Father’s Day – The Other Important Parental Holiday
I don’t know about you, but the chatter below the radar for years has been that Father’s Day is not accorded the heft and import of Mother’s Day.
Less than silent grumblings among some feel it is an after thought, an also ran and a tack on to the homage set aside for mom in May. Her day and contributions are legend and touted with much giving of flowers, dinners, cards, corsages and cakes. What about Dad? His contribution to our childhoods, in the ideal, is no less important, and ultimately very complementary to that of mom. True, in many homes he is no longer the sole provider, but dads DO provide a very indefinable something to the household mix.
In the “Leave It To Beaver” era, he was the solid, centering force, dispensing wisdom, setting limits to behavior, overseeing rites of passage, but something more. Many of you must have seen the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. My girls can quote its dialogue verbatim. They’ve seen it umpteen times. Well there, in a great scene, as George Bailey relives his past, is a tiny cinematic homage to dads. George as a young boy is working in a soda fountain/pharmacy. The pharmacist, a man George greatly admires, has made, he suspects, a potentially fatal error filling a prescription young George must deliver. He sees a sign that says, “When in doubt, ask Dad”. Out the door he flies, sure that wisdom will be dispensed to him in short order. No hesitation. It’s ten seconds of screen time, but the point is made.
I guess I’m juxtaposing this against the portrayal of the average father today in many movies, sit coms and cartoons. Dad is too often seen as a well-meaning bumbler at whom the wife and kids nod, shake their heads and smile indulgently. He is no longer George Bailey’s dad or even Robert Young from “Father Knows Best”. The title of this long running series defined the premise of most families of the day.
So Dads everywhere, in this series of blog posts and with the books I’ve chosen, I’d like to make, in my own way, an attempt to reestablish your credentials and credibility as “pater familias.” And moms and daughters, if you want to please the man of the house on HIS day, please wrap the ubiquitous tie around a book. He can sit with the kids and share some special reading time. He may just love it and THEY certainly will!
I know it sounds terribly dated, but my mom used to say to me, “The woman is the heart of the home and the man is the head of the home.” I think she meant “head”, not in the sense of a wielder of power, but protector, leader and provider of a powerful example of what it means to be a father. Not a bad thing to aspire to in my mind. Dads are still, and will always be, the “go to guy”.
George Herbert, metaphysical poet and clergyman, once said, “ One father is more than one hundred schoolmasters”. Not bad for 1640. Happy Father’s Day to those fellas who STILL know best, in my book. Oops.