First of all, I’d like to wish fathers everywhere a happy Fathers Day. But, I wanted to voice my opinion on this Hallmark holiday which in my opinion should not be the one day of the year where we show appreciation for fathers (or mothers) everywhere. I’m certain this has been said a million times and I’m probably just repeating myself at this point. However, we need to stop and think about what this day is truly about in this day and age. It’s about corporations making money on gifts, and sappy cards with generic messages that have no soul to them.
You see fathers day was originally an event hosted in Spokane, Washington, but the very first observance of it came from a Methodist Episcopal church in West Virginia from the year 1908 one fifth of July under the suggestions of a woman called Grace Golden Clayton to pastor Robert Thomas Webb. In those days it was simply a day to honor fathers in church whilst giving them the recognition that sometimes goes unnoticed. There were no large events held in their honor and as the website I got my information (I will link to it at the end) from mentions ” Making a big fuss never was very dad-like, anyway”. It is said that in Spokane they still celebrate the holiday as they did back then, and I have to say that I would love for it to be this way instead. There was no need for expensive gifts, no need to demonstrate any extra amount of affection for a father. It was simply to recognize the hard work that they put into raising a family, and isn’t this what we should be truly celebrating?
It took congress an extremely long time to officiate the holiday and in a truly ironic twist of events the largest fears that held them at bay was the commercialization of the holiday. Isn’t that just a kick in the rear? Their largest fear ended up becoming a reality after the holiday was made official, and now we simply have another Hallmark holiday in which corporations take their chances to sell us neckties, gift cards, clothing, and other items which we give to our fathers, and sometimes they aren’t really even needed. But, it’s hard not to get into the festivities and want to join them, I’d even dare to say that society bombards us with stimuli to incite our spending during the “parents day” events. Treating them extra special, with treats such as breakfast in bed or doing some of their chores for them (which truly we should be doing that regardless of what day it was). But this is not the worst part about the event to me.
There is one aspect of these two holidays in which we honor our parents that I truly hate. It’s that we act like this is the one day we should remember our parents, and once that it is done with we can forget about them for another 364 days. This is not how it should be, we should honor our parents everyday that we (both them and us) are alive. If they truly deserved the recognition that we give them this time of the year. Then they are worthy of the same treatment during the rest of it. As a son I try to call my parents on a regular basis even if it’s simply to tell them that my wife and son are doing well. Sure it can be trying at times to keep them so involved in my life when we are thousands of miles away from each other. But, this is the one way that I can keep them aware of my appreciation for them. Even when I get angry or bothered by their meddling it doesn’t change that I do love my parents in-spite of the mistakes they made (they are human too). But, I also acknowledge that they do like receiving presents (there are not a lot of people who don’t like gifts). So for them and a few other extra-special people in my life I am willing to swallow my pride, and join in the celebration.
The one thing that I don’t like is getting presents on this day. The one gift I asked for this year (and it was given to me very late during the day) was some time for myself. I am a father 24/7, and in exchange for this I don’t want anything except the love of my family and close friends. When my wife comes to me with gifts in hand in the morning; I’m not sure on how I should react. I don’t like the feeling that I get whenever someone brings me something. But, I grin and bear it. I receive these presents with a hint of melancholy, and a smile in my face because it makes my family happy. That is not to say I didn’t like the gifts and in fact I loved three of them in particular.
The first gift I loved was getting to spend time with this guy:
He was my very first friend in the military, we’ve been serving together since our first command and I absolutely adore spending time with him and his family. I had the time of my life with them and so did my wife. Truly a man could not ask for much more than this. We also went shooting bottles and it was hilariously amusing.
The second (though equally as amazing) was receiving two letters that my two year old made for me:
To me those two letters with his hand-prints and foot-prints are priceless. I also received a shirt along with them. But, I could have literally gotten those two things and it would still feel like the best Fathers Day present to me. I didn’t need anything because I can afford to buy anything I really want (this is to say I’m frugal and love items that are on sale).
The third and final present that I loved was spending some quality time with a man that is like a father figure to me. I will not disclose his name for the sake of protecting him and his family. But, once the sun went down, and my wife and son went to sleep. He got a wine bottle, lit a bonfire, and we spoke for over 3 hours about life. There were few words I could use to describe how nice it felt to do this, so I had to write them in a letter I gave him that night (along with a Raiders pocket knife, and a Shirt). In it I described the impact that he’s had in my life, and my appreciation for protecting my son and wife when I needed help. His wife and him have literally jumped through hurdles in order to help us out because of military restrictions, and for that I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. In my opinion the shirt and knife were simply extras, and it was the letter the one thing that was uniquely his because no one will ever take the words written in that letter from him. I made it for him, and there are none other in the world with those exact words.
All I wanted this Fathers Day, was some alone time to relax. This as you can see did not come to fruition for me. But, I can still say that it was probably the best one I’ve ever had. I will certainly never forget how great it was to do everything I did. My son and wife enjoyed it as much as I did, and that is also important because without them I wouldn’t be celebrating it the way I did.
Yet, I feel like I can’t stress this enough, don’t forget to cherish your parents everyday of your lives (pertaining they truly deserve it). They did so much for you that one day is simply not enough to show the gratitude that they deserve. Trust me when I say that they will be much happier and so will you. After all, what goes around comes around, and as a society we should really show our gratitude more often. Remember that your parents love you, as much (if not more) than you love them.
There is one last thing I’d like to tell everyone who reads this. Sometimes the best gift that you can give a dad is some time off from being a dad. Ask your parents if all they want for their respective parents day is to loaf about without having to worry about anything (chances are they will say yes). If this is the case listen to them and do it. They will love you that much more for it. After all being a parent often becomes a thankless and extremely back-breaking labor of love.
Link to the website speaking of the history of Fathers Day: http://hamptonroads.com/node/283021
This article is copyright of the original writer.