Fathers, Your Impact Lasts A Lifetime

By Scott Rutherford

his year, Father’s Day falls on June 19. So did the very first Father’s Day, celebrated in Spokane, Wash., in 1910. According to Almanac, the holiday involved local ministers dedicating their homilies to the subject of fatherhood and boys from the YMCA wearing roses in their lapels to honor their fathers – red roses for those whose fathers were still living and white roses for those whose fathers had passed on.

The driving force behind the celebration was Sonora Smart Dodd, a woman who had been raised, along with her five siblings, by a widower. Inspired by Mother’s Day, which had been unofficially celebrated since just after the Civil War, Dodd felt that fathers should have their own special day.


By 1916, President Woodrow Wilson had become aware of the new holiday and observed it in the White House. Somewhat ironically, Mother’s Day was made an official holiday during his term in office, but Father’s Day would have to wait for the Nixon Administration in 1972 to become official across the country, even though President Coolidge did sign a resolution in support of the day in 1924, which stated the goal: “…to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”


Several years ago, I had the privilege of hearing former president Jimmy Carter speak at a charity event in Shreveport, and he also had something to say about dads. While President Carter and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye on politics, I was excited to cover the event for a couple of reasons; first, he is the first president I remember, and second, I have always admired his humanitarian efforts. The fact that he still taught Sunday School also intrigued me.


The thing that stuck out to me the most about President Carter’s speech was when he made the claim that an active father in the house is the single greatest factor in preventing poverty and a host of other problems facing young people. My greatest takeaway was that, as men, we matter in the lives of our children. As we celebrate Father’s Day this year, let’s take that to heart, men. Let’s honor our own fathers and let’s realize that, while we’re recognized with one day a year, our impact lasts a lifetime for our children.