We all have special people in our lives that made us who we are today. And it’s their advice, their encouragement, and their support that guides us along life’s path. It’s their stories that help shape us and inspire us to be all we can be.
Over one hundred years ago, one young woman heard the story of a brand new celebration taking place near her home town – Mother’s Day – and recognized that a celebration for mothers told only half the story. She quickly recognized all the struggles her own father must have faced while raising six children alone after his wife died during childbirth. If there could be a day to celebrate all that mothers offered this world, why not fathers too?
While many laughed at the idea, Sonora Louise Smart wouldn’t let the idea go. She began building a campaign to build support within the community. With the support of various local charity groups, the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.
As the idea grew in popularity, even the US Presidents began noticing. President Woodrow Wilson approved the festival in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge supported it too. But it wasn’t until President Lyndon Johnson signed a Presidential Proclamation in 1966 that Father’s Day was officially made into a holiday on the third Sunday in June.
Across the world, other countries took notice too. Almost every nation celebrates Father’s Day at some point in the year. For a great majority of the countries – Canada, China Ecuador, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru – they have made their Father’s Day celebrations parallel to America. For others, they celebrate for different reasons at different points in time.
Australia celebrates Father’s Day on the first Sunday of September, which coincides with the first Sunday of Spring.
In Italy, Father’s Day is celebrated on Saint Joseph’s Day, commonly called Feast of Saint Joseph, on March 19th.
In Israel, Father’s Day is called “Yom ha-av” and is celebrated on May 1st together with the holiday Labour Day.
While Father’s Day was originally designed by a young woman to give thanks for all that her father had done for her, it’s also recognized that Father’s Day isn’t for fathers alone. It truly takes a village to raise a child, and for that reason Father’s Day is a time to reflect on all the male influences that have shaped a child’s life.
Kids need a father figure to emulate. A positive male role model to follow and learn from. A paternal figure that helps teach along the way. That can come in many shapes and sizes. From stepfathers, to big brothers, to teachers, or cousins, when you step up and take the challenge of being in a child’s life, the reward can be life-changing.
Happy Father’s Day