Father’s Day just passed and I’ll bet many Dad’s never received a thank you!, let alone a hug or “I love you.” This year we shared father’s day with Juneteeth and the following day was West Virginia Day. Celebrations were happening all over the State. Employees of local, state, and federal offices received a day or two off to celebrate. Picnics, cookouts, get togethers and many other outdoor events took place. However from what I noticed, other than a few cards or quick happy father’s day quotes, the larger emphasis was on the Juneteeth Day.
Most men have come to recognize it’s not the same as Mother’s Day. They don’t expect to be “wine and dined!” They don’t want all the attention and a basket of flowers. Most men want respect and gratitude for their contributions to the family. In their own way they want their families and children to know they love them even when times are tough and difficult.
The history of Father’s Day goes back to 1908, when a church in West Virginia held a sermon to honor 362 men who had been killed the previous year in a coal mining explosion. Imagine 362 men working in extreme unsafe conditions to provide for their loved ones, leaving for work to never return. That is just one of the many dangerous jobs men in society do to make a better way of life for their children. The sacrifices men make are often overlooked by those who refuse to work and care for their families.
This was the country’s first-ever event to strictly honor fathers, but it was just a one-and-done thing, at least in that community. Over the years, the celebration of Father’s Day spread from state to state, and after a long fight, it was finally declared a national holiday in 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into law.
Fathers like most all people have good days and bad days. Few fathers will look back over their lives and say, every day they were the perfect dad. Most look back and think of some things they could have let go in order to spend more time with our families. Most of those things don’t seem important now.
Being a father is a tough job; it’s not for whimps! You learn things as a father, that you wish someone would have told you about, even though you probably wouldn’t have listened or cared.
Throughout life we typically learn the hard way. Our fathers, mothers, grandparents and father figures offer us good advice from things they have experienced, tell us we will regret certain things, but we rarely believe them, but as time passes we realize what they told us is true. You later pass that knowledge on to your kids and they don’t pay much attention to you either.
We live in an era where according to the US Census nearly 30 million American children apart from their biological father. That’s not to say stepfathers, grandfathers and uncles don’t step in to play the role, they certainly do, along with many father figures, but there’s a unique role a father plays in a child’s life.
Fathers feel bad about the times in their lives when they had to work to much to feed the family, keep a roof over their heads, pay the bills and provide the many extra luxuries of the American lifestyle.
And just like those 362 coal miners who set out to spend another day at work, one must remember the future is not guaranteed. So, have a loving and forgiving heart, even during the trials of life.
You may be finding out now that your grown children are too busy for you. They have lives of their own and you may not be a priority. It hurts some but they probably are being like you used to be. Don’t lose sleep over this but be available and reach out as you are able.
You can’t buy your children’s affection. Every parent wants to help their children but the best thing you can do for them is teach them to care for themselves.
Hoping all you fathers had a great father’s day!