Forget the commercialization: Honor your dad Sunday

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By Gene Linzey

So this is Father’s Day. How about Hallmark Card Day, or Sears, or Wal Mart Day? That’s where the money goes ee if we even remember Father’s Day. And by Monday, it’s all over; we have done our duty to Dad for this year, now back to real life. I’ve seen children begrudgingly put on a fake happy face for Father’s Day, then on Monday go back to the usual routine of disdaining and belittling their father. That is discouraging.

The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Wash. Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.

Raised by her father after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father, William Jackson Smart, to know how special he was to her. It was her father who made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold her Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Wash., on June 19, 1910. Somehow the idea spread.

In 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City. Later, Father’s Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956.

And in 1972, President Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father’s Day was born in memory and with gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father, and all good fathers, should be honored with a special day just as mothers are honored on Mother’s Day. Her intent was not to honor him just because he was her father; rather it was to honor him for all that he was to and for her during her entire life.

But what is a father that we should designate a day to honor him? And here, I don’t refer simply to a biological dad, but to a caring, nurturing father.

A father gives of himself to teach his kids how to fish, ride a bike and get along with neighbors. A father teaches his children to read, analyze and think. A caring father gives his livelihood, his time and he gives of himself to feed, clothe, and house his family. He protects them against harm and he does so much more.

Some famous quotes about fathers include the following: “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” – William Shakespeare; “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” – English Proverb; “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” –Sigmund Freud; “Parents [fathers], do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, bring them up with Christian discipline and instruction.” – Ephesians 6:4.

We instinctively understand that there’s a higher principle involved than honoring a man just because he is dad. Fatherhood represents a godly, central authority and God uses fathers to shape the lives of his children. This is why the world wants to see the nuclear family image replaced with a Hollywood-version of a dysfunctional, immoral family image.

This is also why the world spends so much time, money and energy discrediting the father figure and making him appear either as an irresponsible buffoon, a demeaning tyrant or simply unnecessary to have around.

Normally, the happiest fathers are those who honor their own fathers. Why? Because they have a healthy respect for authority. With this basic confidence and self-respect, they are able to nurture their own children with a positive self-image. It is nothing phony, nothing mushy, nothing superficial, but rather a real, solid understanding of “who I am.”

Fathers, love your children, and children (including grownups) honor your fathers.

Happy Father’s Day.