Opinion Columns & Blogs

Maybe we should celebrate fathers more often

Father. Dad. Daddy. And Papa. These are all names we call the men responsible for our being here on earth.

In honor of those men, Father’s Day is celebrated each year in June. We just celebrated Father’s Day, but did you know an interesting fact ties together single fathers and the development of Father’s Day? Surprisingly, it began in Spokane.

A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd and her six siblings, were raised by her single father after her mother died. Because she held her father in such high esteem, she approached her minister, suggesting that a day should be reserved to honor fathers and all they do for their families. So the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910. In 1966, a presidential proclamation was signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

As a society, we hold our men to such high standards and have great hope they live up to our expectations. It is hard enough to be a man, let alone becoming a father. Though Father’s Day has passed for this year, I wonder if we give them enough recognition.

The tie we felt might make their day or the cologne we found on sale was thoughtful, but let’s give a shout out to all dads for just being Dad.

When a man has been given the gift of fatherhood, it is a life-changing experience. This is when most men stop just living for themselves, and begin to focus on making a future for their family. They too share the stress of trying to succeed at being a positive role model, provider and teacher.

Being a father can be an enormous task and there is no rule book to guide men in becoming effective fathers. So ask yourself, “What does it take to be an effective father?”

I went out into the community and asked questions on what men think it takes be a good father.

The first question, “What went through your mind when you received the news you were about to become a father?” They told me they were overjoyed, happy and understood it was time to start planning for the child’s future.

Second question, “What is the most rewarding thing about being a father?” Answers: Seeing what you helped to create. Passing on what you were taught and boy, they sure cost a lot.

Third question, “What is the best advice you would give your child?”

Answers: Lead by example, have your own identity and follow your own path.

My last question to the more than 15 father’s polled, “What is the most difficult task that comes with being a father?”

There was one answer that stood above all others: Practice what you preach.

During my interviews, a concern was brought to my attention by one of the fathers. He had stated that he felt “left out” by not being fully included in the delivery process.

This should be a special time for both mother and father. But some may be given the impression that they are just an accessory, not a partner, in this process. We are generally so focused on mother and baby we may overlook the father.

Moms should include dads in the process.

Studies show the number of single fathers is increasing rapidly and we are proud of them all. The number of single family households has tripled in the last 30 years and one third of those are single fathers.

Let’s show our appreciation not only in the month of June, but on a daily basis. Remember, mothers and fathers, the most important gift of all is unconditional love.

Angel Roberson, mother and emergency room technician at Providence St. Peter Hospital for 11 years, is a member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel. She can be reached at angelroberson30@yahoo.com.