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The Fight For Fathers: Why Fatherhood is a Necessary Ongoing Battle



 

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” –Luke 15:20, KJV

Father’s Day is an annual celebration honoring fathers, fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the overall impact of father figures in society. The holiday's origins can be traced back to 1909, when Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, reportedly first proposed it. Her father, a Civil War veteran, William Jackson Smart, was a single dad who successfully raised his six children. Although the proposal was welcomed, it never got enough traction to become official. After this, various people and groups made many attempts to make Father's Day official between 1909 and 1971, but all were thwarted.


There was a fierce struggle over the recognition of fathers.

President Richard Nixon signed the observance of Father's Day into law in 1972, declaring it a nationwide holiday. This was 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother's Day an official federal holiday. President Wilson also tried to extend the same recognition to Father's Day but faced controversial pushback. During President Lyndon Johnson's tenure from 1963 to 1969, he issued a proclamation honoring fathers and established the third Sunday of June as a day to celebrate fatherhood, despite facing great adversity against creating Father's Day.


The fight to celebrate the significance of fathers was apparent in the unwavering dedication and perseverance of advocates, even in the face of resistance.

Going further back in our history, one of the many attempts to create an official Father's Day observation in the U.S. took place on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia. The town was buzzing with excitement as families gathered to celebrate and honor fathers. Grace Golden Clayton was mourning her father's death in December 1907. A cave-in occurred in Monongah, WV, killing 362 miners. About 250 women instantly became widows, and about one 1000 children became fatherless. Only five miners escaped. Grace Clayton suggested to her pastor that he honor all those fathers. Unfortunately, Father's Day never officially caught on outside of Fairmont until its presidential declaration in 1972.                                                                                                                          



When reflecting on the spiritual aspect of Father's Day, Luke 15:20 stands out as a profound depiction of a genuine father figure. Even though his son had been wrong and had no doubt betrayed his dad and his heritage, his father still longed to have him home. Luke 15 tells us that even though the son had been humbled by his circumstances and came only desiring to be a servant, the father celebrated his return.                                                                                                                                       

This is an excellent example of a loving father, which offers a glimpse into the emotions God may have experienced when his son Jesus walked the earth. Jesus, in contrast to the prodigal son, was free from sin and did not stray from righteousness. Nevertheless, I believe God eagerly anticipated his Son's return after the resurrection despite having precise knowledge of when it would happen.



God is the ultimate Father and should be the prime example for all men. In Matthew 6:8, Jesus told his disciples, their heavenly Father, “knoweth what things ye have need of before you ask him.” In verses 25-34, Jesus compares believers to nature and declares we are worth much more than sparrows and lilies. The entire emphasis in this scripture is the Father’s care for his children. Without a doubt, this is one of the most pressing dilemmas confronting fathers in their quest to effectively "care for" their children. Sadly, the reputation of this highly esteemed role has been marred by fathers who've been abusive, absent, or irresponsible.    

                                                          

In heaven, angels and saints focus on worshiping and honoring the Father and the Son. But here on earth, fathers play a vital role in the lives of both sons and daughters. God must have thought it was an important position because he used the word “father” 979 times in 852 verses.


God knows how much good fathers are needed for human flourishing. Good fathers haven't and will never go out of style. They are necessary.

Yet, fathers continue to battle their own struggles and negative stereotypes. They're commonly depicted as unnecessary buffoons, and their cartoon-like personas continually flood TV and social media. Unfortunately, the absence of father figures in the home is another increasingly alarming issue in the US. Is there room for our men to do better? Of course. That's why fatherhood is an ongoing battle. A battle that, if won, pays enormous dividends to children, families, and society. Therefore, the fight must go on!



Each Father's Day, I celebrate fellow fathers and father figures, hoping we enjoy the accolades and attention from family and friends. Above all, I hope that the fight for fathers continues and that our families and communities honor us with the respect we deserve throughout the year.


For fathers who've faltered and failed and caused their families grief, pain, and lack, I pray they get back into the fight. I also pray that they repent, apologize, and change by using today to make tomorrow better for their children.


But no matter what happened yesterday or what today brings–now is the time to get back into “the fight for fathers.”

 

 


Prayer: Heavenly Father, we come before you today to lift up all fathers around the world. We thank you for the gift of fatherhood and for the love, guidance, and protection that fathers provide to their families. We pray for strength and wisdom for all fathers as they navigate the responsibilities and challenges of raising their children. Grant them patience in times of difficulty and joy in moments of laughter and play. May they be good role models for their children, demonstrating integrity, compassion, and faith. Help them to show unconditional love and support to their families, and to lead with kindness and understanding. We also ask for your blessing on fathers who may be facing struggles or hardships. Provide them with the courage to overcome obstacles and the resilience to keep moving forward. Father, we pray for your guidance and wisdom to fill the hearts of all fathers so that they may lead their families with love and strength. May they find fulfillment and joy in their important role as fathers. In your name, we pray, Amen.

Your turn: What does Father’s Day mean to you? Are there men in your life you want to commend for being great father figures? Tell us more about them. Is there someone you wish to honor but is deceased or unreachable? Here's your chance to write them a letter and share your story. If you're a father needing prayer, let us know how we can pray for you. Are you open to cultivating a deep and meaningful relationship with God? We're here to support you in receiving the free gift of salvation, so please let us know.

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Dr. Katherine
Dr. Katherine
15 юни
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Andy, I really like how you delve into the history of Father's Day and all the obstacles opposing it. Thank you for this important message. Happy Father's Day!

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My wife and I almost didn't have children due to a health problem she has, but we decided to risk it. Best decision of our lives! I love being a dad and now a grandfather in the last month. Of course, we're thrilled about our grandson, but the best part of our visit (they live 2,000 miles away) was watching our son being a loving dad.

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Dr. Katherine
Dr. Katherine
15 юни
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I love this story! Thank you for sharing. Sometimes, when we're confronted with opposition and challenges regarding parenting, we truly value when we have children. Now you have the ability to impact generations. I'm sure your influence on your students has also been impactful with you as a father figure. Happy Father's Day, Peter!

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