Whether they call you dad, daddy, father, the old man, pops or papa, whatever type of father you are: biological, step, in-law, adoptive, single, same-sex or grandfather/grandpa, societies at large, in their wisdom or out of fairness, decided you should be celebrated annually on the third Sunday of June on a ‘Father’s Day’. Great!
This ‘special day’ was inaugurated in the United States in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day: surprisingly, it was founded in 1910 by a mother, Sonora Smart Dodd, daughter of an American civil war veteran, at the Spokane, Washington, YMCA; her father was a single-dad who raised alone his six children after his beloved wife’s death during childbirth. Sonora had chosen June 5th , her dad’s birthday, as her preferred original date, but eventually rallied to the third Sunday of June after President Lyndon Johnson’s presidential proclamation in 1966. Its creation acknowledged and celebrated the contribution of fathers to their own families and society. In some European countries such as Spain and Portugal, Father’s Day is still celebrated on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, Jesus’ father.
What is the origin of the informal word-name ‘dad or daddy’? Linguists agree that the word is not formally from the English language although most currently used, but a nearly universal and probably prehistoric ‘sound’ or ‘mono-syllable’ originating from child’s speech, vowel ‘A’ and consonants produced by the tongue like ‘D’ being the first stages of language for young children babbling their first sounds.
Through the years (Great Depression, World War II, pandemics,…) and reaching a new century, societies changed, values evolved and so did ‘fatherhood’; from a patriarchal society where men had a different role as the family’s bread-winner with the mother responsible for raising the children, to today’s expectations and values where men and women share equal responsibilities within the family.
Allow me to share a few verses from Conway Twitty’s hit country song ‘That’s my job’, a song which my daughter and my son-in-law, first-time parents of my first granddaughter, shared with me a few months ago: Youtube it if you wish. No comments necessary.
That’s My Job
(lyrics by Gary Burr)
He wanted knowledge and learning,
I wanted to fly out west
Said, « I could make it out there
If I just had the fare
I got half, will you loan me the rest? »
And I said « Daddy, I’m so afraid
There’s no guarantee in the plans
I’ve made and if I should fail
Who will pay my way back home? »
And he said « That’s my job
That’s what I do
Everything I do is because of you
To keep you safe with me
That’s my job you see »
Every person carves his spot
And fills the hole with light
And I pray someday I might
Light as bright as he
No matter your age, your style, your funds or your relationship with your dad, a good old-fashioned card in which you will share a personal message is still the ultimate Father’s Day gift; and maybe a round of golf…and a cold-one at the 19th…and a poutine at his favorite pub’s terrace…and…But all those extra treats will not match your presence at his side on that day if distances and commitments aren’t obstacles.
Here is a cute little DAD JOKE to end it all:
‘While having their evening dinner, a little girl looked up at her father and asked, ‘’Daddy, you’re the boss in our family, right?’’ The father was very pleased to hear it and confidently replied, ‘’Yes, my little princess, I guess I am!’’ The girl then added, ‘’That’s because mommy put you in charge, right?’’
Happy Father’s Day guys! Enjoy next June 19, that’s your job!