Fathers Day Background

ExperienceDays.com offers a wide variety of unique experience gifts to surprise Dad with on this Father’s Day. Dinner Cruises, flying lessons, a helicopter ride are only a few of the possibilities available to give Dad Fathers Day Gifts he will never forget.

Though Father’s Day is a national holiday, it was not recognized as such until 1972 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. However, its background in America goes back nearly as far as that of the American version of Mother’s Day.

History: The first known Father’s Day celebration occurred on July 5, 1908 at William Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont, West Virginia. It is thought to have been suggested by Grace Golden Clayton to her pastor after an explosion took the lives of 361 men in a neighboring town.

However, the holiday was not actually celebrated until the following year, when Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon, interestingly enough, to initiate a similar holiday to honor fathers. Sonora felt this strong desire to honor dads because her own father, William Jackson Smart, who had fought in the Civil War, raised her and her brothers and sisters, as a single parent, after the death of their mother. Because of her father’s June birthday, Sonora worked to have the holiday occur in June, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910. And, though President Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday in 1924 and President Johnson named the third Sunday of June “Father’s Day,” it was not until 1972 that President Nixon made it a national holiday.

Paradoxically, it was the fact that Congress at the time was all, or nearly all, male during the intervening years that made the legislators hesitate to proclaim this holiday a national one. They felt it would appear too self-promoting. Fortunately for fathers and for all of us who enjoy honoring them, common sense and genuine emotion prevailed over a concern for appearances.

Facts about Dads: The stereotype of moms always being the main or only child-care-givers is gradually dying, though the importance of mothers can never be denigrated. A surprisingly large number of Dads are now the primary or only care-givers of their children. The following facts are from the U.S. Census Bureau:
• In 2006 it was estimated that there were 159,000 married, stay-at-home dads, caring for some 283,000 children while their wives worked.
• That same year there were 2.5 million single fathers, 19% of all single parents.
• In 2006 also there were 26.5 million married fathers with children under 18.
• In 2003 64% of children under six living with married parents and 66% of children under six living with a single father had dinner with their father every day.
• 63% of married fathers living with children under six praised them three or more times a day; 57% of single fathers did the same.

What do these facts tell us about fathers? The statistics can only give a tiny glimpse of what is going on in the families represented in the census records, but we can glean a few things. One, the involvement of fathers in raising their children is growing. The increasing numbers of both stay-at-home dads and single dads is complemented by more involvement on the part of married dads. In the 1950s, the typical scenario was for dad to come home in the evening, while mom stayed home with the kids all day. Now, often both parents work, and even with a stay-at-home mom, dads often take more time after work and on weekends to do things with their children. Furthermore, the stereotype of the stern father, reticent in giving praise, is belied by the statistics regarding the lavish praise of young children by both married and single fathers. Affirmation from a parent is one of the greatest gifts any child can receive.

Giving Back: Father’s Day is a way children can give back to these fathers, who have given so much to them. Though fathers appreciate any gift from a child, an experience gift, offering Dad a unique and exciting adventure or meaningful memory, might be even more special than the traditional necktie or dinner at a restaurant. ExperienceDays offers a wide array of options, from a helicopter ride or flying lessons to cooking classes or a dinner cruise. Whatever you choose to give Dad, enjoy celebrating this special man in your life on the one day devoted to fathers – Father’s Day.