It became a tradition there and gradually spread. A national holiday in honor of fathers was supported by Calvin Coolidge but was not made official until 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson.
When we discussed Mother’s Day I hope you remember that parenting magazine I spoke of that offered a list of things for moms to do since no one ever bothered doing anything for them [it opined], thirty-one items totaling nearly $1000. The next month, Father’s Day month, that same magazine “celebrated Pop culture” with an article taking up less than a fourth of one page, the rest being filled with a 72 point font title and a picture of a dad playing with a little girl.
And what were we supposed to do for dads? Four measly items, none of which cost a penny, and two of which were not even directed toward the fathers. Read a book called Animal Dads. Teach your kids how to say, “Dad,” in several other languages. Help your kids learn some silly jokes to make their dads laugh. Make sure they have breakfast with their dads at least once that month. Evidently fathers are not worth a whole lot.
While I don’t espouse spending nearly $1000 doing something every day of June for fathers any more than I did for mothers in May, doesn’t this strike you as incredibly biased? Yet it all fits in with our society’s downplaying of the importance of the role of father.
You haven’t noticed? How long has it been since we have regularly had television shows with strong, intelligent fathers? No, instead, if you get a father at all he is a buffoon on the order of Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor, an uncultured, clumsy, immature, dare I say “stupid” clod, who must constantly be pulled out of trouble by his smarter, wiser, more responsible wife. Or you get a family without a father or with too many fathers, or simply a work-based sitcom because career is the center of everyone’s life now.
Add The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan to the sexual revolution of the sixties and you get a society that believes a nuclear family is no longer necessary. Women don’t need men except as sperm donors; they can raise their children alone just fine, thank you. And while that may get you a few more women who no longer feel guilty about making their professional level careers the most important part of their lives, women who can afford nannies or other private care, it also gets you the rise of “the feminization of poverty,” as Mona Charen puts it in her op-ed pieces. There are far more Wal-Mart cashiers and diner waitresses trying to make a living for their kids than there are female doctors and lawyers. They were told they didn’t need a man and they believed it, so their children are being raised by grandparents or daycare center workers or simply being left alone at home, and they are pinching pennies trying to feed them and keep them warm in the evenings. The media perpetuates the myth and more young women are taken in because they grew up on television shows with scripts—one crisis and suddenly we have a breakthrough and everyone lives happily ever after, all in thirty minutes. Unfortunately, we are living real lives not following scripts with rosy endings.
When God made the first family, He made a mother and a father—one each. There may be legitimate times when that cannot happen, but we should be trying to help those single parents and deprived children, filling in as missing role models rather than telling them it doesn’t matter. How will we ever have a nation of strong fathers if there are no examples for our sons to follow? How will fathers ever realize how important they are when we minimize and marginalize those men as if they were nuisances instead of necessities?
If your father is still alive, I hope you tell him how much you appreciate him. If your husband is being the kind of father he ought to be, I hope you let him know how much you appreciate him. If you are a dad, I hope you know that you are necessary to the lives of your children. That is what God had to say about the matter—don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Hear, my sons, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding; for I give you good doctrine; forsake not my law. For I was a son unto my father, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. And he taught me and said to me, let your heart retain my words, keep my commandment and live, Prov 4:1-4.