On the third Sunday each June, Americans observe Father’s Day, a celebration of the contribution that fathers and father figures make for their children’s lives.
There are a range of events, which may have inspired the idea of Father’s Day. One of these was the start of the Mother’s Day tradition in the first decade of the 20th century. Another was a memorial service held in 1908 for a large group of men, many of them fathers, who were killed in a mining accident in Monongah, W.V., in December 1907.
A woman called Sonora Smart Dodd was an influential figure in the establishment of Father’s Day. Her father raised six children by himself after the death of their mother. This was uncommon at that time, as many widowers placed their children in the care of others or quickly married again.
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. Father’s Day was officially recognized as a holiday in 1972 by President Nixon.
Whatever the inspiration, the idea was a good one. The importance of fathers in the lives of their kids is immeasurable. Note these sobering statistics:
• 63 Percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (us dept. Of health/census) – five times the average.
• 90 Percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
• 85 Percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for disease control)
• Children with fathers who are involved are 40 percent less likely to repeat a grade in school.
• Children with fathers who are involved are 70 percent less likely to drop out of school.
• Children with fathers who are involved are more likely to get a’s in school.
• Children with fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.
• 75 Percent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.
And there are many more.
The bottom line is that dads are crucial. This by no means lessens the importance of mothers.
The truth is that our children function and thrive best when there are both parents around.
Sadly, as kids, the contribution of our folks often goes overlooked. It may not be until years down the road (perhaps not until after they have passed) that the recognize just all they did for and gave to us.
So, take this opportunity to hug your dad and say thanks. A day will come when that is no longer possible.