“The best fathers have the softest, sweetest hearts. In other words, great dads are real marshmallows.” – Richelle E. Goodrich
Growing up in the nineties, our default gift for my dad was a tie. We gave him ties for pretty much every occasion, but especially for Father’s Day. We would all pile in the car, head to the mall, and proceed to dismantle every tie display in whatever department store my mom took us to.
Even though I’m sure my dad enjoyed wearing each and every tie we gave him, I thought I might check in with him this year and get his thoughts on Father’s Day (you know, since he’s a father, and all that). He pretty much told me that for him, Father’s Day has never been about gifts, it’s about spending time with us, his children. Which was so nice…and made me wonder what he ended up doing with all those ties.
Nowadays, things have changed quite a bit from the trips to the department store to get our dad a new tie. Between the ads we see everywhere making it look like we’ve got to get dad a whole new wardrobe or toolkit and the social media influencers telling us that we should all be sitting next to our perfectly coiffed family on a picnic blanket on our perfectly manicured lawn, there’s a lot to get caught up in for ANY family celebration these days. Keeping it simple, however, is really what dads want.
As a big ole nerd, I decided to dig a little deeper on the topic of Father’s Day. Was it created by greeting card companies or retail stores to make more money during slow months, or was there something more to it? In my searching, I discovered that Father’s Day was meant to be so much more than that. Sonora Smart-Dodd was one of six children. Her father raised them all on his own after her mother died. She was in church one Sunday and heard an inspiring sermon that made her feel that her dad needed a day in his honor. After seeing him take such good care of herself and her siblings, she realized that he deserved recognition.
So Sonora went out and made it happen! She traveled around her community in Spokane, Washington, and pitched Father’s Day to anyone who would listen. She made signs, and probably had to talk to lots of people who told her she was wasting her time. But she made it happen, and by golly, Father’s Day was first celebrated in the state of Washington on June 19, 1910. Pretty amazing, right?!
In my opinion, it’s so fitting that Father’s Day was originally thought of by a child. I mean, how much more special does it get? It was comforting to me to find out that not all holidays are “made up” by retail companies looking to make money, but rather a sweet young person who wanted to celebrate her father’s hard work. Mother’s Day, by the way, was also created by a child. Her name was Anna Jarvis. But we won’t go into that right now, so feel free to Google it!
So, how can you help your family celebrate Father’s Day? By helping children determine the best way to honor the dads in your life. It really is a day that was created by children for their father, and it should really stay that way! I know that it might be tempting to make Father’s Day one of those Instagram-worthy moments that you can post and show off all the perfect moments, but unless your children suggest that, you should really just be a “helper” to the kids and let them determine what they want to do to make it a great day for dad. That’s so much easier anyway!
If you must give him something as a little physical reminder of how important he is to the family, here are a few ideas:
- A classic accessory, like a wallet
- A useful new tool
- A fun card
- A framed photo of the kids, or their artwork
- An unexpected self-care item, such as a really nice nail care kit, or a shaving kit…depending on his routine (you’ll need to do a little snooping for this one!)
In the end, what’s really important is that the dads in our lives are reminded of how grateful we are for them. These days, things have changed a lot since 1910, when the first Father’s Day was celebrated, but have they really? There are still mouths to feed, books to read at bedtime, and all the little things that dads everywhere do to make families happen. Let’s get some inspiration from Sonora Smart-Dodd and remember to keep Father’s Day simple – go back to basics and spend some quality time making special moments with the fathers in our lives.
I wish you joy as you look for ways to make Father’s Day a day full of memories and love!