"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." ~Henry Ward Beecher

Not Just For Kids


Daddy, Dad, Da, Papa, Pop, Pa, Paw, Father…no matter what you call him, he is special! Fathers are our providers, protectors, coaches, counselors, role models, and so much more. Although Father's Day is not celebrated on the same day everywhere in the world, the concept of honoring Dad with a special day seems to be universal. Father's Day is a good time to express some gratitude and appreciation for all that your father does for you. Even though dads are not always perfect, they need your love and respect. Don’t forget your grandfathers and stepfather, too. Also, be sure to honor our heavenly Father and thank Him for being the perfect, loving Father that He is.

Father's Day was first proposed by Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Washington State, who was inspired by a Mother's Day service. Mother's Day was beginning to gather widespread attention in the United States in 1909, when Mrs. Dodd heard a sermon on the merits of setting aside a day to honor one's mother. This gave her the idea to petition for a special day to honor fathers. In particular, Mrs. Dodd wanted to honor her own father, a Civil War veteran, who had raised six children by himself after his wife died. Sonora's father was born in June, so that is the month in which she proposed to celebrate Father's Day. Through Sonora Dodd's efforts, the first Father's Day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910.

Dodd drew up a petition recommending adoption of a national father's day. The Spokane Ministerial Association and Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) supported it. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge agreed with the idea of a national Father's Day. But it was not until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation officially declaring the third Sunday of June to be Father's Day in the United States. However, that 1966 Presidential Proclamation was only for one year. Finally on April 24, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon proclaimed Father's Day to be an annual holiday. Today, Father's Day is as popular as Mother's Day.

Believe it or not, flowers are a part of Father's Day tradition. The rose was selected as the official Father's Day flower. Red roses are worn on Father's Day to signify that one's father is living, while white roses mean that one's father has died.

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Rather than buying a stereotypical Father's Day gift, think about what your father really likes. In general, a gift from the heart means the most, because Dad will appreciate the thought behind it more than anything else. One of the best things you can do for your father is to share your time and interests with him.

Here are some traditional as well as creative Father's Day gift ideas: a shirt, necktie, handkerchiefs, wristwatch, leather wallet, tools, shaving kit, barbeque utensils, camping or sports equipment, a hobby item or new addition for his collection, a book, video, CD of his favorite music, computer software, a framed photo of the kids to put in his office, a great big hug, a gift certificate, movie/concert/sport tickets, an uninterrupted afternoon nap, a supply of his favorite snack, a cookout, his favorite home-cooked meal (including dessert), a day at the lake, a camping trip, a handmade drawing or card, a handwritten poem, a personalized "Best Dad" award certificate, a homemade booklet with coupons that dad can redeem for your services ("I will… Wash the Car, Take Out the Trash, Walk the Dog, Hoe the Weeds," etc.)

Let Dad Be King

Treat Dad royally on Father's Day. Set up a lawn chair or hammock in a shady spot and cover a table with magazines and books. Serve him a tall glass of his favorite cold drink. Or if he's a couch potato, give him a supply of videos to watch. While he enjoys a peaceful afternoon, the "queen" and the "court jesters" can cook up some special treats (see below).

Dad's Own Snack Mix

Serve Dad a customized snack mix that will satisfy his appetite and tickle his funny bone. Depending on his personal tastes, the ingredients can be salty, sweet, crunchy or soft. Get a big bowl of popcorn to start with. Is Dad nutty? Add peanuts. Corny? Put in some corn puffs. Sweet? Include his favorite candy. Does he like fishing? Throw in some goldfish crackers and gummy worms. Does he like gardening? Toss in some sunflower seeds. Other possible ingredients would be: dry cereal, croutons, pretzels, chocolate chips, raisins, shredded coconut, mini marshmallows.

Dad's a Hero

For lunch, make a sandwich stuffed with cold cuts and cheese. At any other time this might be called a hoagie, submarine, or grinder. But serve one to Dad on Father's Day, and there's only one name for it: a hero sandwich! Cut a loaf of French bread in half lengthwise. Layer on slices of ham, turkey, and Provolone, Swiss or American cheese. Top with lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Add onions, pickles, olives and peppers, if desired. Spread on mayonnaise or mustard, or drizzle with Italian dressing and sprinkle with oregano. Serve with potato chips and ice-cold lemonade.

