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Doug Johnson: Fathers have always been essential to the family

Sunday, June 20, is Father’s Day, the day we honor the world’s most powerful men.

Years ago, a teacher asked her class: “Who can tell me what Father’s Day is?”

A little boy sitting in the back of the classroom said, “Father’s Day is just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much on the present.”

Some people seem to have the same idea as that little boy—that Father’s Day is just another day for retailers to try and sell us something.

Actually, Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, came up with the idea of a day to honor fathers in 1909.

Her father, William Smart, was a Civil War veteran whose wife had died in childbirth. He struggled to raise his six motherless children on a farm in eastern Washington.

Sonora approached local churches with the Father’s Day idea, and on Sunday, June 19, 1910, Spokane ministers celebrated the first Father’s Day.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson took part in a Father’s Day celebration by pressing a button in the White House that unfurled a flag in Spokane.

In 1924, Calvin Coolidge recommended the widespread observance of the holiday.

During the Depression, in an effort to boost sales, retailers began encouraging the holiday with “Give Dad Something to Wear” campaigns.

And in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a law officially recognizing the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

Fathers are the most powerful, influential men in the world.

The Bible tells us in Luke 1:17 that John the Baptist prepared the way for the Messiah by “turning the hearts of the fathers back to the children.”

You see, strong families make strong churches…and strong churches make a strong nation.

I believe the breakdown of the family is the number one cause for many of the problems in society today.

Socrates once said, “If I could get to the highest place in Athens, I would lift up my voice to say, ‘What mean ye, fellow citizens, that ye turn every stone to scrape wealth together, and take so little care of your children to whom ye must one day relinquish all?’”

Many people have forgotten the difference between temporary things and eternal things.

The world needs men who will teach their children the value of hard work and commitment, who will stand for God and be faithful to their families.

Those are eternal values!

The Christian Inquirer did a study of 105 mothers, fathers and their children over fourteen years old and found that a dad’s self-esteem is more critical than a mom’s in the way children feel about themselves.

In fact, children of fathers who feel good about themselves and have high self-esteem grow up with more confidence and a higher opinion of themselves.
So, hang in there, dads—your family needs you.

Happy Father’s Day!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.