Celebrating for a century; ‘Dad’s Day’ was met with ridicule in 1910

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June in 52 countries around the world. Elsewhere it is celebrated on other days of the year.

Initially proposed in 1909 by Mrs. John B. Dodd, Father’s Day was actually rooted in Dodd’s own single-parent home. Dodd’s father, William Smart, was a Civil War veteran widowed when his wife died in childbirth in Washington state. Left to raise his six children on his own, Smart’s perseverance and selflessness eventually became the root of what is now Father’s Day. Mrs. Dodd got the idea after hearing a Mother’s Day sermon.

Originally, Father’s Day was met with laughter and satire. It was thought to be just another hokey holiday to fill up the calendar. Although the concept was initiated in 1910, it was not until 1972 under President Richard Nixon that Father’s Day became an official holiday.

These days, single-parent homes led by dads are much more common than when Mrs. Dodd chose to honor her father in 1910.

One of the more noteworthy societal shifts in the second half of the 20th century was the growing number of single-parent families. W

One of the common misconceptions about single-parent homes is that they all are headed by women. According to a 2009 report from the U.S. Census Bureau titled Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007, an overwhelming majority of the 13.7 million single parents across the country are women. However, 16 percent of single parents are fathers, a figure that equates to roughly 2.2 million men serving as custodial parents across the country.

The holiday is celebrated in many ways, most traditionally with gifts for Dad, time spent with the family, and rest and relaxation for fathers everywhere.

Fast Facts

• 64.3 million fathers are estimated to live across the nation.

• 140,00 dads are stay-at-home fathers.

• As of 2008, there were 1.8 million single fathers in the United States.

• 85 percent of fathers have children under the age of 18.

• There are two families that have had both father and son as the U.S. president. John Adams and John Quincy Adams make up the first family, and George Bush and George W. Bush make up the second.

What’s the best – or most repeated advice – from your dad?

Joyce Smith: “Remember never get involved in a couple’s troubles and say bad things about one or the other..cause if they get back together they will remember what you said.”

Anita Hamilton: “Love is like the raindrops. It’s just as likely to fall on the rose petals as it is the thorns,” and “Time to put your big girl panties on (time to act like an adult)“

Teresa Smith: “Don’t expect anything from others that you’re not willing to do yourself.”

“Do the right thing, cause it’s the right thing to do. And another thing he would say, he’s a preacher and if we asked ‘Do we have to go to church tonight?’ he would say, ‘You don’t have to…you get to.’ That means so much to me that I got it tattooed on my leg.”