The third Sunday in June is Father’s Day. It is a fairly new holiday, being officially recognized as one by President Richard Nixon in 1972. The idea to honor fathers came from Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd understood that Mother’s Day came about because Anna Jarvis pushed so hard for it. Dodd’s mother passed away when her children were young, and her father accepted the responsibility for rearing the six children. Dodd felt that her father deserved recognition for his efforts. Father’s Day was first held in June in 1910.
The importance of this holiday cannot be overstated. Fathers and father figures make great contributions in the lives of their children and other children and deserve to be recognized. I have long been sympathetic for fathers because they do not usually receive accolades for their parenting. Bishops and bishoprics in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nearly sweat blood in planning what to give to mothers and all women 18 years old and over. They now that they cannot please every woman no matter what they do. If they give chocolates, women on diets get upset. If they give flowers or plants, women want chocolates. Pity the poor Bishop that decides to give reading material of one kind or another! I like the reading material much better than chocolates and even more than cut flowers.
Father’s Day for the men is just another Sunday in the lives of Church leaders; the brethren do not worry at all about gifts for the fathers. In some wards the Relief Society or Young Women organizations make gifts for the fathers – homemade candy, cookies, or something similar. I think the men are grateful for whatever they get but especially for simply being recognized.
President John Adams (1778) recognized the importance of the home: “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families…. In vain are schools, academies, and universities instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years.”
Mark Alexander of The Patriot Post wrote about fathers. “The vital role of fathers has been extolled throughout history and in virtually every religion and culture. In 295 B.C., Mencius wrote, `The root of the kingdom is in the state. The root of the state is in the family. The root of the family is in the person of its head.’” Mencius was totally correct because the strength of the family lies in the type of leadership given by the father who stands as the head of the family.
Alexander discussed two decades of consequences from fatherless and “tens of millions of American children growing up in fatherless homes.” He relied on “only the most reputable professional journals, national research organizations and polling firms. Here is accurate data on the consequences for American children without fathers in their homes: About 43% of children live without a father – more than 20 million children – and millions more have fathers who may be physically present but emotionally absent. Forty-four percent of children living in poverty are fatherless. Eighty-five percent have behavior problems, often `diagnosed’ as ADHD (or, as I refer to it, PDHD – “Parental Deficit in the Home Disorder”). Children from fatherless homes account for 63% of youth suicides, 90% of all homeless and runaways, 70% of youths in state-operated institutions, 71% of high school dropouts, 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers and 85% of all youths in prison. Of course, women without husbands and children without fathers are at much greater risk of being victimized.
“Most notably, however, 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father, which is to say they are perpetuating the misery. And tragically, 72% of black children are born out of wedlock.
“Arguably, the vast majority of social problems confronting our nation today originate in homes without fathers, which would include those without functioning or effective fathers.”
Even though “most fatherless homes are the result of men putting their own interests ahead of their marriage and family,” there are other reasons. One of those reasons is caused by women who cannot establish a good marriage with their husbands because of the lack of an appropriate daughter-father relationship. Women who do not have a healthy bond with their fathers have more difficulty in developing a healthy marriage with her husband.
We all know young men and young women who overcame dysfunctional families – whether it is a single parent, poverty, or abuse. They are the minority and were blessed with someone instilling in them the values and virtues needed to succeed in life. As a result they accept personal responsibility as opposed to the majority who refuse to accept personal responsibility and blame others for their problems.
Alexander continued, “The failure of fatherhood is more than just a social problem; it is a menacing national security threat. The collective social pathology of the fatherless has dire consequences for the future of Liberty, free enterprise and the survival of our Republic.”
Our nation is facing big problems because of the millions of children who grow to adulthood without the influence of good fathers. - We suffer from gangs of young people breaking laws and running around getting into trouble. I believe the riots and destructions that take place across our nation – such as Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, – would not have happened if the young people had grown up in homes under the influence of good fathers.
Elder L. Tom Perry explained how fathers can strengthen our nation: “Satan, in his carefully devised plan to destroy the family, seeks to diminish the role of fathers. Increased youth violence, youth crime, greater poverty and economic insecurity, and the failure of increasing numbers of children in our schools offer clear evidence of lack of a positive influence of fathers in the homes. A family needs a father to anchor it.”
Have you ever wondered why God chose to be called Father in Heaven? The answer may be found in this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson: “The sacred title of `father’ is shared with the Almighty. … Fatherhood is not a matter of station or wealth; it is a matter of desire, diligence and determination to see one’s family exalted in the celestial kingdom. If that prize is lost, nothing else really matters.”
President Benson also said, “With few exceptions, righteous sons and daughters who have attained eternal blessings are not just physically begotten by their fathers. They are spiritually regenerated by the examples and teachings of their fathers. Great fathers lead their children to Christ.”
Another good quote is this one from Elder Robert L. Backman: “`Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend and, ultimately, a perfect being.”
If you like the above quotes, you can find more quotes about fathers here.
We have earthly fathers and a Heavenly Father. I am grateful for my father and his influence in my life. He showed us a good example but also made it plain that he expected us to become even better than him. I am grateful for my husband and the good he brings into the lives of our children and grandchildren. I am particularly grateful to all my sons – by birth or by marriage – who are fathering their own children. I am truly impressed with the good they bring into their children’s lives simply because they are taking an active part in their upbringing. Most of all, I am grateful to know that I have a Father in Heaven. I am grateful to know that He has a plan for the happiness of all His children as well as an individual plan for me and you. I am grateful to know that He lives and that He loves me.