On Sunday, across most of the world, people will celebrate Father’s Day.
Anyone can father a child, but being a dad takes a lifetime. Fathers play a role in every child’s life that cannot be filled by others. Children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional. Children want to make their fathers proud, and an involved father promotes inner growth and strength. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development as well as instils an overall sense of well-being and self-confidence. A father influences the way the child sees relationships and a daughter will decide who her future partner is based on the relationship between her mother and her father as well as how she sees her father treating others. A son, on the other hand, will model himself on his father’s character because he sees his father as the role model for how an adult male should behave. And this is not just for biological fathers, even father figures play a very important role in a child’s life.
Children with sensitive and supportive fathers have higher levels of social competence and better peer relationships. Children whose fathers provide them with learning materials and speak with them frequently perform better in school and have more advanced language skills. A father also influences a child’s well-being indirectly through his relationship with the child’s mother. Conflicts between parents is detrimental to a child’s well-being, especially if the conflict is hostile and unresolved. Supportive co-parenting relationships, by contrast, are related to better self-regulation and fewer behaviour problems in children.
For centuries, the Eastern Orthodox Church has appointed the second Sunday before Nativity as the Sunday of the Forefathers to commemorate the ancestors of Christ according to the flesh, starting with Adam and emphasising the Patriarch Abraham. This feast can fall between December 11 and 17 and includes the ancestors of the Mother Mary. A customary day for the celebration of fatherhood in Catholic Europe is known to date back to at least 1508. It is usually celebrated on March 19, as the feast day of Saint Joseph, who is referred to as the fatherly Nutritor Domini or the Nourisher of the Lord in Catholicism and the putative father of Jesus in southern European tradition. This celebration was brought to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese with the Catholic Church actively supporting the custom of a celebration of fatherhood on St. Joseph’s Day from either the last years of the 14th century or from the early 15th century, on the initiative of the Franciscans. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the celebration of fatherhood dates back to the 15th century is also observed on St Joseph’s Day, but on July 20.
The day which is mostly celebrated today originated in the United States. This day was not celebrated in that country until the 20th century outside of the catholic traditions. People started celebrating in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day by celebrating fathers and male parenting. After Anna Jarvis’ successful promotion of Mother’s Day in Grafton, West Virginia, the first observance of a day honouring fathers was held on July 5, 1908, in West Virginia. In 1911, Jane Addams proposed that a citywide Father’s Day celebration be held in Chicago, but she was turned down. On June 19, 1910, a Father’s Day celebration was held in Washington state by Sonora Smart Dodd to honour her father Willday and felt fathers should also have a similar holiday to honour them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday in June and on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated.
However, in the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying and it faded into relative obscurity, but she started promoting the celebrations again in the 1930s. She had the help of retailers who realised that such a celebration would help promote their products and services, which are specifically targeted at men. In addition to Father’s Day, International Men’s Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 to honour both men and boys.
Fathers are important to children’s well-being. Sensitive, supportive, and involved fathers contribute to children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social adjustment. Fathers also influence children’s well-being in conjunction with mothers and other caregivers, making it important to understand father-child relationships as part of entire family systems.
To all my readers who are fathers and father figures, here’s wishing you a very Happy Father’s Day! And to those who have fathers or father figures, please take some time on Sunday to spend with them and wish them.