. In fact, when a “father’s day” was first proposed, there were no Father’s Day cards!
Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a “father’s day” in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. William Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd’s mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.
The first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. At about the same time in various towns and cities across America, other people were beginning to celebrate a “father’s day.” In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day
Father’s Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure. Stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers and adult male friends are all to be honored on Father’s Day. “The Story of Father’s Day,” www.holidays.net/father/story.htm.
In our broken world, we need strong fathers, solid male figures in our lives. As I reached adulthood, I was amazed that so many of my peers lacked that presence in their lives. It made me even more grateful for a legacy of men of faith and courage in my life. None were perfect, but they knew that. They also knew where to turn when their wisdom and strength fell short.
One of the “good guys” in Hollywood, actor James Stewart was a huge fan favorite. He came from a small town in Pennsylvania where his dad ran a hardware store. When storm clouds gathered over the US, Stewart answered the call to serve his country. Just before he left to pilot bombers and command a squadron, his father slipped a note in his son’s pocket: “My dear Jim boy, soon after you read this letter you will be on your way to the worst sort of danger. I am banking on the enclosed copy of the 91st Psalm. The thing that takes the place of fear and worry is the promise of these words. I can say no more. I love you more that I can tell you. Dad.”
Imagine that … a father who relies on the Father. That’s the way it I supposed to be. Open a Bible and read the psalmist’s words.