Father’s Day was finally and officially proclaimed a national holiday in 1972 by Richard Nixon. Mother’s Day had been declared a national holiday in 1914 by then president Woodrow Wilson. What took so long, you might ask. There were many worldwide events that prolonged the establishment of the holiday, in addition to the idea that it wasn’t manly to receive flowers and candy. But those who were determined to establish a day celebrating dad were finally successful. We celebrate dad on the 3rd Saturday in June each year.
Here are a few attributes of a good father:
is protective, building a wall of trust and security
is a source of encouragement with the patience to listen
spends time with his children, playing with them, supporting their interests
respects the children’s mother
has self-respect and sets a good example
There are so many more attributes I could list but these few struck me a most important.
I didn’t have that kind of father, many of us didn’t or don’t. But I have met many men who make it a point to consciously live their lives, expressing these very virtues.
My son-in-law for example. He loves his family, above all. He is there as a companion and responsible caregiver in partnership with his wife caring for their children. He says the word love but he doesn’t need to. Every one of his actions shows me how much he cares. I am happy for my daughter and my grandchildren but I am happiest for me. I get to see what a healthy father looks like, how he behaves and cares for himself and his family.
In Christian religions a “father in heaven” is celebrated as the ultimate example of fatherhood. Ernest Holmes didn’t teach that there was an ultimate physical “father in heaven” but instead focused on the Spirit within each of us. He taught that each of us are finite expressions of the One Life, expressing Itself as each of us. He is quoted as saying, “Listen to your inner voice, it will tell you the Truth.” The inner voice, in dad, guides him to the truth of his values, and what he wants to impart to his children and out into the world.
So, on this Father’s Day, celebrate your dad as you choose. If you were lucky and got a good one or have had a chance to reconcile with your dad, shower him with your gratitude. If you weren’t lucky, like me, find one to celebrate and shower him with your gratitude for being bold and brave enough to be the father we all need.
Carol Anne Perini, RScP