Father’s Day celebrates dads — those mythical beings who reliably bring home a paycheck, fix a leaky roof, provide an endless and sometimes-appreciated stream of parental advice, and instinctively know when a simple game of catch can help a son or daughter through an emotional moment.
Father’s Day also celebrates real dads — the guys who, despite their faults, love their children and do the best they can to provide a stable family life and help raise well-adjusted kids.
Dads, after all, are human. They aren’t perfect. They can be confused and uncertain. They make mistakes. They aren’t really mythical beings.
Today’s families are not all built on the traditional assembly of a mother, a father and children. Family units come in all shapes and sizes, and they always have. The concept of Father’s Day probably stemmed from some form of non-traditional home life.
The origins of Father’s Day are a bit cloudy.
One narrative suggests the holiday was the brainstorm of a woman who in 1910 began promoting the idea of a U.S. holiday for fathers because she was raised, along with five siblings, by a single parent named William Jackson Smart.
Another narrative traces the holiday’s origins to tragedy. A 1907 mining disaster in Monongah, West Virginia, killed 361 workers, including 250 fathers. A local service held the following year is said to have led to the Father’s Day concept.
Fathers come in a wide variety of flavors, from aloof to overbearing.
A few extreme types of fathers regularly appear in popular entertainment. Sitcoms portray dads as buffoons who stumble through each day and can’t seem to get anything right. Dramas frequently include father characters who are violent or deadbeat or disinterested. All those kinds of dads exist. But they’re not the norm.
In the real world, most dads are good guys. They help support their families financially, socially and emotionally. They strive to protect their kids from danger. They teach — both by words and by example — their children about common sense, character, morals and ethics. When daughters and sons are confused by signals they get from peers or from society, dads — and moms, of course — try to coach their offspring through that particular piece of our complicated world. Then they move onto the next day, the next uncertainty, the next words of wisdom.
Most of all, fathers love their children. That love translates in many ways over the course of a lifetime. Fathers can serve as a landmark of stability as kids navigate the winding road toward adulthood. Dads also can serve as a stable source of advice for adult children. Once a dad, always a dad.
Fathers know they’ve done a good job when their kids grow up to be strong, thinking, caring, independent adults.
We hope your Father’s Day is filled with love and gratitude.