Some see Father's Day as a sop to those ticked because mother's get all the attention on their day in May. But most dads want the world to know that they are more than sperm donors, though some in the modern feminist movement would be happy with that limited categorization. In the U.S., it wasn't until 1972 that Father's Day was recognized as an official holiday. Tricky Dickey was trying to do a good thing before Watergate fell on his head. Unofficially, a day to honor fathers has been around in this country since the early 1900s. Probably about the same time Hallmark started spewing out an unending line of greeting cards.
So exactly what is so great about dad that we set aside the third Sunday in June to give him a fishing rod or a tire iron with his name engraved on it? It used to be that a father was the sole breadwinner in the family and thus provided a roof over your head, decent clothes and something in the pantry. His ability to do this was worth celebrating. In today's fractured world, most families, if intact, have two earners. The little woman has to supplement the income because of major changes in the economy. Dad doesn't go off to the same high paying job for thirty years. No more gold watches or company funded pensions. You can work for the government for thirty years, but by the end you are so brain dead that playing dominos in the park is a challenge.
Enough of the negativity. Dads come in all shapes and sizes and run the personality scale. Wife beater t-shirts to Armani suits. Beer to bourbon, F 150s to Ferraris. The key thing is how do they treat the distaff side and the kids. Are they a Norman Rockwell painting or do they lean towards Sons of Anarchy? Honoring a father who actually listens to his wife and spends more than five minutes a day with the kids does seem like a good idea. This can also be a good prescription for avoiding divorce and not having your progeny grow up to be drugged out hulks. Family vacations can help cement positive relationships if you don't go to Wally World with the Griswolds.
My own journey as a father required a few bumps in the road. I was an only child so didn't understand the sibling thing. My parents were preoccupied and emotionally distant, thus my parental modeling was severely deficient. Before my first child was born, I had to spend a few sessions in the church nursery to see what kids were like. Did they first speak at six months or six years? How did you talk to a child? Gibberish or grownup words? Thankfully, with the help of an understanding wife and Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, I took to the fatherhood thing and avoid many of the negatives associated with my own childhood. I even coached my sons in a soccer league though I didn't know the difference between a goalie and a goldfish. We drove the Oregon Trail on a family vacation with two teenagers and everyone survived (the Indians were busy running their casinos).
So, having a special day for fathers is maybe not such a bad idea. Give Dad the card and the present but realize that what's really important happens the other 364 days of the year.