Saturday, June 19, 2010
Father's Day is a special day set aside to honor and to express gratitude and appreciation to our fathers. It became an official national holiday in 1972 when President Richard M. Nixon signed Father's Day into law. Credit for the adoption of a day for fathers in the United States is given to Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington. After listening to a sermon on Mother's Day in 1909, she got the idea for a day to honor her father, William Jackson Smart. Sonora's mother died in 1898, and her father raised the six children by himself. Through Sonora's efforts, Spokane celebrated the first Father's Day on June 19, 1910. Father's Day is now an official holiday celebrated on the third Sunday in June. I am grateful for the fathers in my life: my own father, my father-in-law, my husband who is the father of our six children, and my sons and sons-in-law who are the fathers of my grandchildren. To all of them, I say thank you and Happy Father's Day. A father holds an important position in a family. He has the responsibility to 1) preside over his family in love and righteousness, 2) provide the necessities of life for his family, and 3) protect his family from all harmful influences. Ephesians 6:4 reads, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Gordon B. Hinckley, a modern-day prophet, said, "The father is the provider, the defender, the counselor, the friend who will listen and give support when needed. Who better than an exemplary father to effectively teach children the value of education, the dead-end nature of street gangs, and the miracle of self-esteem that can change their lives for good?" (Stand A Little Taller, p 169.) The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother and to insist that the children show proper respect to his wife and their mother. A recent study of the effect of marriage on poverty (1929-2008) shows that children have a much lower chance of growing of in poverty if their parents are married. The break down of the family in recent years emphasizes the important role that father fills in a family. In 1963, 93 percent of American children were born to married parents. Today the number has dropped to 59 percent. Children are fortunate if they grow up in a home that functions properly with father at the head of the family and mother at the heart. Fathers and mothers working together for the good of families are very important in establishing and maintaining a strong society. I want to wish a happy Father's Day to all fathers and especially to those fathers who recognize the value of father being in the home and taking an active part in the family.