Herald Journal Columns
June 12, 2006, Herald Journal

Fathers are important


“God took the strength of a mountain,

The majesty of a tree,

The warmth of a summer sun,

The calm of a quiet sea,

The generous soul of nature,

The comforting arm of night,

The wisdom of the ages,

The power of the eagles in flight,

The joy of a morning in spring,

The faith of a mustard seed,

The patience of eternity,

The depth of a family need,

Then God combined these qualities, and there was nothing more to add. He knew his masterpiece was complete. And he called it – Dad.”

– Author unknown

I think this poem so eloquently describes what a dad is, and I was so moved by how it allowed me as the reader to connect its message to my own life and relationship with my father.

My father passed away three years ago. He would have been 90 years old this past November, so he lived a very full life, and one I am grateful I was a part of. When I reminisce about memories of him, I smile from “ear-to-ear,” and those wonderful qualities of strength and power, yet warmth, comfort, calm and patience, generosity, selfless giving, wisdom, faith, joy and indeed, depth, flood to the forefront of my mind, as words and qualities, that my own father possessed, lived, and modeled from, day-to-day.

My dad was the rock of our family, the solid foundation, and he still is – for the lessons he taught and the examples he set continue to thrive through his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. What better gifts can a father give his child than the gifts of love, life, faith, joy, and worldly wisdom, that lives on when he is no longer on earth to model those qualities from day-to-day? And, is that not what a father most wants for his own children, and family? A love that will endure, and live on, from generation to generation – for eternity! What better gift can we continue to give our father, than the gift of living our own lives, in the positive role modeling they set for us.

I will most certainly be celebrating Fathers’ Day, with my own family and husband, the father of our beloved children, but also with the memories of my father, and the legacy he left for our family. I will always be grateful for my father and what he meant to me, how he lived his life, and what he taught me, about how, most importantly, to live life – with respect and decency for one another, generosity for others, a strong work ethic, unquestionable love for my family, and faith in God.

On the website, www.activityvillage.co.uk, Rexanne Mancini writes about dads in her article, “The Importance of Fathers.” Mancini described dads as probably “the most uncomplicated love we will ever know.” For daughters, daddy is the first man they adore, and the first man to fall in love with. How true.

And for sons, daddy is the first one they aspire to be. For mothers, their partners in childrearing, a dad is the only other person we can truly trust to watch over our children as dearly and closely as we would; Dads won’t tire in (our endless caring) about our children’s needs, heartaches, accomplishments, and dreams for them, Mancini eloquently noted.

Thank you to all those dads and male role models out there, who make a difference in lives. Happy, happy Fathers’ Day to all of you. We need you.

How did Fathers’ Day originate?

The website, www.web-holidays.com/fathersday, explained that the creation of the special day for dads began back in the 1900s, when a daughter wanted to express her deep gratitude for her own father, William Smart, who raised his six children as a single parent.

Smart was widowed when his wife died in childbirth, and thus, he raised his six children on his own – on a farm in Washington state. In 1909, Sonora Louise Smart, then a grown daughter, proposed a day in June to honor her father.

The very first Fathers’ Day was June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Wash; and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge showed his support for the special day to be recognized as a national holiday. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson officially proclaimed Fathers’ Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June.

The above website further noted some Fathers’ Day traditions, which many of you may participate in:

• If your father is living, wear a red rose. If he has passed away, wear a white rose.

• The tie as a gift

• A cookout – usually prepared by the honoree himself, Dad.

• And, of course, tell your dad, or special male in your life, how much you care about him and give him a hug or two!

Jenni Sebora has a bachelor of science degree in special education, and a master of science degree in education, with a coaching certification. She has taught in the public school system for 14 years, and has coached a variety of sports at all levels.

Jenni was a children’s program leader for Family Support Network/Parents’ Anonymous, for a local chapter, for 10 years and was the children’s program resource coordinator for the Minnesota Family Support Network/Prevent Child Abuse organization, for southern Minnesota chapters. She has conducted many trainings on dealing with children, children’s activities, and behavioral management.

Jenni has worked in day care settings, served as a Sunday school teacher, summer recreation director, and on the board of education at her church.

She and her husband, Marc, have three children.