Pastoral Perspectives

What Makes Dad Special?

   Whenever it comes to Father’s day, I always remember a cross-stitch that Grace made for me when I first became a Dad. It says: “Anyone can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a Dad.” Each father’s day, though not as well celebrated as Mother’s day, my kids do try their best to remember and come up with some surprises. Hanging on the walls of my office are collections of Father’s Day creations from them, hand-made cards with messages like: “Happy Father’s day 07 to the greatest Dad on earth…” One card that makes me proud was from my youngest daughter, Yi Jing with this words: “Happy Father’s day! I hope you like this card. I made it myself. I am happy to have a daddy like you!…” 

            How about you? What makes your dad special? According to Internet sources, 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane, Washington after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church was inspired and wanted to let her father William Jackson Smart, who had brought her and her siblings up single-handedly after their mother died, know how deeply she was touched by his sacrifices, courage, selflessness and love. To pay a tribute to her great dad, Sonora held the first Father’s Day celebration on 19th of June 1910, on the birthday of her father. She was the first to solicit the idea of having an official Father’s Day observance. In 1913, a bill in accordance with making the day official was introduced. US President Woodrow Wilson approved the idea in 1916. Later, in 1924, the idea gained further momentum as President Calvin Coolidge supported it. In 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City. However, it was thirty years later that a Joint Resolution of Congress gave recognition to Father’s Day. Some 16 years later President Richard Nixon established the third Sunday of June as a permanent national observance day of Father’s Day in 1972. The day was primarily nationalized in honor of all good fathers, who contributed as much to the family as a mother in their own special ways. Another theory states that even before Dodd came into the picture, Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia was believed to have conducted the first Father’s Day service in 1908 at the Central Church of Fairmont. However, it was the colossal efforts of Dodd which made it possible for the day to acquire national recognition.

            The white and red rose was made the official flowers for Father’s Day celebration. While the white rose commemorated gratitude for a deceased father, the red rose expressed thankfulness to one who was living. What is significant for us today is that a day is set-aside for us to honour our father. Everyday can be a Father’s Day if we intentionally build up our relationship with him. The sad thing is this: “in our Age of Equality, today’s men hardly know how to be men, husbands and fathers. And today’s women hardly know how to appreciate and encourage their men.”

            Social sciences indicated that if fathers are eliminated, our kids’ lives will deteriorate. Father’s absence is a disaster that places kids at risk of negative outcomes, ranging from dropping out of school to drug abuse, teen pregnancy and depression. The question is “what exactly does a father do?” Seems that the father’s role is insignificant and yet many a times we hear mothers say, “Just you wait until your father gets home.” Fathers are critical to healthy child development and help make their children compassionate, confident, well-adjusted people. Here’s an article from the Internet “Five Things You Don’t Know Fathers Do” by Glenn T. Stanton the director of global family formation studies at “Focus on the Family” that is worth your attention:

1.             Fathers teach Empathy

          A 26-year study published by the American Psychological Association found that children with fathers very involved in their lives are more likely to be sensitive to the needs of others in adulthood compared to those who do not have involved fathers in their lives.

2.             Fathers give Confidence

          Research shows that infants with involved fathers are more confident and likely to explore the world around them with enthusiasm. Fathers’ more active play style and slower response to help their children through frustrating situations creates greater problem-solving capacity and confidence in both boys and girls.

3.             Fathers Increase Vocabulary

          Children who spend much time with Dad over their childhood are more likely to have larger and more complex vocabularies.

4.             Fathers Protect against Crime and Violence

          You are not likely to find well-fathered boys in gangs. This is not only because fathers are more likely to keep their sons out of gangs, but also more importantly, fathers give boys the things that can make gang life attractive. Likewise, girls with good fathers are not as likely to fall to the pressure of sexually enterprising young boys because well-fathered girls are more confident, having already gained theloveof a good man.

5.             Fathers Promote better treatment of Women

          A good father demonstrates to both sons and daughters how a good man should treat women. This is shown by a father’s good behavior, but also by his less-than-good behavior. When a good dad is inconsiderate and Mom calls him on it and he responds like a gentleman, both boys and girls take note.

          A BLESSED FATHER’S DAY to ALL GRANDFATHERS, FATHERS and GODFATHERS.  “Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

Pastor Cheng Huat

June 19, 2011