Father’s Day, an American holiday, was born from the love of a daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, in 1909. Sonora’s father raised her and her 5 siblings when her mother died in childbirth and Sonora sought a way to honor and recognize the sacrifices and strengths of fathers everywhere. While Father’s Day for some is a commercial excuse to sell cards and gimmick gifts, like all things in life, it is what you make of it. Go out and celebrate Father’s Day on the 3rd Sunday in June or any other day, whether you have a father to honor or another man who embodies the sacrifices and strengths that Sonora recognized so many years ago.
- Teach your kids, and yourself, about the history of the holiday. Help them choose someone to honor, whether it is their own Daddy, Papa, favorite uncle, or neighbor who always goes the extra mile for them. Make a list with the kids of the honorable, funny, endearing things that make him their special person for the day and come up with a creative way to present it to him. Maybe he could wake up to sidewalk chalk words of appreciation, a letter hidden in his morning newspaper, or the list attached to the collar of the family dog.
- Share a tradition with the man of the hour. It can even be as simple as a pajama party breakfast watching Dad’s favorite old movie. My father’s only request every year is the same – a homemade card for him. Decades later, I still oblige and pull out my markers, create something on the computer, or even put together a video card. This tradition is something we both cherish because it is a special time when I can dedicate something so pure and thankful from my heart and he can accept it with open arms and know that his little girl will always be just that.
- Honor families without fathers at home. Growing up I had a dear friend whose father died when she was just a child. Father’s Day was always bittersweet for her, and I sometimes felt guilty about my own homemade card preparations. I learned from her that those of us with fathers in our lives can be support for those without. Check with your local veterans association and see if there is a list of families in the area whose fathers are serving in military duty or who have been lost. Your kids can make cards for the family, telling them that they appreciate their fathers for the service they provide the country. Perhaps there are chores that can be done by your family such as yard work or painting.
- Don’t buy him the tie! Even if he wears one to work every day and seems to love every last one, it is time to dare to be different. Give him the gift of time, or more specifically, your time. Clean his car, do a chore for him, or just sit and hang out with him while he regales you with his weekly adventures.
- Let the kids pick out their dad’s gift, even the young ones. The things they think of are always more creative, and usually more meaningful, to their fathers. Years ago our kids found a t-shirt for their father that read, “Where’s the remote?” and they HAD to get it for him. Ever since they look forward to choosing his next wardrobe addition, and he proudly is known as the guy with the funny shirts.
Father’s Day is what you make of it. Go make it a time to honor someone who makes your day a little easier, fulfilled, and blessed. You don’t even have to wait for the 3rd Sunday of June.
I originally posted this at BetterParenting.com 🙂