Make a D-A-D Cake

Bake Dad's favorite cake flavor in one 8-inch round pan and one 8-inch square pan. When the cakes have thoroughly cooled, remove from the pans. Cut the round cake in half to form two Ds. Starting at the top midpoint of the square cake, cut an A by making two diagonal slices (thus forming a triangle). Spell the pieces out on a large platter, tray or cookie sheet covered with tinfoil. Frost with brightly colored decorator's icing or cake decorations to outline the D, A and D.

A Homemade Tie For Dad

You will need: construction paper, scissors, and crayons or markers. Cut a tie shape out of a piece of construction paper. (Look at one of your Dad's ties as an example.) Write these words on one side: "Dad, KNOT only are you a terrific father, perfectly SUITED for the job-but you are the TIE that binds our family together!" Draw some colorful decorative designs on the other side.

Bringing Up Father

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." -Mark Twain


Fatherly Advice From Our Father in Heaven:

"Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged." -Colossians 3:21

"Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." -Ephesians 6:4

"A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children." -Proverbs 13:22

"A wise son maketh a glad father." -Proverbs 10:1

Gift Books For Fathers

Bringing Up Boys, by Dr. James Dobson. (Practical advice and encouragement on raising boys; a must-read book for fathers, teachers, youth leaders, and others involved in shaping the character of boys.)

Chicken Soup for the Father's Soul, by Jack Canfield. (101 stories to open the hearts and rekindle the spirits of fathers.)

101 Secrets a Good Dad Knows, by Walter and Sue Ellin Browder. (Hopefully your dad already knows most of these things, but it's a cute book and it contains some neat stuff.)

52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, by Jay Payleitner. (The author, a veteran dad of five, combines straightforward features with step-up-to-the-mark challenges men will appreciate on what fathers can do to make a lifelong difference.)

Movies About Fathers

Have you ever noticed how many popular movies are based on a father’s relationship with his son? Consider the following: Star Wars, October Sky, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In Finding Nemo, a father risks his life to find his son. The Italian film, Life Is Beautiful, depicts a father's self-sacrificing love for his wife and son in a Nazi concentration camp. It's a Wonderful Life also describes a father sacrificing for the needs of his family. Big Fat Liar is about a boy who wants to prove something to his dad. Night at the Museum is about a dad who wants to prove something to his son. The love of a father for his children was prominent throughout the Spy Kids movies, as well as The Incredibles. In The Way, a father embarks on a pilgrimage to honor his son's memory. Can you think of any more?

Children's Books About Fathers

I Love My Daddy Because ..., by Laurel Porter-Gaylord. (Beautiful illustrations show how animal fathers care for their babies, which are really metaphors for how human fathers demonstrate love for their children.)

Little Nino's Pizzeria, by Karen Barbour. (This book about a son who helps out at his father's restaurant contains an important message about work and family.)

Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti, by Anna Grossnickle Hines. (A wonderful book that shows a strong relationship between a father and his son.)

My Daddy, by Susan Paradis. (A lovely picture book that celebrates the bond between father and son, from the point of view of a son who is in awe of his father.)

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, by Eric Carle. (Monica wants the moon to play with, so Papa sets out to get it for her. This book perfectly expresses a father's love for his child, plus it also contains a science lesson and a deeper meaning about reaching goals.)

Ramona and Her Father, by Beverly Cleary. (This is a great book about a girl and her relationship with her father, as she tries to help him with his struggles after he loses his job.)

Ten, Nine, Eight, by Molly Bang. (A father and his girl play a rhyming game at bedtime.)

What Daddies Do Best, by Laura Numeroff. (Shows animal dads and their children doing a variety of activities together.)

When the Rain Stops, by Sheila Cole. (After a downpour, a girl and her father go out to pick blackberries; beautiful impressionistic illustrations.)

Father's Day Websites

www.knowledgehouse.info/hspoem_dad.html ("Ode to a Homeschool Dad," a poem.)

(The Importance of Fathers.)

(Fathers Are Important, a sermon with Biblical references.)

(Father's Day history, gift ideas, poems, recipes, etc.)

(Father's Day games, crafts, and activities.)

(Father's Day history, links, poems, quotes, and what the Bible says about fathers.)

(Father's Day poems.)

(Father's Day poems.)

(Poems about fathers and fatherhood.)

(Famous Fathers Quiz, TV Dad Poll, & Fathers on Film.)

(A Father's Day site for kids with games & a quiz; print out coupons for Dad.)


These pages are a continuous work in progress.
Copyright © 2000- by Teri Ann Berg Olsen
All rights reserved.

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