“I get no respect.” The line famously coined by the (slightly) lovable Rodney Dangerfield does much to paraphrase the feeling that many men share ‘round the world. Interestingly enough, those fathers out there may have been the very ones to shoot themselves in the foot on this matter!
Hello there, yes it is me, The Why Kid again. We have been through the history of many holidays together…
Many of you know that today is Father’s Day, but did you know that it almost never existed?
The fact of the matter is, our beloved men almost didn’t allow us to celebrate them! Despite our many efforts to congratulate our fathers on a job well done (equal to that of the mothers, mind you), there was a time when they wanted nothing of it.
Our efforts began on July 5, 1908 in Monongah, West Virginia when a sermon was given on behalf of 362 men that had died in a recent explosion in the Fairmont Coal Company mines of the town. To be fair, this sermon was never intended to be an annual affair. Yet, when the news of this caught wind, a woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington felt it an honorable idea to pedestal the men nationally once a year. It was to be the male equivalent to Mother’s Day. She petitioned local churches, the YMCA, business owners, and the government. Despite many men’s disgust at the idea, she was successful and Washington state celebrated their first ever Father’s Day on July 19, 1910.
However, even with the support of both President Wilson, and later, President Coolidge, men scoffed at the idea and sentiments of this holiday. Men said that this holiday “attempted to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving.” It was a “commercial gimmick to sell more products—often paid for by the father himself.”
In fact, later in the 1920’s and ’30s, it was actually attempted to merge both Mother’s and Father’s day into simply one holiday honoring both parents (thus birthing Parent’s Day). Yet, oddly enough, the Great Depression actually threw this attempt off track. Retailers began dubbing Father’s Day the “second Christmas” for men. Later, when WWII erupted, advertisers argued Father’s Day greatly celebrated our American Troops. Though it wasn’t until 1972 that Richard Nixon finally made it official, by the end of the war, it was settled: Father’s Day was here to stay.
I never thought I would say this, but thank God for the Great Depression (in this instance anyway). It gave us the very excuse we were looking for. Our fathers deserve all the appreciation we can muster. Ladies, celebrate these men, and do it well. They deserve it! We live in a time when true fatherhood rarely exists. So, for the men who have fought the good fight, and are still standing, this one is for them. And this one is also for those that lived a life worthy of the title “Father.” They need to know that they are loved. They are treasured. They are needed.
P.S. I love you Dad; thanks for being a real Father!
Photo credit: http://racheljoyphotos.blogspot.com