That includes single mothers, adoptive fathers and father figures who fulfill the role created by the absence of the biological father. The celebration typically involves gift giving, special dinners to fathers and family-oriented activities.
Unlike the average hard-working father of a century ago who seemed more concerned about putting food on the table than spending time with his children, today’s fathers are taking an active interest in the lives of their children and reaping the rewards in closer bonds and more meaningful celebrations of Father’s Day.
From changing diapers, feeding and attending school activities to taking the lead in family discussions, outings, spiritual interests and financial support, an increasing number of men are taking fatherhood seriously and taking parenthood to a new level.
Tim Aday and his son Caleb were spotted having fun together at the new Bounce Around Play World for children at Bradley Square Mall.
When asked what Father’s Day meant to him, Tim said, “Father’s Day is the most important day as a father because it celebrates Father and son or father and daughter. I love being a father. Caleb is the greatest son you could ever have. He’s awesome.”
Caleb called his father “the best dad in the world,” adding, “We usually play sports outside — throwing a football and stuff — or we’ll come to the mall, walk around and look at things. If he has enough money, we’ll buy a lot of things.”
“We love spending time together,” Tim said, putting his arm around his son.
Kenneth Tibbs of Cleveland said, “Father’s Day reminds me of giving life to my twins Demetria and Demetrus and my oldest daughter Kenneshia. It also makes me think of my mortality. Because of my children and grandchildren my name will live on even after I’m gone. It also makes me proud to have a son, an excellent father to his children, as well as two daughters who play both mother and father in their children’s lives.”
According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau in November 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States of which 84 percent of these custodial parents are mothers.
Many single mothers like Demetria have taken on the role of both mom and dad in households across the country, making Father’s Day as much of a gender neutral celebration for single moms as Mother’s Day.
Interestingly, it was a woman, not a man, credited with initiating Father’s Day. Sonora Smart Dodd pioneered the founding of Father’s Day after losing her mother and reflecting on the nurturing efforts of her beloved father, William Smart.
Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, a Civil War veteran whose wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. He was left to raise the newborn and his other five children alone on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. He never remarried.
After becoming an adult, Dodd realized how unselfish, loving, sacrificing and courageous her father was to raise six children alone.
In 1909 in Spokane, Wash., Dodd was reportedly listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and was inspired to hold the first Father’s Day celebration the following year on June 19, 1910 — her father’s birthday.
The idea caught on and swept the nation. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day on the petition sent to him by Dodd. In 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City. In 1954 a Joint Resolution of Congress gave recognition to Father’s Day.
Then in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed the law to permanently establish the third Sunday of June as a national observance of Father’s Day.
Today, the third Sunday of June is celebrated as Father’s Day in 55 of the world’s countries. In Australia and New Zealand Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September. In Spain and Belgium it is celebrated on March 19. In Sweden Father’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of November.
While ancient Romans in the first century honored their dead fathers every February, the early Christians were known for honoring father and mother daily as a way of life.