The concept of Father’s Day originated in the early 1900’s in several communities throughout the country. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that it become a national holiday, but no official designation was made. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued an executive order that established the third Sunday in June as the day of celebration of Father’s Day. Finally, President Richard Nixon made Father’s Day a national holiday in 1972.
As a result, this weekend, families across the country will buy cards and gifts, preachers will preach sermons, and restaurants will have specials, all in celebration of Father’s Day. But what is it exactly that we’re celebrating? Are we celebrating a man’s ability to produce viable sperm? His ability to find a mate, create a living person, and propagate our species? I guess, but it has to be more than that. Are we celebrating his ability to maintain a relationship with his child? His willingness to stick around and be a part of his child’s life? Definitely, but I think we’re celebrating more than that.
On Father’s Day, we’re celebrating much more than the distinction between an active parent and a deadbeat or absent parent. Instead, we celebrate Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) in recognition of the fact that fathers (and mothers) bring something different to the table. On Father’s Day, we’re celebrating a man’s role in the life, growth, and development of his child. We’re recognizing the unique contribution of a father in this regard, distinguished not only from the “deadbeat dad”, but also from the unique contribution of mothers. As a result, what we’re really celebrating when we celebrate Father’s Day is manhood.
In short, we are celebrating those things that men have always valued: strength, courage, productivity, and having the respect of other men. We are celebrating the way that men have embodied these manly virtues and used them for the benefit of their families. We’re celebrating strong and courageous men who protect and inspire their children. We’re celebrating productive men who provide for their children and teach their children to be producers instead of consumers. We’re celebrating men who are respected by others in a way that brings pride, security, and honor to their families.
On this Father’s Day, our families will honor and celebrate us, regardless of our shortcomings and mistakes. They will focus on our accomplishments and strengths, while overlooking our failures. They will be full of grace and mercy. But on our end, we must not lower the bar. There is no honor in the mere production of sperm. We must not be content with merely being present and engaged. Instead, we must insist that we bring manhood to our families. We must be protectors. We must put ourselves at risk of injury, shame, and embarrassment for our families. We must produce. We must master a craft that provides for our families. And we must continue to improve ourselves and earn a place of honor among other men. We must be men that make our families proud. We must be worthy of celebration. So this weekend, fathers, enjoy your families. Do something fun. Relax a bit. Laugh a lot. But have your eye on being better. For them.
*If you enjoyed this post, do two things: (1) enter your information below to subscribe to my mailing list and get my free report, Why Men Need a Mid-life Crisis, and (2) use the share buttons below to share this article on social media. Thanks.